Montana Has A Long “Rich” History When It Comes To Gold Mining
Every day I check the "Calendar Days".
It's one of those calendars that is online and you can look at it and see what is special about the day. So as I was looking at the calendar, I noticed that today is "Talk like a Grizzled Prospector Day"
I'll be honest with you, I have no idea how a grizzled prospector would talk, but I'm guessing I probably wouldn't be able to type some of the stuff they might say here.
It got me thinking about those folks that risked everything to leave their homes and families to go and seek adventure and hopefully wealth back in the day. Most folks are familiar with the "Gold Rush" and when we think of that, we think of California. Of course, that makes sense because over 300 hundred thousand folks moved to the "Golden State" during that time.
However, not so fast. California wasn't the only state that was a big factor in the Gold Rush, so was Montana. I mean, after all, we are called the "Treasure State". In fact, according to the University of Montana, the first settlement in the western part of the state came from gold mining:
"In western Montana, gold was the basis of the first permanent white settlement. The initial discovery was recorded in the spring of 1858 at Gold Creek, just east of Drummond, by brothers Granville and James Stewart, along with their partner Reece Anderson."
For a couple of decades, folks flocked to Montana to find gold. Like many other "mining towns", western Montana was full of all kinds of characters and was truly an example of the "Wild West".
Gold would take a back seat to Copper towards the end of the 19th century and many of the boom towns and settlements would turn into ghost towns. Yet, during the heyday, it is reported that Montana produced millions of ounces of gold according to westernmininghistory.com:
"Montana generally is credited with lode and placer gold production of 17,752,000 ounces from 1862 through 1965. Almost two-thirds of the total was mined before 1900 when records were poorly kept; thus a large part is estimated."
So can you still mine for gold today in Montana? Yes, you can.
In fact, one of the places is Libby Creek Recreational Panning Area. Not only can you pan for gold, but you also get to keep whatever you find. While it might not be exactly like back in the 1800s, it certainly is a great way to get out in nature and enjoy Montana in a unique way with family or friends. Happy mining.
Credit: University of Montana, western mining history