Comatose But Not Dead
Montana’s rich mining history left the state’s mountainous landscape peppered with an array of abandoned “ghost towns”. They aren’t, however, quite as quiet as you might imagine.
The communities of Virginia City and Nevada City seem to pick up where the mineral boom left off a hundred years ago. These impeccably restored towns are literally open-air museums offering a host of activities in the summer months. From guided, steam train tours to the ever-so-slightly risqué Brewery Follies (held in Montana’s first brewery, the H.S. Gilbert Brewery), these charming towns offer visitors an opportunity to step into a living history experience.
Bannack, Montana’s first rough and tumble state capital and sight of the first gold strike, is now a prized state park. Offering seasonal “Ghost Walk” tours on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween, these spooky, old west outings are guaranteed to scare the chaps off any cowboy.
January 14, 1864, was a most unfortunate day for 24 notorious “road agents”. On that fateful day, two dozen of the west’s most destructive thieves, thugs and wild criminals were rustled up and hung by a group of vigilante citizens. You can still view the rope burn from the makeshift gallows at “Hangman’s Tree”, just outside of Laurin.