Coolidge is a ghost town located near the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Montana, U.S. In 1872, mining began in what became known as the Elkhorn Mining District when rich veins of silver were discovered in the Pioneer Mountains.
Though numerous mines were operating in the area, it would still be decades before the town of Coolidge got its start. In 1893, when silver prices went down, all of the area mines were stopped for the several years. By 1903 silver prices had recovered enough to develop the mines and the transportation required to make the operation profitable. In 1911 William R. Allen, outgoing lieutenant governor of Montana, recognized the potential of the district.
In 1914 the town of Coolidge hummed with activity. Named for U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, a personal friend of founder William R. Allen, life in the town moved to the rhythm of the mine. The streets were full of sound and movement, the clang of heavy machinery a constant in the background, as men came and went from the mine.
The little town that once boasted a population of 350 was as modern as any of the time with both telephone service and electricity via lines that ran over the hills from Divide. But the town was short-lived. With the failure of the Elkhorn Mining enterprise and the onset of the Great Depression, by 1932 Coolidge could no longer support its citizens.
Today, Coolidge is fading reminder of the fortunes made and lost in the mining camps that dotted Montana’s mountains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the buildings were flattened but others were fairly well kept and standing. The Great Depression took a toll on this little community but the remnants of the towns life still remain.
Imagine what life may have been like here between 1914 and 1927 when hopes were high for the success of Elkhorn Mining District. Visiting Coolidge ghost town you might imagine the distant clang of ore carts or the heavy drumming of the ore crusher from the mill. Remnants of the mine and mill and shells of the homes and businesses are all that is left to mark this once promising mining town.