Friday, October 28, 2011

Garnet -- A Ghost Town

Rick had the day off work today, so we decided to take a field trip to an old ghost town in Garnet, Montana. Nichelle came with us, so that made it even more fun. Normally, you can go into the visitor center and into more of the buildings, but they just shut those down for the season. We were still able to see quite a lot. I was surprised there were so many people there today. By "so many" I mean we saw about 7 or 8 other people. Considering how far out this little town is, I was surprised to see anyone there on a Friday afternoon.

Above photo: Kelly's Saloon. The boom town of Garnet had one school, but sported thirteen saloons that offered "male-orientated" entertainment. Miners sure had their priorities. Perhaps the school was an "after thought" or a "necessity" from all that entertainment.

Above photo: JK Wells Hotel, which was built in the winter of 1897. In its heyday, the entry featured beautifully carved doors with stained glass windows and was the most impressive building in Garnet.

Above photo: Neil sitting in the outhouse of the JK Wells Hotel. I don't know anything about outhouses, so I thought it was odd how this one was actually a double with two separate rooms next to each other. Each room had two "seats" as well. I wonder why that was? Did people get lonely out there and needed company? One of my biggest pet peeves are people who use public restrooms and talk on their cell phones in stalls next to me. I guess back in the 1800s all they needed to do was turn their head to chat!

Above photo: Neil standing in the blacksmith's shop. He loved the huge bellows and thought it was cool how the ceiling was all charred.

Above photo: Neil and Nathan in one of the miner's cabins. Looks drafty!

Above photo: The stove in the "Honeymoon Cabin". This cabin was originally built by a miner living in Garnet, who later moved. The cabin was then used for honeymooners to live in rent-free. They could live there until another couple got married and needed a place to stay.

Above photo: The bed frame in the "Honeymoon Cabin". I found it very interesting how most of the miner's cabins not only had the stoves left inside, but the bed frames as well. Some just had the head and foot boards, but others had the springs as well. I guess when everyone left, things like stoves and bed frames were too heavy to take with them.

Above photo: Nathan, Neil, and Nichelle inside what was originally a nice cabin built between 1896 and 1900. It was later turned into a livery shed and was home to a stage coach.

Above photo: Just some weeds that were blowing all over the place. I thought they looked pretty. I'm not sure what they are, but you know me and know I'll be trying to find out their name soon.

Above photo: Neil and Nathan looking at one of the gold mines that was barred off for safety. I like this picture. I need bars like this at home.

Above photo: More of the unidentified weeds. I loved how fluffy they were. Fortunately, I didn't get any in my eyes this time.

Above photo: Neil and I looking goofy. We were on the one-mile walk through the mine area when we stopped to take this. Neil and I take a lot of pictures, so we get left behind a lot. While I was taking a picture of a dead squirrel, Neil was video taping it lying in the road. We make a good team!

Above photo: The road back down the mountain. The Tamarack trees have turned yellow finally, which is always an amazing thing to see. Before moving to Montana, I never knew there was a pine tree that actually changed color in the fall. These do and they look really pretty.

It was a fun trip and pretty educational for a field trip. Not only did the boys learn a little about Montana history, but also about what a "boom town" was, a little about gold mining, seeing all the old buildings, looking down the mines, and more. There's a lot of history in this little town, but I'm too tired to go into all of the details tonight. If you'd like to learn more, check out Garnet Ghost Town. I hear there are a lot of these places in Montana, so hopefully we can visit more of them sometime.


  1. This is such a facinating place! I love it! We visited a place in New Zealand kind of like this.

  2. I adore old abandoned places--the treasures people leave and the stories I imagine! What a great field trip.

  3. That's so cool! I've always wanted to visit a real ghost town. I've went to a couple of places called "ghost towns" but they were major disappointments. Just a couple of foundations and little else. Love the pictures!