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Garnet Historic District
Garnet-mt-17.jpg
Garnet's surviving commercial buildings
Garnet, Montana is located in Montana
Garnet, Montana
Location in Montana
Location 11 mi north of junction of US 90 and Bear Gulch Rd, Bureau of Land Management, Garnet Resource Area, Garnet, Montana
Area 134 acres (54 ha)
Built 1895
Built by Ole Dahl
Architectural style Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements
NRHP reference No. 10000547
Added to NRHP August 12, 2010

Garnet is a ghost town in Granite County, Montana, United States. Located on the dirt Garnet Range Road, it is an abandoned mining town that dates from the 1860s. In First Chance Gulch in western Montana, the town is located 11 miles up the Garnet Range Road, in mountains and forest. The town is at approximately 6,000 feet (1,800 m) elevation.

The town was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Garnet Historic District, a historic district, in 2010. The listing included 82 contributing buildings, 46 contributing structures, and 56 contributing sites, as well as four non-contributing buildings, on 134 acres (54 ha).

Garnet is located 11 miles (18 km) north of the junction of Interstate 90, U.S. Route 12 and Bear Gulch Rd. in the Bureau of Land Management's Garnet Resource Area.

Garnet, established in the 1890s, was the residential and commercial center for an area that was extensively mined between 1870 and 1920. The buildings are mostly at the north end of Last Chance Gulch, but the listing includes mining structures in a wider area extending in all directions from the town site.

Garnet-mt-27
Several of Garnet's remaining miner's cabins

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.

Garnet was 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 year.

The nearest city is Missoula, approximately 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. Their rates typically ranged from $1–3, 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.

Trivia

  • Garnet was the site of a 2004 short film, Ghouls Gone Wild, by the band The International Playboys.
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