Friday, June 15, 2012

MONTANA’S FIRST TERRITORIAL CAPITAL

Dillon, MT   H  72   L  41

“The roads and boardwalks are deserted. The doors sway in the wind. There are no children laughing and adults gossiping. The gold rush is long over. It is but a memory left in old dusty journals. With nightfall the spirits return to tell their tales.” Sue Kaiser

After getting set up at the campground in Dillon, we drove up to Bannack State Park (about 22 miles from Dillon).

IMG_5171 Bannack’s history began 150 years ago on July 28, 1862 when Montana’s first major gold discovery was made on the banks of the creek. This strike set off a massive gold rush that swelled Bannack's population to over 3,000 by 1863. Bannack is the best preserved of all Montana ghost towns -- being preserved rather than restored.

IMG_5166 Bannack was named after the Bannock Indians. The name was submitted by the Post office in 1863, and the “o” was inadvertently taken for an “a” changing the spelling to Bannack.

In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial Capital of Montana but only for a short time until the Capital was moved to Virginia City, MT.

You can purchase a guide book at the Visitor’s Center for $2 that contains absolutely wonderful information and stories about life in Bannack during the gold rush days.

One of the most interesting stories is about Henry Plummer. His entire colorful story can be found here: Henry Plummer.

IMG_5170 These are some of the highlights of his story, but I highly recommend that you read his entire story at the above link.

Henry was living in Nevada City, CA in 1853 where he owned a bakery, served as city marshal and was imprisoned in San Quentin for manslaughter. He was given a medical pardon and traveled to Bannack in November 1862. Shortly after his arrival he was tried and acquitted of murdering Jack Cleveland and was elected Sheriff in May 1863. As Sheriff he organized a criminal gang known as the “Innocents.” Also as Sheriff, he ordered the gallows to be constructed to hang convicted murderer John Peter Horan. On January 10, 1864, Henry was hanged by the Vigilantes on those very same gallows that he had built.

County Court House/the Hotel Meade

IMG_5172

 

 Skinner’s Saloon

IMG_5175

The Methodist Church

IMG_5188

The Jail

IMG_5194

IMG_5196

It was here, in Montana's first territorial capital, that Montana Masonry got its start and helped bring law and order to the Wild West at the same time. On June 23, 2000, the Grand Lodge of Masons officially chartered Bannack Lodge (3-7-77) as the first Historic Lodge in the state to help preserve the building and the heritage of Masonry. This building was also used as a school; you can see the merry-go-round in the front yard on the right.

There is a campground with several sites, some suitable for bigger rigs, no hookups. This camper had the best site in the campground.

IMG_5204

Jim was able to walk the entire distance of the town without his back hurting him. That is just so wonderful. He did have to rest a couple of times because of shortness of breath but that was his only problem.

13 comments:

  1. butterbean carpenterJune 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Howdy Sandie & Jim,
    CONGRATULATIONS, YOUNG FELLER!! NO PAIN, HOW WONDERFUL! YOU'VE HAD ENUFF PAIN FOR THE REST OF
    YOUR LIFE, JUST DON'T OVERDO IT!! Thank you, for the tour and the pics; they tell the story well!
    Pet the girls and ask Skittz what she was growling for in the pic?? We enjoy going places with y'all..

    ReplyDelete
  2. the blue skies of Montana!..spectactular!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Poor Henry! I guess he got what he deserved.

    I'm so glad Jim in doing well. Thanks so much for the tour of Helena and for us getting together again. I really love Montana and Helena in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ironic the way Henry died. Nice trip. I enjoyed it too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I LOVE stories like this. Rich and I used to visit old western cemeteries and one in particular in an Idaho ghost town had the best stories attached to the people who lived there long ago.

    Coincidently, the town that I live in is what it is because it was misspelled.

    So great to hear that Jim is without pain. I'm very happy for him and you that you can once again enjoy your travels. It's also encouraging news to me.

    Keep up the stories, Sandie. Love them. Where in Montana are you headed--if you already told me--forgive my memory. If you're up near Glacier and a bumpy ride wouldn't bother Jim, try to get to Polebridge.

    Just a little gabby side note--when Rich and I were in Bozeman on year (one of my favorite Montana towns), there was a tiny two year old little Indian girl who was with her adoptive Dad in an antique shop he owned right outside of town. She was the most beautiful child I've ever seen. She was offering to show me things--playing store. She handed me a little basket that I have to this day. I call it my Lily Mae basket. Her Dad told me that she'd been at work with him every day, and that she had never broken a thing. So, so cute. I took pictures of her and sent them to him. I have the negatives somewhere amongst thousands of negatives--always regretted sending the originals. She'd be a teenager. Hard to believe.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry--forgot to say the ghost town in Idaho was Custer--not too far from Stanley.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow... looks like a really really interesting place!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great news about Jim! I love the photos of the County Court House, church and especially Jim...belling up to the bar..hehe
    Another wonderful tour!

    ReplyDelete
  9. There are so many great places to visit that most of us have never heard about. This looks like one of those. Now Jim needs to stay healthy and out of those hospitals. Glad to hear he's doing so well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Glad to hear you are both on the go and that Jim is doing so well!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So glad to hear that Jim is doing so well. Love the history lessons. I think that as RVers we try to go back to the simpler times.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sounds like you two are staying very busy. Glad to hear Jim is feeling much better.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glad to hear Jim is doing so well. Glad you are finding such good places to see that he can handle. Recovery is hard enough that having these treats helps.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.