Garnet, Montana

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Garnet, Montana

GarnetMontanaThis is an abandoned mining town that is located on the dirt Garnet Range Road. It is surrounded by mountains and a forest making it one of best sites to visit within Granite County in Montana. Its name originates from the red gem prospectors discovered here in the 1860s instead of gold and the town’s lifespan was as long as the red gems lasted.

Previously, in 1895, this town had been named Mitchell and there were only 10 buildings available here at the time. Interestingly, the main part of this town was built on the Garnet Lode and in the course of time, it changed its name to Garnet. By 1898 the population of Garnet had reached 1,000 individuals and when the precious mineral was exhausted 20 years later, the town was abandoned.

What was perhaps the worst moment for the town of Garnet was when a fire razed down half of the buildings that were left standing in it and this particular portion was never rebuilt. This was in 1912 and thus that portion of the town was gone and forgotten. Bearmouth was the closest source to the town from where supplies required for use here were obtained.

Garnet remains one of the best preserved ghost towns in Montana and it continues to attract 16,000 visitors every year who come in to sample some of what is left of this town as they try to gather some history surrounding Garnet. This number is large enough to signify how popular this destination has become over the years.

There is also the yearly celebration every third Saturday that is called Garnet Day and one can plan their visit around this time to enjoy the moment together with others as they discover what the celebration is all about. Mary Jane Adams Morin, was the oldest living member of this town who made it a point to visit Garnet town on a yearly basis.

From here you can access other towns such as Butte which is 100 miles (160 km) away from this town and is the closest one to the east. Missoula is the other town one can access from Garnet and is located 20 miles (32 km) away from here. It is the closest town to Garnet to the west and time allowing, one can visit these too to discover more.

Though this town lasted a short period of time, in the 1890s there were 3 hotels, a barber shop, about 13 saloons, a mercantile store and food stores. These hotels were put up by those who came in to pick gold and passers-by and one had to pay between 1 and 3 dollars to enjoy the services of these hotels.

An attic without any windows was available for a quarter dollar for poor miners who mostly spent their nights here. The saloons around here that were located on the hottest spots within the town were the highlights of the town when it hit its peak. Garnet was specifically famed for these and some of the buildings you will find standing intact today in this ghost town include the Daveys Store, Wells Hotels Kelly Saloon and other outer buildings.

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