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Ghost towns in Montana

Garnet in the US state of Montana comes back to life once a year. Then 19th-century crafts, costumes and novelty gold digging can be experienced in the well-preserved ghost town.

Garnet in Montana is one of the towns built during the gold rush, when people came to the region to seek for fortune. Montana is a U.S. state in the northwestern region of the United States of America.

Gold was discovered in this part of the world around 1860. However, the region's fortune was short-lived and people left many towns in the area after the gold boom ended.

Garnet is one of several towns that were abandoned in Montana between 1860 and 1920. A fire destroyed part of the town in 1912 but 'many of the old wooden houses are still standing, like Kelley's Saloon and the once luxurious JK Wells Hotel' and can be visited. No-one lives in Garnet permanently. However, tourists can hire cabins in the town for 30 dollars a night - if you want to sleep with the ghosts.

Other ghost towns in the USA are Bannack and desolate Granite. Here the Granite Mountain mine produced silver not gold. Thus the nickname for this town is "Montana's Silver Queen". At its best times, Granite had a flourishing community centre with library, dance hall, restaurants and even its own newspaper. After the silver boom ended in the 1890s there was not much left to do, so also here people moved out and now 'nature reclaims the streets and buildings'.

Bannack which served briefly as Montana's first capital in 1864-65 was once a thriving gold mining town. 'The last inhabitants moved away only in around 1980, and some still kept their old homes as summer retreats. Bannack State Park, with its some 60 historic buildings, attracts around 36,000 visitors annually.

Now, once a year, Bannack is brought back to life during the Bannack Days, held in the third weekend in July. During those few days each summer, the spirit of yesteryear wafts through the ghost town of today.'

image: Christian Roewekamp


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