«Ghost Towns/Historic Mines ALDER - On State Highway 287 at the lower end of the gulch. Two of Henry Plummer's gang of road agents, Red Yager and G.W. ...»
Ghost Towns/Historic Mines
ALDER - On State Highway 287 at the lower end of the gulch. Two of Henry Plummer's gang of
road agents, Red Yager and G.W. Brown, were hanged near here at Laurin on January 4, 1864.
Harvard University once operated to obtain several millions in gold.
ALDER GULCH - On State Highway 287, this was one of the great gold producers of all time.
Discovered in May 1863, it produced $10,000,000 during the first year. A year later the boom
town of Virginia City had a population of 10,000.
ALTA MINE - On U.S. 15 between Butte and Helena. This mine is located near the ghost camps of Wickes and Corbin and produced $32,000,000 by 1892. Inquire at Jefferson City ATLANTIC CABLE MINE - Near Georgetown Lake on U.S. 10-A. Mill machinery was imported from Swansea, Wales, and freighted from Corrine, Utah, to operate this mine and produce $7,000,000 in gold.
BANNACK - Montana's first big gold strike on Grasshopper Creek in July 1862 resulted in this wild, roaring camp which became Montana's first territorial capital. It is now a State Park located west of Dillon off U.S. 15.
BARKER - Inquire at Neihart on U.S. 89. This is an old silver camp.
BASIN - On U.S. 15 between Helena and Butte, this camp still lives but is a lot different now that uranium mines have operated. Inquire for information on the old mines of Gray Eagle, Jib and Comet.
BEARTOWN - This ghost town yielded a cool million in gold and silver in 1866, housed the notorious "Beartown Roughts", sought to be the State Capital, then died. There is a steep cliff here where local folklore say a Chinaman buried a fortune in a five pound baking powder can.
Hundreds have sought it, but it has never been found. Inquire at Drummond. On U.S. 10.
BUCKEYE MINE - On Golconda Creek near the mine are the remains of an old Spanish Arrastra, a crude mill for grinding gold ore, used by the mine's first owners. This is an area where present day prospectors may be found. On U.S. 15. Inquire at Jefferson City.
BUFFALO GULCH - This in now Centerville, a suburb of Butte. In the mid 1860s this was an offshoot of the placer diggings along nearby Silver Bow Creek.
BUTTE CITY - An earlier version of the famous mining city of present day Butte, this is the referred to as the richest hill on earth. Inquire at Butte.
CABLE - The ground here was so rich that a cigar box of samples assayed at $1,000. Reputedly the world's largest nugget was found here and bought by W.A. Clark for $19,000. This is the site of the Old Atlantic Cable Mine. Near Georgetown Lake on U.S. 10-A.
CASTLE - This bustling silver camp was once the residence of Calamity Jane and her buddies, but after the panic of 1893 it quieted down. Many of the buildings still stand. Inquire at White Sulphur Springs. On U.S. 89.
CHICO - Ghost camp on U.S. 89 south of Livingston. See Emigrant Gulch.
CLANCY - Ever since the famous Liverpool silver mine ended its million and a half dollar run in the 1890s, this village on U.S. 15 south of Helena has been a mining center. Ore here was so rich that it was shipped to England to be smelted at a profit.
COLOMA - Ghost placer camp in the hills north of Bearmouth on U.S. 10.
CONFEDERATE GULCH - The summer of 1864 was sensational in the vicinity all around Last Chance Gulch. Montana Bar yielded as much as a thousand dollars a pan, and $115,000 worth of gold in one week. Diamond City, a lively camp of 10,000 people, was the focal point of the gulch which yielded $17,000,000 in an exciting six years. Inquire at Townsend. On U.S. 12.
COPPEROPOLIS - Busy as it was in the 1890s bidding for fame like Butte, this town now has only deserted shacks and mine shafts. Inquire at White Sulphur Springs. On U.S. 89.
DEER LODGE - Here's an early mining town that didn't die, but turned to other pursuits. When the first strikes on Gold Creek started the excitement, this camp was known as Cottonwood, LaBarge and Spanish Forks. The Copper King, W.A. Clark, built his home here in the 1860s at what is now 311 Clark Avenue. Inquire about all the gold mines and see the local gold exhibit. On U.S. 10.
DIAMOND CITY - See Confederate Gulch.
EAST HELENA - Gold, silver, lead, zinc and other metals from Montana and Idaho are shipped to reduction furnaces here. This is one of Montana's three major operating smelters. Inquire for permission to visit this smelter and see its four furnaces with an annual capacity of one quarter million tons of ore.
ELKHORN - Reached from Boulder on U.S. 15, this camp still has a lot to see. It started in 1872 and sent out $32,000,000 in gold and silver. The townsite is more than a mile high. Nearby Elkhorn Peak, with its glistening white marble cliffs, reaches an elevation of 9,500 feet.
ELLISTON - Twenty one miles west of Helena on U.S. 12, this little trade town in a gold quartz and placer mining district never really boomed. Colors can still be panned in most of the nearby streams.
EMIGRANT GULCH - Off U.S. 89 north of Yellowstone Park. Gold was discovered here in 1862.
Chico and Yellowstone City had a short but merry life, as the gold supply proved limited. Indians showed a liking for the scalps of the inhabitants.
FINN - Off U.S. 12 at Avon. Even in recent years, the small general store sold almost entirely to miners and often took gold dust for payment.
GARNET - Off U.S. 10 near Bearmouth, east of Missoula. Here is one ghost camp that refuses to die. Almost 6.000 feet up, it has never had a bonanza strike, yet miners still persist, convinced its day will come. This area is now mostly under the administration of BLM and is being restored.
For more information, contact the BLM office in Missoula.
GILTEDGE - Mines in this vicinity took out some $20,000,000 in gold following a stampede caused when one of the sourdough miners made a big splurge at the Chicago World's Fair in
1893. Inquire at Lewistown. On U.S. 87.
GOLD BUTTE - North of Shelby on U.S. 15 in the Sweet Grass Hills. A Blackfoot Indian found free gold here in 1884. Every shovelful of pay dirt yielded colors worth 25 cents.
GOLD COIN MINE - Inquire at Georgetown Lake on U.S. 10-A. This was a mine full of surprises.
Several times it closed down when its gold ore ran out, but further exploration always brought forth a new ore pocket.
*Gold Dredges - If you want to see the machinery that can pan gold on a collossal scale (in which a few minutes equals thousands of backbreaking hours of manual toil for old time placer miners), visit a gold dredge. A good one to see is located south of Helena on U.S. 15 out of Clancy.
GRANITE - This is one of the best of all ghost camps. This was the richest silver mine on earth, and it might never have been discovered if a telegram from the East hadn't been delayed. The mine's Eastern financial backers thought the venture hopeless and ordered an end to the operations, but the last blast on the last shift uncovered a bonanza which yielded $40,000,000.
Inquire at Philipsburg. On U.S. 10-A.
GREGORY MINE - Located in the famous Wickes-Corbin area out of Jefferson City on U.S. 15, between Butte and Helena. Some old timers claim this property yielded $18,000,000 in gold and silver. In later years, plaster from the walls of abandoned homes yielded a tidy fortune!
GREENHORN GULCH - Another side trip out of Helena. This important placer camp is gone now except for the tiny railroad flag station at Austin. Once the territorial Governor wired Washington to this effect: "Need Postmaster, vigilantes have created vacancy by hanging."
GRIZZLY GULCH - By driving up Helena's Last Chance Gulch, you arrive at Grizzly Gulch, lined by old diggings. Four miles beyond is Unionville, around which are several old mines and ruins of old stamp and flotation mills.
HASSEL - Inquire at Townsend on U.S. 12 about this noted camp.
HELENA - This is the bonanza center for seekers of old mining lore. Not only was Last Chance Gulch famous as a great placer, but it was and still is the center of Montana's gold and silver mining. By 1888 it was reputedly the richest city per capita in the United States, having 50 millionaires. Today, the Last Chance Tour Train travels to old placers where visitors can pan for gold.
HELL GATE - About three miles out of Missoula is the site of old Hell Gate Ronde, which Captain Mullan described in his Miner's and Traveler's Guide. In the winter of 1863-1864, local citizens worried about six of Henry Plummer's gang loitering here, until a posse from Alder Gulch rode in and hanged them all.
HIGHLAND CITY - This ghost camp, 21 miles from Butte near Pipestone Pass on U.S. 10, once had several hundred log buildings and a fierce reputation for gun play. Despite its once rich diggings, little now remains except the graveyard where Shotgun Liz, the sharp-shooting dance hall gal, now lies with several of her playmates, who died with their boots on. It hasn't been that many years since an old prospector picked up a nugget worth $1,200.
HUGHESVILLE - South of Great Falls on U.S. 89, this silver camp of the 1870s sent rich ore all the way to England for smelting.
JEFFERSON CITY - On U.S. 15 between Butte and Helena, this old city is famous as the stage and freight stop between Fort Benton and Virginia City. Nearby, mining camps such as Corbin and Wickes produced $10,000,000.
KARST'S CAMP - Between Bozeman and Yellowstone Park on U.S. 191, this is one of Montana's unusual present day mining ventures - an asbestos mine.
KENDALL - This camp, along with Giltedge and Maiden, poured out $18,000,000. Out of Livingston on U.S. 87.
KEYSTONE MINES - Off U.S. 2, out of Yaak in the extreme northwest corner of Montana. Don't seek this one out unless you crave adventure, for it is located in some of the wildest country imaginable. No major strike occurred here.
LAST CHANCE GULCH - See Helena. The State Historical Library is located in Helena and information about old ghost towns and mines can be researched here.
LAURIN - See Alder Gulch. Hangman's Tree, where two of Henry Plummer's gang died, is here.
LINCOLN - Not a mining camp, but the heart of a present day mining area. In the vicinity are the old camps of Stemple, Gould Mine, Mike Horse, Jay Gould, North Gould Bachelor and other mines. Located on Montana 200 northwest of Helena.
LIVINGSTON - Not a mining town, but you can pick up leads here on nearby camps. Miners and cowpokes rubbed shoulders at the Bucket O'Blood Saloon.
LOUISVILLE - Sixteen miles along Cedar Creek out of Superior on U.S. 10 is this ghost camp of the 1870s. It was a part of the Cayuse Creek stampede which brought 10,000 gold seekers to the vicinity.
LUMP GULCH - See Clancy. The Liverpool Mine was a rich producer in the 1890s, but nothing remains except a single building.
MAIDEN - First camp in the Judith and Moccasin fields, which made fortunes for miners drifting out of Alder Gulch. Inquire at Lewistown. See Giltedge.
MARYSVILLE - North of Helena, reached from U.S. 15 over good road. There's more to see here than in most ghost towns. This town is not quite deserted and some mining still goes on, but it's nothing like the rip-roaring period when Irishman Tommy Cruse's magnificent Drumlummon Mine poured out $50,000,000. Other mines which produced handsomely included the Bald Mountain, Empire, West Belmont, Bell Boy, Penobscot and Shannon.
MAYVILLE - See Louisville. A ghost of the Cayuse Creek rush near Superior.
MISSOULA LODGE - Where Humphrey and Allison found the elkhorns used in one of the earliest prospect holes, in what became the richest hill on earth. Now a part of Butte.
MONARCH - A sleepy village on U.S. 89 south of Great Falls, it once hoped to be a great silver center. Camps of Neihart and Hughesville are nearby.
MONTANA CITY - One of many ghost camps near Helena. On U.S. 15 toward Clancy. It once had 3,000 people, but not even an old cabin stands now.
MONTANA LEAD MINE - See Rimini. An interesting side trip out of Helena, it is owned by the estate of the late railroad tycoon, James J. Hill.
MOUNT WASHINGTON MINE - See Jefferson City. This is a more recent operating property in a district still regarded as capable of producing gold, silver, lead and zinc.
NEIHART - See Hughesville.
NEVADA - George Ives, better known as Clubfoot George, was the first of the Henry Plummer's gang to meet justice and was hanged here in the suburb of Virginia City.
NEW YEAR - Near Lewistown. It owes its life to the cyanide process for extracting, not to the richness of the diggings.
NINAH MINE - Long dead, it was in the famous triangle district of Corbin and Wickes. Off U.S. 15 from Jefferson City.
NORRIS - This is one camp the has never quite died. Corundum of gem quality is found in placer diggings around here.
ORO FINO GULCH - One of many in the rich Helena district.
PARKER - Near Radersburg, west to Toston on U.S. 287. This is the birthplace of movie star Myrna Loy. See Radersburg.
PHILIPSBURG - Settled in 1866, this is famous silver country and another exceptional camp that still lives. Here was the Hope Mill, the first silver mill in Montana which doubled as a fort when Indians were on the war path. A mile away was rich Granite Mountain, claimed to be the greatest silver producer of all. This town and Granite are well worth a visit. Located on U.S. 10-A.
PIONEER - Built in 1862 before the Gold Creek placers were abandoned for the first sensational strike at Bannack. Ruins of a few cabins may still be found. Off U.S. 10 southwest of Gold Creek.
PONY - Reached from U.S. 287 A, this camp has been busy for some 80 years, and although it never reached top billing, it has been just a notch below it a number of times. Nearby is the ghost camp of Strawberry, where six mills and several arrastras operated before the turn of the century.
Millions of dollars of minerals have been taken from Clipper, Boss Tweed, Crystal and Strawberry.
PORPHYRY DIKE MINE - See Helena. This was a low-grade producer in the mountains near Rimini. Located along the Continental Divide out of Last Chance Gulch.
RADERSBURG - This is one camp that never gave up the ghost since the Keating Mine opened in 1866. A few years later the East Pacific started to produce, and up until 1904 the two mines accounted for $4,000,000. West of Toston off U.S. 287.
RED ROCK MINE - This property has been operated recently and may be seen east of Florence on U.S. 93. This is a gold quartz mine.