Filed Under Garnet

Garnet Historic District

The 1865 gold strike on Bear Creek in the Garnet Range drew prospectors from far and wide. The gold that washed down with spring runoff promised rich quartz veins, but without a road and little water for placer mining, the “mother lode” proved elusive. For thirty years, prospectors eked out a living until road construction finally allowed access to heavy equipment. Placer mining transitioned to hard rock mining.  In 1895, partners Dr. Armistead Mitchell and Dr. Charles Mussigbrod developed a stamp mill at nearby First Chance Gulch.  When Samuel Ritchey struck a rich vein of gold at his Nancy Hanks mine, just west of the mill in 1896, Garnet sprang to life. The town attracted more families than did Montana’s earlier mining camps.  Dances, hay rides, quilting bees, and picnics provided family oriented social activities.  Garnet supported numerous saloons, but its family emphasis tempered usual mining camp vices.  Cordial relations between independent mine owners and the miners union contrasted with single company towns such as Butte and Philipsburg, prompting the Garnet Mining News to proclaim the town a “poor man’s paradise.”  Through boom and bust, Frank A. Davey steadfastly believed in Garnet’s future. As owner of the general store, hotel, and the stage line, Davey was Garnet’s most prominent resident.  His death in 1947 and the sale of his holdings in 1948 marked the beginning of Garnet as a ghost town.  Today, the remaining commercial false-front and log dwellings reflect Garnet’s life span from 1895 to 1948.  Since 1972, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has stabilized many of the town’s buildings and vigilantly oversees its historic resources.

Images

Main Street of Garnet, Montana Main Street of Garnet, Montana "Mail stage in front of Post Office. Lewis driver, Judson's Store at right. Long Walt who made cigars standing by corner. One of Carother's boys on horse." Catalog # 947-521 Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center
Photograph Archives, Helena, MT
Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: 1899
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Overview of the historic district, facing south to southwest from the walk path to the historic town. This overview features the Visitor Center, the Wells Hotel, and the General Store to name a few buildings. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Ghost Town Buildings in Garnet Ghost Town, Montana. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: A. Baker Date: Aug. 1966
Garnet Ghost Town Buildings in Garnet Ghost Town, Montana. Source: Montana Memory Project Creator: A. Baker Date: Apr. 1966
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of the old house structure known as the Adams House, facing south to southeast on the walking tour of the historic district. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of Kelly's Saloon, facing south to southeast on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of Davey's Mercantile, facing south to southeast on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Rear to side view of the Wells Hotel, facing north to northeast from the side street that runs parallel to Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of the Wells Hotel, facing south to southwest from Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of Ole's Tavern and now the Visitor Center, facing northwest on Main Street near the General Store. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008
Garnet Historic District Garnet Historic District. Front to side view of the Bill Hubner cabin now the staff office, facing northwest on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Helen Keremedjiev Date: 2008

Location

11 miles north of junction US 90 and Bear Gulch Road, Garnet, Montana | Private | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Garnet Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed February 1, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/49.