Status: Ghost Town
Elevation: 5,768 Feet ( 1,758 meters)
Gallery: View 45 Bannack, Montana Photos
County: View Beaverhead County Mines
Date Settled: 1862
Current Population: None
Peak Population: ~10,000
Primary Mineral: Gold, Silver
Map: View on Google Maps
Bannack was settled in 1862 after the discovery of gold on Grasshopper Creek. In 1864, Bannack was the territorial capital of Montana for a short time before it was moved to Virginia City. The district experienced many periods of boom and decline but by World War 2 the industry was on its last legs. The post office was closed in 1938 and the school closed in the early 1950's.
Bannack was the site of the notorious Montana Vigilantes saga that culminated in the hanging of Bannack's Sheriff Henry Plummer, along with a number of his alleged gang.
As Bannack declined, concerned citizens of southwest Montana began preservation efforts. By 1947 efforts were underway to preserve buildings and in the 1950's the Beaverhead County Museum Association began purchasing buildings and property in the town. For three decades after that the state of Montana purchased remaining buildings and property, and a State Park was established. Today, Bannack is likely the best preserved ghost town from the territorial period of the 1860's