Here is a list of fun and interesting sites to visit.
Bannack City Bannack City is one of the most popular Montana ghost town sites. The historical buildings of the early mining settlement of Bannack are now preserved as a Montana State Park.
In 1862, gold was discovered in the Grasshopper Creek area, and soon the area had a population of nearly 10,000, with approximately 3000 living in Bannack.
The settlement was home to Montana Territory’s first capital, although it was later moved to Virginia City, and then to Helena, as populations followed the gold rush to those areas.
It was also home to the notorious Henry Plummer, who served as sheriff in both Bannack and Virginia City, and who secretly headed up a gang of ruthess robbers and murderers. Plummer was eventually hanged by the Montana Vigilantes on the gallows he had built when he was sheriff.
Castle City Castle City is one of many Montana ghost town sites located on private property. Established in the 1880s, this silver mining town is located near White Sulphur Springs, and was once the home of the famous Calamity Jane. During its boom period it had 1500 residents, nearly 80 homes and over a dozen saloons. Approximately a dozen buildings remain scattered throughout the site.
Granite Silver was discovered in the Granite area in 1872, and within the next several years, Granite became a booming settlement of approximately 3000 residents. The settlement is located south of Drummond, Montana, and near Philipsburg.
At one time, it had several businesses, including a two story Miner’s Union Hall, which housed a pool hall, a club, a library, a large dance floor, and an auditorium. Granite had several saloons, a hospital, and a red light district.
Most of the buildings have disappeared, but remains of the union hall, the hospital, the bank vault, a stone home that housed the mining superintendant, and several cabins are still visible. One acre of the area has been designated and preserved as one of the Montana State Parks.
Elkhorn Elkhorn has its beginnings in the 1870s, when silver was found in the area and mining was begun. During its peak time, the city boasted a population of 2500, and had many thriving businesses, including a hotel, school, church, and several stores, saloons, and brothels.
Today, two buildings sit on one acre of land preserved and designated as a state park – the smallest in the state. Although Elkhorn has historically been one of the best preserved Montana ghost towns, other remaining structures on surrounding privately owned land are slowly being dismantled for relocation elsewhere due to liability reasons.
Marysville Marysville is an occupied ghost town located north of Helena, with several original buildings still intact. The community sprang up when gold was discovered in the area in 1962. The settlement once had a population of close to 5000 people, with several thriving businesses typical of the era. Today, Marysville has both old and new buildings, and is an excellent stopping place on any Montana vacation list.
Nevada City Nevada City is among the unique Montana ghost town sites featuring a large display of authentic buildings from around the state. The site has several original Nevada City buildings, as well as restored Montana ghost town buildings from other areas across the state.
This interesting historical place is located just a mile and a half from historic Virginia City. Attractions include tours and train rides on a restored steam engine that commutes between Nevada City and Virginia City.
Pony Pony is an occupied ghost town. It had its beginnings in the 1870s, after Techumseh “Pony” Smith discovered gold in the area in 1869, after being forced out of the Alder Gulch area. Within a few years, quartz was also discovered in the area, and the town became a bustling mining camp, despite its remote location on a steep mountainside.
Although the settlement once hosted 5000 residents, it is now home to only about 100. Although many historic buildings remain, the Pony Bar is the only one that continues to operate.
Virginia City Although this bustling tourist town is still occupied, it remains one of the most visited Montana ghost town sites. The settlement was established in 1863, and was once the former state capital. Residents numbered close to 5000, until gold was later discovered near Helena, in the Last Chance Gulch area.
Today the community is home to approximately 150 residents, and is a popular tourist destination. There is a lot of fun to be had in Virginia City, with an opera playhouse, performances by the Brewery Follies, a main street lined with historic buildings, train rides, stagecoach tours, and horseback tours of the Alder Gulch mining area.