Elkhorn – A Montana Ghost Town HD – near Boulder, Montana MT
Elkhorn, a Montana ghost town in HD, is near Boulder, Montana.
Join me as I explore Elkhorn ghost town in the southwestern part of our state of Montana. Silver was initially discovered in the Elkhorn Mountains and over $14 million in silver was carried from the mines in the area. In 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act passed, creating a high demand for Elkhorn’s silver.
During this peak period, Elkhorn boasted 2,500 inhabitants, a school, hotel, church, stores, saloons, and brothels. Unlike most mining towns, Elkhorn was populated mostly by married European immigrants. In 1893 the Fraternity Hall was constructed for social gatherings, and still remains as one of the most well-preserved buildings in 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, resulting in many deaths, particularly of children. Soon after, railroad service to Elkhorn was halted and only a fraction of the original inhabitants remained.
This was my second journey to Elkhorn ghost town. The first expedition was in 2001. I took a few pictures and made a slideshow Thinking back, I believe the town had only a couple of hardy souls living there.
Boy was I surprised when I arrived in town. Not only did I have a flat tire, but many cabins have been renovated and the year-round population is now up to ten! Most residents are descendants of early miners and shopkeepers.
Everyone I met was extremely friendly and related stories of relatives who worked, built cabins or were buried in the cemetery.
Elkhorn John was the first resident I met. He lives across the street west from the Elkhorn State Park, the smallest state park in Montana. The park consists of two buildings, the Gillian Hall and the Fraternity Hall.
Elkhorn John lives in a cabin built by his grandfather in 1892! He, along with his two friendly dogs, opened up the fire hall and aired up my flat tire. This did not fix the problem but it did tell us where the rock hole was! Replacing the flat with my spare was my next project.
I also met Tom and a friend of his. Tom lives across the street north of the state park. He assisted me in replacing my flat tire with my spare tire. His friend actually went looking for a spare when we were having difficulties removing my spare from under the truck. Tom filled the spare with his portable compressor since it was also low on air (a new tire but had not been checked for air since it was new, six years ago!)
Tom related a few stories about Elkhorn. As a teenager, he assisted in the Elkhorn Mine delivering dynamite to the blasters (at 500 to 1800 feet underground!) His grandfather built a cabin on the land where he now lives.
Tom recommended I visit the cemetery and also the old railroad water tower built in 1889 by the Northern Pacific Railroad. The water tower and short-line railroad from Boulder were active until rail service was discontinued in 1914.
The 48,000 gallon water tower is the last-known example of a first-generation Northern Pacific wooden water tank which, because of its 6,000-ft. altitude, included a wooden skirt around the tank supporting structure.
Another person I met was just leaving the cemetery when I arrived. She is from Helena and her great grandfather was buried here. He died during the Diphtheria epidemic that hit the town especially hard from 1884-1889.
Now, THAT’S a lot of history in my short four hour stay in Elkhorn ghost town! I just wish I had budgeted more time. The next sojourn will be sooner than 15 years from now, for sure!
This sequence was captured with a DJI camera on a Phantom 3 Advanced quad copter (aka drone or UAV) and a Canon Vixia HFS-100 camera. Post production utilized Adobe Premier Pro 6.
Music is “Unpromised” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
© 2009 Kevin MacLeod
And “Wagon Wheel” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
© 2015 Kevin MacLeod
And “Scissors” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
© 2011 Kevin MacLeod
And “Trio for Piano, Cello, and Clarinet” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
© 2007 Kevin MacLeod
All above music is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0