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Garnet Montana | by mtdvetter
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Garnet Montana situated in a remote valley located at the head of First Chance Creek, 6,000 feet up in the green pine forested mountains east of Missoula. Garnet has an isolated feel to it and is not heavily touristed or commercialized. As you might expect, Garnet has a reputation of being a haunted ghost town.


Garnet dates back to the turn to the 20th century. It was named for the semi-precious garnet rock first mined there before gold was found. Like most mining towns, Garnet wasn’t built to last, yet over a century later, buildings lacking foundations still stand.


Placer mining was practiced around the area later and gold was found at the First Chance Gulch in 1865. Miners worked about 50 mines in the vicinity. Garnet dates back to 1895, but it wasn’t until an abundant strike at the Nancy Hanks Mine that the town began to boom. In 1896, the Nancy Hanks Mine produced $690,000, and the boom continued throughout the 1890s as mining companies rolled into Garnet.


Based on the wealth it was producing, you can get a good idea of what life there must have been like when Garnet was thriving. The population swelled to as many as 1,200 in its prime. Garnet had four hotels, four stores, two barbershops, a butcher shop, a doctor’s office, laundry facilities and thirteen saloons.


Residents of Garnet did more than just mine for garnets and gold and support the efforts of miners. There were dances and parties, picnics and fishing trips and a genuine social life for its residents. Saloons and the drinking, gambling and prostitution that typified many mining camp towns were present, but controlled to a great degree. The jail was available as an incentive to keep rowdy drunkenness at a minimum, or at least a tolerable level.


Twenty years after it was established, the gold in Garnet ran out. As few as 150 people remained in Garnet and most of the mines were abandoned by 1905. A fire raged through the town in 1912, destroying many commercial establishments. Garnet was never rebuilt, and employment opportunities presented by World War I lured remaining residents away.


If you’d like to ghost-hunt in Garnet, one of the most popularly cited haunted buildings is Kelly’s Saloon. Sounds of music and laughter are reportedly heard there even in the dead of winter when only one individual is overseeing the town.


Caretakers also report hearing unexplained footsteps in the old Wells hotel, as well as doors shutting even in places where no doors are present. Whether it’s the Saloon or the hotel, those who’ve experienced the unexplained phenomena confirm that as soon as you approach the building, the noises immediately stop.


This is the beginning of a virtual tour of Remnants of a Ghost Town, check the notes for descriptions of the buildings. A sneak preview is below in comments, please take a look, I thank you for the comments and faves! Have a great day!




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Taken on June 15, 2012