Garnet – A Montana Ghost Town

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Garnet Ghost Town about 40 miles east of Missoula, MT.

Garnet Ghost Town about 40 miles east of Missoula, MT. Black and white photos are best suited for a ghost town.

Tuesday, August 23

We’re currently at Jim and Mary’s RV Park just outside of Missoula, MT. We discovered this great park last summer when passing through the area. We’re back again this summer thinking we’d need some warranty repairs for our motorhome. There’s an authorized Tiffin dealer in Missoula so we made a hard-to-get service appointment a couple of months ago thinking something would need to be repaired. After 8 months of ownership, everything still works like new!

After canceling our repair appointment, we decided to stay the entire week to take advantage of Jim and Mary’s weekly discount rate and to do some more exploring around Missoula.

Garnet Ghost Town

After taking a quick look at Things to Do on tripadvisor.com, we decided to drive out to visit the Garnet Ghost Town, an old mining town about 40 miles east of Missoula. Established in the 1860’s following the discovery of gold, Garnet went through a series of ups and downs until the 1940’s when it was finally abandoned. Even so, what is now the visitor’s center operated as Ole’s Tavern until the early 1960’s.

Main Street, Garnet MT - many of the buildings have served multiple purposes throughout the years. Those in the foreground were the town's retail establishments.

Main Street, Garnet MT – many of the buildings have served multiple purposes throughout the years. Those in the foreground were the town’s retail establishments.

Artifacts left behind by former residents are haphazardly displayed throughout the many buildings. Unlike most other historic structures we’ve visited, access to most of the rooms and artifacts in Garnet are not restricted nor protected. Dogs are even allowed to explore in all the buildings!

Inside the General Store on Main Street.

Inside the General Store on Main Street.

The town is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Most of the buildings that remain have been stabilized to make it safe for visitors and dogs to explore.

Front door to the J.K. Wells Hotel.

Front door to the J.K. Wells Hotel.

One of the most interesting and impressive buildings in town is the J.K. Wells Hotel built in 1897. After it closed in the 1930’s, the owner moved into the kitchen and maintained several rooms for friends and family up until his death in 1947.

The ladies parlor on the first floor of the J.K. Wells Hotel.

The ladies parlor on the first floor of the J.K. Wells Hotel.

The "better" rooms are on the second floor of the J.K. Wells Hotel. None had private bath but a three-seater outhouse still stands in the back of the hotel should the need arise.

The “better” rooms are on the second floor of the J.K. Wells Hotel. None had a private bath but a three-seater outhouse still stands in the back of the hotel should the need arise.

Miners that could not afford a room on the second floor, could rent a spot to sleep on the third floor. It wasn't much, but better than sleeping outside in the cold Montana winters.

Miners that could not afford a room on the second floor, could rent a spot to sleep on the third floor. It wasn’t much, but better than sleeping outside in the cold Montana winters.

The kitchen lies near the back of the J.K. Wells hotel. You can see the dining room and front door in the background.

The kitchen lies near the back of the J.K. Wells hotel. You can see the dining room and front door in the background.

A rear view of the general store.

A rear view of the general store.

Click here for more details about the Garnet Ghost Town.

 

 

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