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Families and skilled labor set Garnet apart from rowdy towns like Beartown between 1895 to 1917.  Garnet mining peaked at the turn of the century.  Sign seen at the parking lot to Garnet Ghost Town in the Garnet range of western Montana. Garnet Ghost Town in the Garnet Range in Granite County, MT
in the Garnet Range in Granite County, MT
click here for Garnet Ghost Town location on Google Maps
 
          Garnet is an historic mining town in west central Montana at an elevation of 6000 ft.  Originally named "Mitchell", Garnet grew up around the time of change from placer mining to hard rock mining in the Garnet Range. A stamp mill to crush gold ore was built by  Dr. Armistead Mitchell at the head of First Chance Gulch in 1895.  At the same time, Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Charles Mussigbrod financed a road to link "Mitchell" to Bearmouth and the recently completed Northern Pacific Railroad. Two years later, the town became known as "Garnet" after the ruby-colored, semi-precious stone found in the area.
          Eager miners and entrepreneurs built quickly and without planning. A haphazard community resulted. Most of the buildings stood on existing or future mining claims, and about twenty mines operated.
          Shortly after Mitchell's stamp mill was built, Sam Ritchey hit a rich vein of ore in his Nancy Hanks mine just west of town. That's when the "boom" really began.  By January 1898, nearly 1000 people resided in Garnet.  The Nancy Hanks yielded about $300,000 worth of gold.
          The town attracted more families than did Montana's earlier mining camps.  Garnet had  four stores, four hotels, three livery stables, two barber shops, a union hall, a school with 41 students, a butcher shop, a candy shop, a doctor’s office, an assay office, and thirteen saloons.
          By 1905, many of the mines were abandoned and the town’s population had shrunk to about 150.  In 1912, a fire in the business district destroyed may commercial buildings and most remaining residents moved away.  By the 1940’s, Garnet was a ghost town.

           Smaller nearby towns/mining camps of Beartown, Reynolds City, Springtown, and Yreka got their starts 30 years earlier in 1865 when prospectors found gold in Bear Gulch and Elk Creek.  Like the other nearby towns, Garnet had grown up very fast without much effort given to underpinnings like building foundations or fire suppression..  Consequently, over time, buildings either burned, shifted and/or collapsed.

Revival and preservation of Garnet from 1934 to the present.
Families and skilled labor set Garnet apart from rowdy towns like Beartown between 1895 to 1917.  Garnet mining peaked at the turn of the century. For more history, see http://garnetghosttown.org/history.php
 
Revival and preservation of Garnet from 1934 to the present.
Sign seen at the parking lot to Garnet Ghost Town.

From Missoula, drive east on I- 90, take Bonner exit MT-200 E to Garnet Range Rd 30 min (28.6 mi) Follow Garnet Range Rd to your destination 30 min (12 mi) Garnet, MT.   $3 a person over 16 years of age.  Free entry for those with 'America the Beautiful' annual pass; Senior & access passes.
 
Pictures taken 5/22/17 and 5/27/17
all photos by Andy Christen
click on the images to enlarge


Garnet is open year-round daily from 9:30am-4:30pm, however, access is limited in the winter. Wheeled vehicles are allowed on the road
from May 1 - January 1, depending on snow conditions.  In winter, Garnet is only accessible by snowmobile & cross-country ski trip.

Sign just off the parking lot. The Story of Garnet, Montana's Best Preserved Ghost Town. Follow a short trail to Montana's most intact ghost town.  This sign shows an interesting picture of what Garnet really looked like at the turn of the century. Overview of most structures seen upon entering Garnet (ghost town) by foot from the parking lot.  In the foreground was the remodeled home of Ole and Marion Dahl who moved there in 1938.  They built their own saloon, Dahl's Bar, just down the street.  This cabin can be rented in the winter. Sign in front of the remodeled home of Ole and Marion Dahl.  Before 1933, it was a 'Speakeasy'.  Marion Dahl, who lived here through the mid-1960s, holds a place in history as the last full-time resident of Garnet.

Sign just off the parking lot. The Story of Garnet, Montana's Best Preserved Ghost Town. Follow a short trail to Montana's most intact ghost town.  This sign shows an interesting picture of what Garnet really looked like at the turn of the century.

Overview of most structures seen upon entering Garnet (ghost town) by foot from the parking lot.  In the foreground was the remodeled home of Ole and Marion Dahl who moved there in 1938.
They built their own saloon, Dahl's Bar, just down the street.
This cabin can be rented in the winter.

Sign in front of the former home of Ole and Marion Dahl, shown in the foreground of the picture to the left.  Before 1933, it was a 'Speakeasy'.  Marion Dahl, who lived here through the mid-1960s, holds a place in history as the last full-time resident of Garnet.

Main entrance road with the staff office cabin on the right which is one of the better preserved cabins but occupied for staff only. Diana speaks with a BLM volunteer at the staff office cabin.  Having been built in 1949, the Bill Hübner cabin is one of the better preserved cabins in Garnet.  For staff only... do not enter. Sign at Beartown, Montana (2.2 miles south of Garnet) indicating which way to Garnet Ghost Town and Deep Creek Montana

Main entrance road with the staff office cabin on the right which is one of the better preserved cabins but occupied for staff only.

Diana speaks with a BLM volunteer at the staff office cabin.  Having been built in 1949, the Bill Hübner cabin is one of the better preserved cabins in Garnet.  For staff only... do not enter.

Sign at Beartown, Montana (2.2 miles south of Garnet) indicating which way to Garnet Ghost Town and Deep Creek Montana
The two buildings with the wooden walkway are the restored remains of Frank A. Davey's store built around 1898.  Behind that are the restored remains of the J.K. Wells Hotel.  To the left, outside of the picture is the location of Kelley's Saloon. Woodwork on the wall of Kelley's Saloon, one of the 13 bars in Garnet during the boom period that offered 'male oriented' entertainment. Poster with pictures describing the story of Louis P. Kelley and Sarah Ann McLeod, owners of the property housing Kelley's Saloon.

The two buildings with the wooden walkway are the restored remains of Frank A. Davey's store built around 1898.  Behind that are the restored remains of the J.K. Wells Hotel.  To the left, outside of the picture is the location of Kelley's Saloon.

Woodwork on the wall of Kelley's Saloon, one of the 13 bars in Garnet during the boom period that offered 'male oriented' entertainment.

Poster with pictures describing the story of Louis P. Kelley and Sarah Ann McLeod, owners of the property housing Kelley's Saloon.

Sign outside Kelley's saloon.  L. P. Kelley paid $1500 for the business.  Inside, he poured drinks to miners ready to relax, play cards & trade stories.  A wooden walkway extended around the front & sides. Respectable women were not seen in any of Garnet's 13 saloons. Sign telling of the signing of the 'Antiquities Act' by then President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to give legal protection to cultural and natural resources in the United States. Old sled and other artifacts in Frank Davey's General Store.  Garnet Ghost Town, Montana

Sign outside Kelley's saloon.  L. P. Kelley paid $1500 for the business.  Inside, he poured drinks to miners ready to relax, play cards & trade stories.  A wooden walkway extended around the front & sides. Respectable women were not seen in any of Garnet's 13 saloons.

Sign telling of the signing of the 'Antiquities Act' by then President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to give legal protection to cultural and natural resources in the United States.  (click to read)

Old sled and other artifacts in Frank Davey's General Store.
1906 style shopping in Frank Davey's General Store.  Garnet Ghost Town, MT Frank Davey's General Store sold, among other things, dry goods, shoes, jewelry, canned goods, mining tools, and cuts of meat.  The store also had a hardware section and an office that weighed gold. Sign in front of Dahl's Saloon often called 'The Joint'  (now the Visitor's Center) built in 1938 by Ole Dahl.  The saloon operated until the mid-1960s.
1906 style shopping in Frank Davey's General Store.
(click to read)

Frank Davey's General Store sold, among other things, dry goods, shoes, jewelry, canned goods, mining tools, and cuts of meat.  The store also had a hardware section and an office that weighed gold.

Sign in front of Dahl's Saloon often called 'The Joint'  (now the Visitor's Center) built in 1938 by Ole Dahl.  The saloon operated until the mid-1960s.  (click to read)

Dahl's Saloon often called 'The Joint'  (now the Visitor's Center) built in 1938 by Ole Dahl.  The saloon operated until the mid-1960s. Inside the kitchen of the Wells Hotel Diana browsing the kitchen of the Wells Hotel in Garnet Ghost Town.

Dahl's Saloon often called 'The Joint'  (now the Visitor's Center) built in 1938 by Ole Dahl.  The saloon operated until the mid-1960s.

Inside the kitchen of the Wells Hotel

Diana browsing the kitchen of the Wells Hotel in Garnet Ghost Town.

The Wells Hotel, kitchen prep area in the back left corner of the kitchen.  The first floor, which included the kitchen had high ceilings.  Garnet Ghost Town, Montana History of the John K. Wells and Winifred O'Connor Family in Garnet, MT (part 1) History of the John K. Wells and Winifred O'Connor Family in Garnet, MT (part 2)
The Wells Hotel, kitchen prep area in the back left corner of the kitchen.
The first floor, which included the kitchen had high ceilings.

History of the John K. Wells and Winifred O'Connor Family
in Garnet, MT (part 1)

History of the John K. Wells and Winifred O'Connor Family
in Garnet, MT (part 2)
Dining area in the Wells Hotel in Garnet, MT.  Most of the remaining buildings  in Garnet have been stabilized to make it safe for visitors to explore.  Two vertical support posts can be seen in the middle of  the far wall to add rigidity to the structure. Arthur A. Grant, a descendent of one of the original miners in Garnet, donated the Mary Anderson mining claim to the Garnet Preservation Association.  The Grant family's donation is a priceless gift to future generations, offering a timeless window into Garnet's past. In the Wells Hotel, the poorer miners walked up the stairs past private, wallpapered rooms and soft beds to the common quarters of the top floor where there were no beds.  This 3rd floor had 4 or 5 separate rooms and 3 skylights & was heated only by the warm air from below.

Dining area in the Wells Hotel in Garnet, MT.  Most of the remaining buildings  in Garnet have been stabilized to make it safe for visitors to explore.  Two vertical support posts can be seen in the middle of  the far wall to add rigidity to the structure.

Arthur A. Grant, a descendent of one of the original miners in Garnet, donated the Mary Anderson mining claim to the Garnet Preservation Association.  The Grant family's donation is a priceless gift to future generations, offering a timeless window into Garnet's past.

In the Wells Hotel, the poorer miners walked up the stairs past private, wallpapered rooms and soft beds to the common quarters of the top floor where there were no beds.  This 3rd floor had 4 or 5 separate rooms and 3 skylights & was heated only by the warm air from below.

Sign in the front corner of the Adams house.  Tragedy and comfort marked this family home.  First, a newborn son died in a Missoula hospital.  Then, the family lost a girl at the age of 3.  A third child, Mary Jane, born in 1917 survived until 2011. The Adams house was built between 1896 and 1900.  It was among the nicer homes in Garnet although constructed from logs, not boards as it appears.  The family lived there from 1904 to 1927.  Mrs. Adams had the Post Office in the house until 1910.  Garnet Ghost Town, MT The road just behind the main road through Garnet.  At the turn of the century, this area was filled with buildings on both sides, as one can see in the map of Garnet depicted below.

Sign in the front corner of the Adams house.  Tragedy and comfort marked this family home.  First, a newborn son died in a Missoula hospital.  Then, the family lost a girl at the age of 3. A third child, Mary Jane, born in 1917 survived until 2011.

The Adams house was built between 1896 and 1900.  It was among the nicer homes in Garnet although constructed from logs, not boards as it appears.  The family lived there from 1904 to 1927.  Mrs. Adams had the Post Office in the house until 1910.

The road just behind the main road through Garnet.  At the turn of the century, this area was filled with buildings on both sides, as one can see in the map of Garnet depicted below.

Garnet Historic District Sign telling the history of Garnet, MT. During World War 1, Frank A. Davey acquired this building (next to the Visitor's center) and turned it into a livery shed.  He stored his stage coach inside.  Garnet Ghost Town, MT Framed & matted 3D depiction map of the original Garnet, MT hangs on the wall in the Visitor's Center cabin.
Garnet Historic District Sign telling the history of Garnet
(click to read)

During World War 1, Frank A. Davey acquired this building (next to the Visitor's center) and turned it into a livery shed.  He stored his stage coach inside.

Framed & matted 3D depiction map of the original Garnet, MT hangs on the wall in the Visitor's Center cabin.