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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

MONTANA

“The Treasure State

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Montana

Montana is a huge, mineral rich state that has some of the best ghost towns still standing in the country. The state can be divided into two large units -- the mountainous west with its rich mining heritage, and the plains to the east with their rich agricultural heritage. Montana has probably 1000 locations worth looking for, and also has the unique distinction of playing host to one of the few ghost town enthusiast clubs.

 

For more information on the ghost towns of Montana, please feel free to contact ...


The Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society
PO Box 1861
Bozeman, MT 59771


If you join, please tell them where you found out about the club! I get bonus points for it! Just tell 'em Gary Speck (The Ghost Town Guru) sent ya!

Links to various Montana Ghost Towns will be incorporated into individual site vignettes where appropriate, or at the bottom of the page when the site is not featured.

 

Some of the ghost towns in Montana include the following...

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ABSHER

Mussellshell Co.

Located about a half mile south of US 12 and the railroad tracks, in the northeast corner of the county, about a mile southwest of Queen’s Point, five miles east of Musselshell and 5.3 miles west of Melstone, west of Queen’’s Point Road and north of the Musselshell River. The post office was active from Jan 13, 1910 - Apr 30, 1949. A school was also located nearby.

 

·        Latitude: 46.5583 / 46° 33' 30" N

·        Longitude: -107.9833 / 107° 58' 60" W

·        SE¼ of the NW¼ Sec 2, T18N, R109W, PM (Principal Meridian)

ALDRIDGE

Park Co.

This class C, turn-of-the-century, coal mining town is located on US 89, seven miles northwest of Gardiner, three miles southwest of Corwin Springs (which in itself is a ghost town). The town was divided into two sections...Downtown and Happy Hollow.

BANNACK

(AKA...Grasshopper Diggings)

Beaverhead Co.

This class C ghost is located on Grasshopper Creek, south of CR 278, about 35 miles west of Dillon. Started as a placer gold camp in 1862. After the placers were exhausted, hard rock mining started. From 1875-1881, Bannack boomed, and 3000 folks lived here. Bannack was both county seat and territorial capital. The streets were lined with one & two story wooden structures and the two-story brick courthouse. Many weathered remnants remain in one of Montana's, and the country's finest ghosts.

BASIN

Jefferson Co.

This little ghost is located a mile north of I-15, nine miles northwest of Boulder, midway between Helena and Butte.

CABLE

Deer Lodge Co.

This gold mining town boomed and busted four distinct times: 1867-1869, 1873-1878, & 1883-1891, 1902-1940. Cable's ghostly remains are located off SH 1, about a dozen miles northwest of Anaconda.

CUSHMAN

Golden Valley Co.

The crumbling remains of this ranching town are south of SH 12 and the Mussellshell River, 30 miles southwest of Roundup, southeast of the center of the county. In 1980 only seven folks remained.

ELECTRIC

(AKA...Horr)

Park Co.

This was an 1898-1945 coking town, supported by the coal mines of Aldridge. It was two miles downhill from Aldridge, and on the west side of the Yellowstone River, two miles south of Corwin Springs. At its peak in had as many as 2000 people.

ELKHORN

 

PHOTO!

Jefferson Co.

North of SH 69, near Elkhorn Peak, 20 miles northeast of Boulder and 28 miles south of Helena. Elkhorn looks like a Hollywood movie prop, but is a genuine, classic ghost town, another of the country's best. Elkhorn is mostly privately owned, but two of the buildings comprise the State Historic Park, and have been preserved in a state of arrested deterioration. These two have had their wood preserved to prevent further decay. The town boomed from 1872 into the 1890s. A few residents watch over this majestic class D ghost.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for Jun 2004.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

For more details see our Elkhorn page.

GARNET

Granite Co.

40 miles east of Missoula in the Garnet Mountains, and north of I-90 at Bearmouth. Garnet is another classic ghost town, this time preserved by the BLM. Gold was discovered in 1862, and the town of wood and log structures remained active until 1912 when a major fire destroyed a major portion of the town.

 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

·        Latitude: 46.8252097 / 46° 49’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -113.3389643 / 113° 20’ 20” W

·        E-Ctr Sec 3, T12N, R14W, Principal Meridian

GRANITE

Granite Co.

A classic class C silver mining town four miles east of Philipsburg. Granite is another of these old towns full of chocolate colored, ragged wooden buildings that once housed saloons, general stores, hotels and several thousand people. Over $40 million in silver came from Granite's mines. Granite enjoyed a pair of boom periods from 1883-1893, and 1898-1904.  A four-wheel drive, or other high-clearance vehicle is required to reach this town.

 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

·        Latitude: 46.3174258 / 46° 19’ 03” N

·        Longitude: -113.2445049 / 113° 14’ 40” W

·        SE¼ of the NE¼ Sec 32, T7N, R13W, Principal Meridian

HOMESTEAD

Sheridan Co.

A crumbling class D agricultural town on County Road (CR) 350, a mile east of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation boundary, and a mile west of SH 16, at a point 28 miles south of Plentywood, in the southwestern corner of the county.

JARDINE

(AKA...Bush)

Park Co.

This gold and arsenic mining town was first called Bush, then the name changed in 1902. The gold mining period ran from 1865 through 1926. In 1926 arsenic was discovered, and the company town produced that mineral until 1946. This class C town sits on a dirt road six miles northeast of Gardiner.

KIRKVILLE

(AKA...Clark)

Clark Co.

This was a class C, 1890s milling center, a mile south of Philipsburg. In 1888 a huge 100 stamp mill was built to work the ore from Granite. Population probably reached nearly 2000, as there were 500 workers at the mill alone.

LORING

Phillips Co.

Another crumbling class D agricultural town. In 1980 15 folks still lived here. Loring is located on CR 242, and a spur line of the Great Northern RR, 16 miles south of the Canadian border.

MAIDEN

Fergus Co.

A class C gold mining town in the Judith Mountains 20 or so miles northeast of Lewistown. In 1883 it had 150 buildings.

NEVADA CITY

Madison Co.

A class C/F  (reconstructed) 1860s gold mining town in Alder Gulch, two miles west of Virginia City. Like Virginia City, it was one of many 1860s-era mining towns that lined the rich bottoms of Alder Gulch. A fee is charged to visit this colorful old town.

PONY

Madison Co.

A class D, 1877-1920s era gold mining town, on east side of Tobacco Root Mountains, five miles southwest of Harrison and US 287. In 1877, 1000 people once lived here. About 100 still do. Ruins and many old buildings remain.

RED BLUFF

Madison Co.

This 1870s gold mining town once had 1000 people. It is located on Hot Springs Creek and SH 84, northeast of Norris.

RUBY

Madison Co.

This is an 1864-1922 gold mining town with a population of 500. It is located in Alder Gulch, east of Alder, and west of Nevada City. Ruby was a small, busy, gold camp that soon was overshadowed by its richer neighbors.

SILVER GATE

Park Co.

This tiny town is located on US 212, north of the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, about four miles west of Cooke City.

SOUTHERN CROSS

Deer Lodge Co.

A deep sadness has befallen Ghost Town USA with the loss of this once magnificent little ghost.  On Oct 31, 2000, the last resident was evicted, and the town was dismantled.  It is now only memories and photos.

For other recently departed ghost towns, visit our ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST page.

STRAWBERRY

Madison Co.

This gold mining town was located two miles "upstream" from Pony, and was the original site of Pony. It began in 1875 then died in 1877, when Pony was founded.

TOWER

Granite Co.

This is a crumbling double-boom town. Tower's first boom was gold in the 1870s, then from 1910-1940 for manganese. The class C mining town is located east of Philipsburg.

VIRGINIA CITY

Madison Co.

This class D/F (restored) 1864-1920 gold mining town once had 10,000 people.  It is located on SH 287, 14 miles west of Ennis. This classic near ghost is similar to its Nevada namesake. Virginia City except it’s not as gussied up for tourists. It is full of much of its 1870s charm when it was Montana's 2nd territorial capital.

WINNETT

Petroleum Co.

A class D agricultural town and current county seat.  Not a true ghost, as 200 people still live in this badly faded town.  It is at the junction of SH 200 and CR 244.

YOGO

Judith Basin Co.

Former gold mining town south of US 87, near Windham.

ZORTMAN

Phillips Co.

Gold mining town west of US 191, and south of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. It is located in the northeastern part of the state about 45 miles southwest of Malta.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America.

Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of MONTANA, contact us at

Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.

THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in MONTANA above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of MONTANA, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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THIS PAGE

FIRST POSTED:  June 2000

LAST UPDATED: November 17, 2012

 

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