Garnet, Montana is a ghost town found near a
golden deposit that was discovered here in 1862. Construction of railroad
through the area greatly increased profitability of golden extraction. Two
boom- bust cycles occurred in Garnet in 1883-93 and 1898-1904 with the highest number
of residents reaching 3000. In 1912 declining Garnet was hit by a great
fire. Whatever survived the flames were carefully preserved by Bureau of
Land Management. Like any ghost town Garnet has its own share of alleged
paranormal activity. This includes full body apparition of a gold miner
who died in the city. A more common sight is that of a woman who was
executed by Garnet officials for murdering her lover. Additionally some
eyewitnesses claim to hear ghostly voices and loud music that is heard
around the area of a former saloon.
In 2010, much of the area was owned by the U.S.
Bureau of Land Management and was included in its Garnet Resource
Area. Architects/builders included Ole Dahl, who built Dahl Saloon
(also known as Ole's and as "The Joint") and the Dahl House, Robert
Moore who built Kelly's Saloon, Hugh Hannifen who built Hannifen
House, Judson and Blaidsell who built the F.A. Davey Store, and John
and Winifred Wells who built the Wells Hotel.
originally named Mitchell in 1895 and had ten buildings. The main
part of the town was built on the Garnet Lode. Later changing its
name to Garnet, it was a rich gold mining area. In 1898, as many as
1,000 people lived here; it was abandoned 20 years later when the
gold ran out. A fire in 1912 destroyed half the town, which was
never rebuilt. Supplies needed in Garnet were generally obtained
from nearby Bearmouth.
Despite this, Garnet is one of the
state's best preserved with 16,000 visitors annually. The annual
celebration the third Saturday of each year is Garnet Day. Garnet's
oldest living member, Mary Jane Adams Morin, came to visit every
The nearest city is Missoula, about 20 miles (32 km) to
the west. The closest city to the east is Butte, about 100 miles
(160 km) away.
Garnet has the Wells hotels, Kelly Saloon,
Daveys Store and many outer buildings, preserved and intact. During
the 1890s, it had close to thirteen saloons (bars), as well as food
stores, a barber shop, mercantile store, and three hotels. The
hotels were started for passersby, or people coming to pick up gold.
They typically ranged from 1-3 dollars, and the poor miners who
could not afford that price could sleep in the attic without any
windows for a quarter. It is suspected that Garnet even had a
brothel, but prices and the exact whereabouts are uncertain. Garnet
was famous for its saloons; at its peak, the saloons were one of the
hottest spots in Garnet.