Bannack is a ghost town located in Beaverhead County, Montana, U.S. Bannack was the first town in state of Montana where the search for gold took place. This remote mining town came into being in 1862 when John White discovered gold near Grasshopper Creek. The town fathers christened the town “Bannack” after the Bannock Indians that lived in the region, and by the spring of 1863, the area boasted a population of five thousand. It was considered such an important center that in 1864 it briefly served as the capital of Montana.
At the height of the gold boom, Bannack was home to approximately 10,000 residents. By 1870, there were no more easy diggings in and within just a couple of years, the population of Bannack shrank to just a few hundred. Mining continued in various degrees until the 1940’s when the last mine closed and the town was abandoned. It has now been preserved and is operated by the State of Montana as Bannack State Park.
The post office in Bannack was closed in 1938 and the school closed in the 1950s. By 1960, the town had been completely abandoned. In 1962 Bannack turned 100 years old, and was recognized with the designation of National Historic Landmark. There are over 50 buildings that line Main Street of Bannack Ghost Town, with their historic log and frame structures that recall Montana’s formative years. Today Bannack is one of the best preserved of Montana ghost towns.
You still may find the building of the City Drug Store and Hotel Meade. Hotel Meade was built in 1875 as the County Courthouse. However, the county seat moved to another town in 1881, and after sitting empty for ten years it became the Hotel Meade in 1891. You can go inside most of the buildings in Bannack ghost town.