Elkhorn, Montana

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Ghost town
The Fraternity Hall
The Fraternity Hall
Elkhorn is located in Montana
Elkhorn is located in the US
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.

Elkhorn is also a Montana State Park.[2]


Lodes of silver, described by geologists as supergene enrichments, were initially discovered in the Elkhorn mountains by Peter Wys, a Swiss immigrant.[3] 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.[4] 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.[4][5] 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.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Elkhorn". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Montana State Parks :: Elkhorn". stateparks.mt.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  3. ^ "Elkhorn, MT". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  4. ^ a b "The Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society-Elkhorn". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Elkhorn, Montana Survives Today". Legends of America: Montana Legends. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  6. ^ USA Census Bureau (2010). "American Factdfinder- results". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 

External links[edit]