Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Montana Ghost Town

The town of Philipsburg, on the Pintler Scenic Loop, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Most buildings are solid brick and stone, and are fully occupied as businesses or as gift shops, restaurants, and other touristy attractions. The town was a prosperous mining burg in the late 1800s and is now restored to look as it once did. The building above is the high school, still in use.

And here is the jail! It seemed to be still used as a police station, and maybe still as the jail. We walked up and down the streets, crowded with tourists, bought some awesome homemade fudge in the famous "Sweet Palace", and ate a delicious lunch at a restored saloon now used as an eating establishment, "Doe Brother's Fountain and Restaurant."

The ghost town of Granite, in the hills above Philipsburg, presented quite different scenes from the town of Garnet, which we visited a couple of weeks ago. Garnet contained many wooden structures still in place, while Granite was obviously built mostly with stone and brick, and those buildings were lying in ruins, decimated by weather and scavengers. Granite, like Garnet, is up high in the hills, reachable by a narrow dirt road.
This is the remainder of the only bank in Granite.

Here we were amazed to see the ruins of a 3 story brick and stone edifice used as the Miners' Union Hall, where the miners found rest, relaxation and entertainment. Trees and bushes have taken over the floor area, and I was surprised to find many raspberry bushes growing here and there over the town property. Someone must have cultivated them when the town was new, and the years and the birds have spread them around.

This was perhaps the most fascinating ruined structure we saw. It was once the stamp mill, where the ore was crushed to extract the metal. It is amazing to think how these early miners could construct these edifices without the machinery we have today. This mill was made of huge boulders and bricks, all covered with a wooden facing. We could still see the massive amounts of dust the mill produced.

Here is a wooden house along the way, still more intact than many of the other buildings, most of which were simply holes in the ground surrounded by rock foundations.

The view from the top was spectacular. Looking down, we could see the light-colored dirt left from the mining process, and beyond that, the valley below; such a beautiful sight. Montana has so much awesome beauty, which we are thankful to be able to enjoy.

Click on any of these photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Ghostly Day!

 We had a day at the Garnet Ghost Town, east of Missoula. Here's a great photo of the wildlife we saw on our way up the mountain. Free range cattle were abundant, grazing throughout the forest.


Here's a view looking down on the town from the pathway near the parking lot. The town of Garnet was born in 1895, a gold mining town, and within several years 1000 people called it home. This is all that is left today.

 My granddaughters and we were looking hard for ghosts!

This is one of the better preserved rooms in the hotel.

Push hard, Natalie!

One of 2 or 3 bird nests we saw on the buildings.