Friday, August 2, 2013

Montana Ghost Towns and Boulder Hot Springs

While at Townsend, MT, Kurt took us hunting for ghost towns, with the idea of stopping on the way home and soothe our tired bodies at Boulder Hot Springs.
There used to be lots of mining in the area.  Although there still are mines, they are much different today.  Along many of the backroads you can find signs of yesteryear mining, such as the remains of an old stamp mill.

Once providing the rails for a train to transport the ore, the rails have long since been removed and now it is just a skeleton of an old railroad tressel.

An old beehive furnace.

Some areas are still being actively mined.

By far, this town had the most buildings still standing, even if they were in pretty poor shape.

This is the first thing you see as you enter the town.

The Comet Mine opened in 1883 and was operated until 1941.  It was the richest mine in the area, producing over $20 million in lead, zinc, copper, silver and gold.

There are still lots of old machines and parts laying around inside the mine.

Once this was the hotel.  The wallpaper is still visible on some of the walls.

From the back you can access the upper floor of the hotel.  But it isn't very stable as Phil found out, he almost fell through to the bottom floor when some boards gave way beneath him.

This is where the population of 3 still reside in Comet today.  The town consists of 25 acres and over 35 buildings, all on private grazing land which is open to the public.

A few of the abandoned homes and buildings.

So you think this car can be restored?

We finished the day with a soak at Boulder Hot Springs.  Although the natives have used this hot springs for centuries, in 1861, the land and water rights were purchased by James Riley and he build a crude bathhouse and tavern.  In 1882, new owners built a small hotel and in 1891 it was remodeled and enlarged in Queen Anne style with 52 rooms, a resident physician and gymnasium.  The current bathhouse and east wing were added in 1910 and 1913 and the entire building was remodeled with raised parapets and covered in stucco, giving it a California Mission look.  Inside was decorated with Tiffany glass and hand stenciled walls.  Although it has been in operation under various owners, it still today, provides the same access to the healing hot waters as it did 500 years ago to the local indians.

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