Burning Down Bannock Montana

Avilla ghost
Angry in Avilla
November 11, 2016
Fayetteville ghost
Freaking Out at Fayetteville
November 18, 2016

Burning Down Bannock Montana

Bannock Montana

Bannock Montana is a ghost town located in Beaverhead County, Montana on Grasshopper Creek.  Located on the south west tip of Montana, Bannock was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and founded in 1862.  Named after the Bannock Indians, the town was initially established by a successful physician who opted to give up his practice on the hopes of striking it rich in mining.

(images:yalecreek/flickr)

(images:yalecreek/flickr)

There was a major gold discovery in Bannock in 1862 and due to the rapid boom of establishment, the town was made the capital of the Montana territory in 1864.  The last residents were there until the 1970s and at its peak Bannock was home to over ten thousand people, despite being such a remote area and having such limited access to other places.  As a matter of fact, it was connected only by the Montana trail.

As a matter of necessity, the town was self sufficient and quickly built up the necessary amenities to support the people who lived there.  Bannock, during the mining days, had three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmiths, two stables, two meat markets, a grocery store, restaurant, brewery, billiards hall, and four saloons.  The people there found much success in mining and had everything they needed to thrive in the small, secluded town.

Unfortunately, as with any town celebrating an abundance of booze and a lack of laws, problems quickly developed.  As the area was quickly growing, there was no government, courts, or law enforcement.  Some of the local men developed a miner’s court and counted on the newly appointed sheriff to carry out justice.  Unfortunately, it was quickly discovered that the town’s newly appointed sheriff was a large participant in the crimes and associated with he road agents who were responsible for over one hundred murders that occurred while the town was expanding.  The road agents were highwaymen or bandits who attacked stage coach routes in the Western United States, often plundering what they could and killing anyone in their way.  The sheriff was ultimately hanged in 1864.  Over twenty other men were also accused and hanged by the vigilance committee who was made up of Montana vigilantes.

(images:yetibuddha/flickr)

(images:yetibuddha/flickr)

The Bannock area was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and made part of the Bannock State Park.  People from all over the country make a point to visit Bannock and take part in the living museum which now stands where the thriving mining town once stood.  Visitors are able to wander through buildings and sites like churches and schools and imagine what life in the wild west was like.  Unfortunately, while they may enjoy their learning and history, they get more than they bargained for in Bannock.

Despite the fact the original inhabitants of Bannock moved or died, some of the spirits who made up the town have never actually left.  One of the most haunted places in the town, Hotel Meade, was established in 1875 as a courthouse.  In 1890 it was turned into a hotel and held social events.  One of the lasting residents is a teen girl who is seen on the second story who usually appears to kids.  She lives in a suite that remains locked in the upper floors.  She is proposed to be the daughter of the hotel manager who once ran the hotel.  She drowned in nearby Grasshopper Creek.  Visitors often hear crying children and see and unknown woman.  The hotel suffered another tragic loss when it was attacked by indian tribes.  Families placed their children in locked hotel safes but were unable to retrieve them when everyone was massacred.  Cold spots and cries are felt and heard throughout the hotels walls.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

Leave a Reply