In 1879, gold was discovered in the Judith Mountains near the head of Warm Spring Creek Canyon. As a result, Maiden (or Maidenville), was established in 1881 and today is a gold and silver ghost town of the Judith Mountains.
At the peak of Maiden in the late 1880s, 1,200 folks resided in the area.
Maiden was just one of many “boom towns” at the time.
Fort Maginnis was built in 1881 and 266 men served there by 1886.
Gilt Edge peaked around 1908 with a population of 1,500 and had a bolstering business district.
Kendall thrived between 1901 and 1912 and is a gold ghost town of the North Moccasin Mountains.
Seven other camps (or hamlets) existed for a brief time during the 1880s through the 19-teens in the Judith Mountains. Fascinating!
These “boom towns” were the focus of local historian Jerry Hanley’s Ghost Towns and Gold Mines presentation last Thursday at the Library. The Library upstairs meeting room was full (almost 60 people) as Hanley enthusiastically shared his vast knowledge on the subject. Hanley’s passion for Central Montana ghost towns and gold mines was evident throughout the interactive presentation.
The Library has a collection of resources on the ghost towns and gold mines of Central Montana. Local ghost towns and gold mines items available for checkout include “James Fergus” by John Foster, “Mr. Montana: The Life of Granville Stuart” by Paul Robert Treece and others. Items available for in-house use include “Cultural Resource Survey Kendall, Montana” by John Foster, “History of Fort Maginnis, Montana” by Frederick P. Moodry, “Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Warm Springs-Giltedge District, Fergus County” by Richard A. Forrest, “Geology and Gold Deposits of the North Moccasin Mountain, Fergus County, Montana” by John E. Blixt, “Gilt Edge Hotel Register” by T.R. Matlock, Proprietor, “A Field Guide to the Judith Mountains, Central Montana: Hiking, Touring, History, Ghost Towns, Geology, Wild Flowers, and Birds” by Lee Woodward and Ann Woodward and “Guarding the Carroll Trail: Camp Lewis 1874-1875 and Mines and Mineral Deposits (except fuels) Judith Basin County, MT” by Almon Robertson and Robert Roby. This is a small sampling of the local ghost towns and gold mines history collection at the Library. Select items that do not check out are available in digital format upon request.
There is much to explore in Central Montana. If you’re interested in learning about our ghost towns and gold mines, the library is a great place to start.
Pictured: Main Street in Maiden, Montana. 1887 “The main street of the gold mining town of Maiden in the Judith Mountains, Montana. Many business buildings line both sides of the street. The Maiden band is in a semi-circle in the middle of the main street on New Year’s Day.” Montana Memory Project. Photo Credit William Culver photo courtesy Central Montana Historic Photographs.