Garnet Historic District
Garnet's surviving commercial buildings
|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 by||Dahl, Ole; et al.|
|Architectural style||Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements, other|
|NRHP reference #||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 about 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, 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.
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.
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. They typically ranged from 1-3 dollars, 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.
- Garnet was the site of a 2004 short film, Ghouls Gone Wild, by the band The International Playboys.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
- Jerry Clark, Terri Wolfgram; Maria Craig; Allan J. Mathews (March 1, 2010). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Garnet Historic District / Garnet Ghost Town; 24GN54". National Park Service. Retrieved February 12, 2019. Includes maps and 68 photos from 2008.
- The Missoulian. "Mary Jane Morin". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- International Playboys' First Movie: Ghouls Gone Wild!
- Garnet Montana Oral History Project (University of Montana Archives)
- Garnet Preservation Association Oral History Project (University of Montana Archives)
- Bureau of Land Management
- Visit Montana.com
- Garnet- Montana's Best Kept Ghost Town Secret
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