THAT'S WHERE THE GOLD WAS...


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Placer miners in Nelson Gulch, south of Helena, 1860-1870

 



Mining gold by candlelight near Helena, about 1910

 

 


Interior of a gold and copper mine near Helena, about 1910

The relatively easy-to-find placer gold played out around 1870. Hard rock and, later, dredge mining continued until the 1940s. The two largest producing mines were the Whitlatch-Union mine in Oro Fino Gulch and the Spring Hill mine in Grizzly Gulch.

 

Unionville, 1920s


COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

Located four miles south of Helena, Unionville was the camp for the Whitlatch-Union Mine, which operated from 1864-1872, and again from 1905-1942. It yielded over 17,000 ounces of gold, over 8,000 ounces of silver, 9 tons of copper, 9 tons of zinc and 40 tons of lead.

 

Powder House of the Whitlatch-Union Mine, 2012
Photos by Pam Attardo


 

Big Indian Mine
Pictured about 1904

The Big Indian mine was located in Jefferson County, in the hills midway between Unionville and Montana City.

From the Book 'Ore Deposits of the Helena Mining region, Montana' by Adolph Knopf:

"The two main claims, the Alabama and the Gold Hill, were located in 1875. The ore was taken out from a large quarry, and a 10-stamp mill was operated at a profit for a number of years...

Later the property was taken over by a corporation and a 60-stamp mill was erected and put in commission in 1902. This mill was operated by electric power from the Missouri River Power Co.'s plant at Canyon Ferry on Missouri River...

During 1903 and 1904 the Big Indian mine was the leading gold producer in Jefferson County, but soon afterwards it was shut down."



Cox Lake
Located in the hills south of Helena, at the head of Dry Gulch

Looking South, Early 1900s


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

 

Looking North, 1928 and 2009


COLLECTION OF NANCY GOODSPEED




COLLECTION OF NANCY GOODSPEED

 

Looking South Over Cox Lake, 1971 and 2009


COLLECTION OF NANCY GOODSPEED



COLLECTION OF NANCY GOODSPEED

 


Wickes, Montana

The silver ore smelter at Wickes, southest of Helena.

 

 

The main street of Wickes.

 




Alhambra & Sunnyside Hot Springs



Alhambra Hot Springs (foreground) and Sunnyside Hot Springs (center left), near Clancy Montana, about 1940. These two sanatoriums were served by a branch of the Great Northern Railway. This view looks east, from west of current I-15, up Warm Springs Creek Road.



TYPHOID TROUBLE

In 1908, the Montana Board of Health addressed concerns over the spread of disease, including typhoid, by these resorts. Both were piping raw sewage into Prickly Pear Creek, and allowing seepage from outhouses to contaminate groundwater. The contaminated water was routinely pumped aboard Great Northern trains for use as drinking water by passengers, some of whom would become ill later and not know the cause.

From the Montana Board of Health minutes, April 2 1908
COURTESY OF CHARLEEN SPALDING

The Clancy matter was again taken up. Dr. Tuttle said he hardly knew what to do in regard to it. The people over there don't seem to realize that the Board is trying to benefit them, and if ordered to build water tight closets they would only take their refuse and dump it in a place where it would be as harmful as it is now. Alhambra and Sunnyside Springs should have a septic tank or filter bed system, or else pipe the sewage down the river to a point suitable for a sewer farm. The are a great many water
closets belonging to the Great Northern located right on the bank of the creek, and these should be put back about fifty feet. It would aid materially if they would dig deep enough so that they could fill in with about four feet of gravel and sand, so that the contents of the closets would be filtered before they could do any harm. Dr. Tuttle also spoke of
treating the infected wells with a solution of copper, and illustrated the advisability of so doing.

Dr. Treacy said the greatest danger came from the sanitariums. Many sick guests were entertained there, causing conditions that soon became a menace to the people. A penalty should be provided for the lack of action on the part of the proprietors of these hotels, the same as is provided for the Spring Hill people.

Governor Norris asked how far typhoid fever germs could be carried down a stream and Dr. Tuttle said as far as a river will flow in twenty five days. The Governor thought that if that was the case, and the typhoid fever germs existed in the streams coming from Clancy there would be danger of this city becoming infected.

Dr. Bruning said that the conditions at Clancy applied to all the rivers of the State, and whatever action was taken with regard to Clancy should also be taken with regard to the other places.

Dr. Knowles asked what suggestions Dr. Tuttle or Dr. Starz had to offer in regard to the matter. He said it was a great proposition and one that needed immediate attention. A sewer farm seems expensive, but if it is the only way to handle the matter they must have a sewer farm.

Dr. Starz said in regard to the out-houses, that some of the waste matter could be disinfected with sulphate of copper. That would kill at least a good deal of the infectious matter and the wells could also be treated in the same way. As to the effluent from the springs, the only thing to do was to force the owners of the springs to pipe the sewage to some place where it could be properly purified. The excreta and everything from all the sick people at Clancy goes into the stream, then the water of that
stream is put directly in the big tank from which so many people drink the water. The tanks on the railroad cars are filled with this water, and the people who drink the water become sick after they leave Clancy, without knowing the reason. Something must be done. Since Clancy is not an incorporated town they haven't enough money to build a sewer system, so the only way is to prohibit them from dumping the sewage in the stream until it is purified and they can do this only by putting it on a sewer farm.

Dr. Knowles suggested that the Secretary have a consultation with the owners of the two sanitariums. Tell them that it is the desire of the Board that they find some way to take care of this sewage - that the Board is willing to wait a reasonable length of time and then if they have not taken some steps the Board will have to find some other measures.

Dr. Bruning asked if there wasn't a definite law prohibiting such disposal of sewage and Galen read a portion of a law to that effect.

Dr. Treacy said that the matter should be attended to at once, not only at Clancy but all over the State. Dr. Bruning moved that the Secretary of the Board be instructed to tell these people to provide some means of escape for the sewage.

Attorney General Galen offered us an amendment to that motion that the Secretary of the Board should recommend the measures to be taken to render the water safe. Let the Secretary investigate the matter thoroughly and determine the best and most effective means of handling the sewage and
then in the directions to these people outline the plan he has determined upon.

To this Dr. Bruning added that all the water closets on the bank of the stream should be destroyed.

This motion was carried.



Alhambra Station, 1920s

 

 

Alhambra Hot Springs Lake

 

 

Alhambra Mineral Water

Mineral water from the springs at Alhambra was shipped in tank cars to Great Falls to be bottled and sold. The water, however, was eventually determined to be radioactive (radim-228), and unfit to drink.

 

Alhambra Hot Springs Pool, 1940s


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW


Alhambra Hot Springs Hotel Destroyed by Fire, 1959


COURTESY OF JASON FRANCIS

 

 

Sunnyside Hot Springs

 


COURTESY OF CHARLEEN SPALDING




Jefferson City Dredge


COURTESY OF DAVE THOMAS

This gold dredge was a familiar sight near Jefferson City for decades. Here we see it at the present-day junction of I-15 and Tizer Lake Road.






Boulder and Basin Montana

Main St. in Boulder, Montana, 1960s.


 

The O - Z Motel in Boulder, Montana. Date unknown.

 

 


COURTESY OF TOM KILMER

The old Butte highway, Basin, Montana - 1960's postcard view. Basin is located just a few miles west of Boulder, and was the hub of a moderately successful gold mining region from about 1862 to 1911. The smelter stack on the right still stands.

 

 

Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine

Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine near Boulder, 1970s. Visitors to this and other area radon mines pay to sit in radioactive underground rooms. Their hope is that the low-dose radiation will improve their health. Many claim to have been helped by such treatments, but there is no scientific consensus on the matter.

 

COURTESY OF TOM KILMER

 


The old road to Butte in Boulder Canyon, near Basin, Montana.



 


Boulder Hot Springs aka Diamond "S" Ranchotel

Boulder Hot Springs, located a few miles south of Boulder, Montana. Built in 1890, it was later known as the Diamond S Ranchotel, and is now again operating as Boulder Hot Springs. In the 1960's, the Diamond S was famed for its Saturday night smorgasbords.

For an excellent history of the establishment, please visit the Boulder Hot Springs website.

 

Boulder Hot Springs Lobby, circa 1900



Early Detox Facility

Beginning in 1893, a Dr. George W. Archer operated a "Keeley Institute" franchise at Boulder Hot Springs. The treatment consisted in part of four-times-daily injections of "bichloride of gold". Another Keeley franchise operated at Alhambra Hot Springs, near Clancy...

 


Two Views of Boulder Hot Springs, 1920s
COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON • CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VERSIONS IN NEW WINDOWS



 


Boulder Hot Springs Becomes "Diamond S Ranchotel" in 1940

in 1940, James E. Murray sold the resort to C.L. “Pappy” Smith, who changed the name to the "Diamond S Ranchotel", by which it was to be known for the next 35 years or so.

1940s Postcard View


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

 

Early 1950s Postcard View - Diamond "S" Ranchotel


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Early 1950s Postcard View - Diamond "S" Ranchotel Lobby


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 

"...definitely not a honky tonk."


CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Matchbook 1940s-50s

 

Popular Smorgasbord





Elkhorn, Montana
Colorized circa 1898 Photograph


COURTESY OF JASON FRANCIS • CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

What is now the ghost town of Elkhorn is located in the Elkhorn Mountains, about 40 miles SE of Helena. Area silver mines were major producers from 1897-1899.



Elkhorn, Montana - probably 1970s


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD