Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/28/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bannack, Montana was bustling gold rush town until turn of the century

At one time hosting 10,000 hungry gold prospectors, Bannack, Montana is now a ghostly shell of its Wild West past. Still open to tourists, history buffs as a national park, Bannack is testament to a time in the American past where promises to get-rich-quick drove western expansion and growth.

Built along the banks of Grasshopper Creek, Bannack's Main Street had three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, a grocery store, a restaurant, a billiard hall and of course, four saloons at its peak.

Built along the banks of Grasshopper Creek, Bannack's Main Street had three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, a grocery store, a restaurant, a billiard hall and of course, four saloons at its peak.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/28/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bannack, Montana, gold rush, wild west, ghost town


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Founded in 1862 as the first territorial capital of Montana, the ghost town still boasts 60 structures, all of which can be explored by history lovers today.

Built along the banks of Grasshopper Creek, Bannack's Main Street had three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, a grocery store, a restaurant, a billiard hall and of course, four saloons at its peak.

Prospectors led by John White discovered gold in the creek where Bannack stands today, on July 28th, 1862. Originally named Willard Creek by the historic continental expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1805, the large insect population led to its renaming when the first gold hunters arrived.

Cries of "gold in them thar hills" spread fast across the western frontier. Both Montana and Bannack witnessed the greatest gold rush since California in 1848.

The gold found in Bannack was highly prized. Most gold is 95 percent pure, the nuggets found along the creek at Bannack were found to be 99.5 percent pure, a phenomenal level of quality.

As the town sprang up around the gold, prospectors needed entertainment which came in the form of bars and notorious saloon girls. Bannack's population had grown to 3,000 in the space of a year and the residents applied to the U.S. Government for official recognition.

Originally wanting to name the town Bannock, after the neighboring Native American people, Washington apparently made a mistake and changed the "O" to an "A" - which remained to this day.

Bannack developed a reputation for lawlessness, and the roads in and out of the town along the Montana Trail crawled with bandits. The situation spiraled out of control to the point that in January 1863, the town hired a man named Henry Plummer as sheriff.

Bannack, Montana: Meade Hotel in Ghost Town - which is said to still keep the ghostly souls of its pioneering patrons haunting the building


Eerie: A boardwalk lines a ghost town street where houses, built during Montana's first gold rush in 1862, now stand abandoned


In a bizarre twist of fate, it was later learned that Plummer was secretly in charge of a particularly ruthless posse. Some stories link Plummer and his men for the murders of over one hundred people around Montana, Idaho and Utah.

Bannack, Montana, stands in a valley near rolling hills. The town was the site of Montana's first major gold rush in 1862


Abandoned: At its peak, Bannack's Main Street had three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, a grocery store, a restaurant, a billiard hall and of course, four saloons


Both Plummer and his two deputies were hanged without trial on January 10th, 1864 and a number of his associates and friends were lynched or banished under threat of death should they ever return.

Dangerous Past: A dirt road passes by fields on its way to a ghost town abandoned at the end of the 1862 Montana gold rush


A view down the abandoned main street of ghost town Bannack, Montana


After the title of territorial capital was taken away in 1866 by Virginia City, Bannack's population slowly started to shrink. By 1870, the gold started to dry up and by 1874, the population had fallen to a few hundred.

Realizing the need to halt the decline, a school was built and in 1875, the Beaverhead County Courthouse was erected. Both remain extant today.

Bannack's steady decline continued until 1940, when the school closed and Bannack officially became a ghost town.

Its place in Montana's history was not forgotten though and in 1954, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks declared the town a state park.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More U.S.

FILTHY LUCHRE: Surprising amount of microbes found thriving on dollar bills Watch

Image of According to a new study -- you really shouldn't put your money where your mouth is!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You really shouldn't put your money where your mouth is: Dollar bills are awash with all manner of microbes that can cause illness. Truly, a recent study gives new meaning to the term "filthy rich." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers at New York ... continue reading


NO PLACE TO GO: More than 1.6 million Americans do not have indoor plumbing Watch

Image of The proportion of U.S. homes lacking complete plumbing has dropped dramatically, falling to about one-third in 1950 and one-sixth in 1960.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two things make a house a home: a toilet and a telephone. With cheap, readily available cell phones, may take their calls mobile. But when it comes to washing your hair, or even finding a place to answer the call of nature . many Americans are not so lucky. It's been ... continue reading


Alabama Supreme Court Recognizes Child in the Womb Has Fundamental Rights

Image of The Alabama Supreme Court

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Because a human life with a full genetic endowment comes into existence at the moment of conception, the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights encompasses the moment of conception. Legal ... continue reading


Help Make the Story of the Serial Killer/Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Into a Movie Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In 1852, the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was invited to speak on the Fourth of July and delivered the now famous speech entitled What to the Slave is the Fourth of July. Here is a stirring quote from that famous speech: 'For it is not light that ... continue reading


Their Eyes Were Opened: Walk With Jesus on the Road to Emmaus Watch

Image of On the Road to Emmaus: In the light of the encounter with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened. So it is meant to be with each one of us. The Holy Eucharist is more than a commemoration; it is an invitation into communion with the Living God - right now because Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead and walks with us on the road of life.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We are those disciples on the road to Emmaus, living our lives in the real world, walking along with Jesus who is always there accompanying us on the road, whether we recognize Him or not. He listens to us, and understands us, because he became like us, in "all ... continue reading


Made for Beauty: Liturgy and Music

Image of

By Deal W. Hudson

Some might flinch at my use of the word "satisfying" to describe a liturgy, but I used it deliberately because I want to think aloud about the fact that we were made for beauty as much as we were made for goodness and truth.  To be satisfied by the shape, ... continue reading


'COME AND TAKE IT' Texas AG blasts BLM scheming to seize state land, threatens fight Watch

Image of Texans are rallying against the federal government and its habitual overreach.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major land war between the Bureau of Land Management and the state of Texas is brewing as Texas lawmakers push back against the feds plan to seize 90,000 acres of land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. AUSTIN, TEXAS (Catholic Online) - The Bureau of Land Management ... continue reading


SHOCKING NEW TWIST: Autistic boy defends teenage girls who filmed his sexual assault Watch

Image of The parents of the victim are insistent that they want their son's abuser, 17-year-old Lauren A. Bush to be tried as an adult.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Abused beyond belief by two teenage girls, who filmed their despicable activities with their cellphones, a 16-year-old autistic boy now says he doesn't want to press charges against them - concerned that it would damage their - "friendship?" LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Time to Live the Easter Way of Life Watch

Image of Easter is more than a Day; it is a way of living our lives in Jesus Christ. Darkness has been scattered by the Light which broke forth from that empty tomb. That Light is meant to infuse our daily lives with the radiance of Resurrected love.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The early Christians lived their lives in the Lord, for the sake of the world. They exhibited a holy boldness; because they internalized the faith they professed and allowed it to transform every aspect of their lives. They experienced the transforming power of ... continue reading


50,000-strong OK Militia declares they will resist federal takeover attempts Watch

Image of The Oklahoma Militia is ready to defend property against unlawful federal seizure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Oklahoma militia which claims the allegiance of 50,000 members has sided with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his recent clash against the feds. Although the standoff appears to be over, and is not likely to resume, the militia says it is ready to defend the rights ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter