Elkhorn, Montana

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Ghost town
The Fraternity Hall
The Fraternity Hall
Elkhorn is located in Montana
Location of Elkhorn in Montana
Coordinates: 46°16′29″N 111°56′45″W / 46.27472°N 111.94583°W / 46.27472; -111.94583Coordinates: 46°16′29″N 111°56′45″W / 46.27472°N 111.94583°W / 46.27472; -111.94583[1]
Country United States
State Montana
County Jefferson
Established 1872
Abandoned 1970s
Named for Elkhorn Mountains
Elevation 6,443 ft (1,964 m)

Elkhorn is a small ghost town and a CDP in Jefferson County, Montana, United States, in the Elkhorn Mountains of the southwestern part of the state.


Lodes of silver, described by geologists as supergene enrichments, were initially discovered in the Elkhorn mountains by Peter Wys, a Swiss immigrant.[2] Six years later, Anton Holter, a pioneer capitalist from Helena, Montana, began developing the mine. Over $14 million in silver was carried from the mine. In 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act passed, creating a high demand for Elkhorn's silver.

During this peak period, Elkhorn had 2,500 inhabitants, a school, a hotel, a church, stores, saloons, and brothels. Unlike most mining towns, Elkhorn was populated mostly by married European immigrants.[3] In 1893 the Fraternity Hall was constructed for social gatherings, and still remains as one of the most well-preserved buildings in modern Elkhorn.

In the years following, the silver boom and Elkhorn's prosperity began to lessen as the desire for silver decreased. A diphtheria epidemic also struck Elkhorn in the winter of 1888–1889, resulting in many deaths, particularly of children.[3][4] Soon after, railroad service to Elkhorn was halted and only a fraction of the original inhabitants remained.


It can only be reached through its neighboring town, Boulder, Montana by taking the I-15 at Boulder exit, continuing 7 miles (11 km) south on Montana 69, then 11 miles (18 km) north on county graveled road.


While very few standing buildings remain of the original Elkhorn, a number of cabins have been reoccupied and refurbished. In 2010, there were 10 inhabitants.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Elkhorn". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Elkhorn, MT". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  3. ^ a b "The Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society-Elkhorn". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  4. ^ "Elkhorn, Montana Survives Today". Legends of America: Montana Legends. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  5. ^ USA Census Bureau (2010). "American Factdfinder- results". Retrieved 2014-08-28. 

External links[edit]