Garnet was established in the 1890s when miners migrated from the Placer mines in California to the gold and garnet rich mountains of Montana. Sitting at around 6000ft in elevation and nestled into the crook of the Garnet Range, the early years bustled with a population of around 1000 people. Unlike many mining towns, Garnet was home to many families, including children. In 1912, about half of the village was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt. By the 1920s, the town had been abandoned as the miners moved on after the gold ran out.
Garnet is the best preserved ghost town in Montana. Located about 20 miles north of Missoula, an easy car ride can get you there. The ghost town is a federal historic site and the goal of the Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Association is to preserve and keep the site safe for visitors, but not rebuild the town. There are currently 22 buildings in the village.
We visited Garnet on Saturday. There were a few folks milling around, but mostly we had the village to ourselves. Made for a lovely day trip. We are looking forward to exploring the history of our new state.
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