HELENA — Steve Kline was 16 in 1962 when he picked up a copy of the newly released book “Western Ghost Towns” by Lambert Florin.
Artfully displayed with a revolver, the headboard that marked the grave of R.C. ‘Peg Leg’ Rowley is still in Steve Kline’s possession, over a half century after he ‘borrowed’ it from the graveyard in Bannack.
The three explorers from Minnesota, from left, Jim Pence, Dave Carlberg and Steve Kline, pan for gold in Townsend in 1962.
Steve Kline poses in the doorway of a log building in 1962 during his trip to explore the ghost towns of Montana.
Montana history may just have proven that justice delayed does not necessarily mean justice is denied.
BUTTE — Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh surveyed the flash flood damage at Bannack State Park Monday, saying he is amazed by the devastation.
Just as Bannack marks the 150th anniversary of its gold-mining heritage, an international mining company announced plans to resume hunting for gold nearby.
One hundred and fifty years after the first discovery of gold in what is now Montana, Cody Ames, a tourist from Tonasket, Wash., pans through gravel deposited from a nearby mine Friday in Bannack, the state’s first mining boomtown and, these days, a state park.
These days, prospecting of a different sort brings Michigan fly fisher Gary Reish to Grasshopper Creek where it winds by the outskirts of Bannack. “There’s some big fish in this little creek,” he says.
By 1864, only three years after the discovery of gold nearby, Bannack was a dying little camp with many of the prospectors moving to richer claims in Alder Gulch near Virginia City.
No battles were fought in Montana during the Civil War. And attention is bound to focus east of the Mississippi as Americans mark the war’s 150th anniversary.
Gold from Bannack and other Montana mining towns helped convince Washington to create Montana Territory. The two-story Hotel Meade, built in 1875, originally served as a courthouse.
The Montana Territorial Legislature met in this building in Bannack in 1864.
The first jail at Bannack was built by Henry Plummer, the sheriff who was hanged as an outlaw by the Montana Vigilantes in 1864.
Skinner's Saloon, next door to Hotel Meade, stood in the early-day mining town of Bannack.
Hotel Meade, the two-story brick building in Bannack briefly served as a county seat. Skinner's Saloon stands next door.
Many of the men standing in front of the F.L. Graves Mercantile in Bannack were ex-Confederate soldiers and early-day Bannack pioneers. The dog was named General Wheeling, after Lt. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, one of only two Confederate generals buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Montana's Masonic lodges got their start at Bannack, Montana's first territorial capital. Historians debate the role of Masons in formation of Montana's Vigilantes.
Photo courtesy Tom Lowe Hotel Meade, a two-story brick building in Bannack was built in 1875 as the county courthouse before the county seat moved to Dillion in 1881. It operated off and on as a hotel until the 1940s.