For the second installment of our Summer Bucket List series, we take you to the Garnet Ghost Town near Missoula, Montana.
A young nation expanded into the Montana territory in the mid-1860s. Homesteaders rode steamboats and rail cars in search of untouched land and the freedom to choose their own destiny. Many scoured the mountains for gold and other precious metals.
Settlements grew overnight around mining claims. The town of Garnet was born in 1895, and within several years, hundreds of people called it home. The blasts of dynamite and the shouts of miners echoed through the gulches.
This remote town boasted hotels, stores, and saloons, as well as a school, laundry, drug store, assay office, and weekly newspaper.
But Garnet was not destined to last. By 1912, the large strikes were depleted, fire had raged through town, and most miners had left in search of new riches.
The struggles of the Great Depression brought a brief revival in the 1930s, but Garnet has been mostly deserted ever since.
Today, most of the town is publicly owned, and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM stabilizes and preserves the remaining two dozen buildings and provides visitors a glimpse into this fascinating part of our past.
Guided tours are available whenever BLM staff is on site and may be arranged in advance by calling the BLM office in Missoula at 406-329-3914. The BLM encourages school groups to take field trips in non-winter months to the ghost town to learn more about the mining culture and history of Montana.
For more information, visit http://on.doi.gov/19ZbibY
Photos by Bob Wick, BLM