About 100 miles northeast of Hamilton resides one of Montana’s coolest and best-preserved ghost towns. This historic mining town, once known as Mitchell, became known as Garnet in 1897. By 1898, when a bounty of gold was discovered at the Nancy Hanks Mine, Garnet was home to nearly 1,000 residents. Garnet, named for the semi-precious ruby-colored stone once found in the area, was deserted by 1950.
Sadly, the ambitious and determined miners that once flocked to Garnet cared more about extracting riches from below ground than they did about building a solid foundation above. They built quickly without careful consideration or planning. Between an exiguity in gold, difficulties continuing to mine, a fire in the town’s business district, and World War II – this once bustling boomtown didn’t stand a chance.
While many of the structures in old ghost towns are rapidly decaying, the Garnet Preservation Association, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, is dedicated to protecting and preserving Garnet Ghost Town. Today, Garnet offers an incredible glimpse into the struggles of these early miners and homesteaders.
Visitors to this impressive ghost town can wander through a handful of renovated buildings, learn more about life in Garnet from interpretive signs and self-guided trails, and pick up books, cards, and other memorabilia at the visitor center.
For directions, suggestions for things to do around the Garnet Mountains, and for more information about visiting this historic mining town, please visit the Garnet Ghost Town website: www.GarnetGhostTown.org