Good mining companies need good geologists. The Boston & Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company hired a very good geologist in 1900. Reno H. Sales was born in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1876, but he was only 5 years old when his family moved to the Gallatin Valley. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Montana State College (now Montana State University) in 1898, and an Engineer of Mines degree from Columbia University in 1900. By 1906, Sales was Chief Geologist for the Amalgamated Copper Company. He served in that position with Amalgamated and then with the Anaconda Copper Mining Company for over forty years. He continued to work as a consulting geologist for the ACM after his retirement. At the time of his death, he was widely considered to be “the father of mining geology” for pioneering work in the mapping of ore veins.
One of Sales’ first assignments as an Assistant Geologist for the Amalgamated Copper Company was to serve as the court-appointed mine inspector during legal proceedings resulting from F. Augustus Heinze’s claims based on the “apex law.” The following is a clip from a 1961 interview with Reno H. Sales by Henry C. Carlisle about his experiences in court:
Sales seems to have been a well-rounded man. He played football at Montana State College, and because of his generosity, the football stadium built on the Bozeman campus in 1974 was named Reno H. Sales Stadium, and Sales earned the unofficial nickname “Mr. Bobcat.” The stadium remained Sales Stadium until 1998 when it was renamed Bobcat Stadium after extensive renovations.
Sales also loved golf. This page from a small notebook contains a list of items he needed for an upcoming trip:
Sales was a philanthropist. He contributed to many organizations including the Butte YMCA, St. James Community Hospital, the Butte Country Club, and Butte Community Chest. He received many professional awards and honors including having been the first member elected to the World Museum of Mining Hall of Fame, and as a result of his involvement in ranching, he was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City!
Reno H. Sales died in 1969 at the age of 92. One article on his death states that he lived the last four years of his life at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital (reminiscent of Huguette Clark).