Gold West Country features Bannack, the first Montana ghost town showcasing over 60 authentic buildings for immersive gold rush history.
Montana ghost towns are prevalent throughout the Gold West Region. Groups looking for some rip-roaring chapters in America’s pioneer past can strike it rich with a trip here. Located in the southwestern part of the state between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks is the broad expanse of forests, lakes and rivers that sprang to prominence overnight in 1862. The discovery of gold in the small town of Bannack drove hoards of people west searching for good fortune. A year later, Bannack’s population soared to over 3,000, becoming the territorial capital for a time. Prosperity, though, was short-lived; within two years, the Alder Gulch of Virginia City overtook Bannack in gold abundance. Subsequently, Bannack became the first of many Montana ghost towns.
Despite such a fall, Bannack features more than 60 of the original buildings still standing today. Highlights include Graves House, built in the 1860s; Masonic Temple, which housed Bannack’s school; and Meade Hotel, originally the Beaverhead County Courthouse.
In 1954, Bannack was designated a Montana state park. Bannack Days, a two-day festival held the third weekend of July, celebrates the history of Montana’s pioneers and mining endeavors.
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