Ghost Towns Bannack
Ghost Towns of Southwest Montana: Bannack
Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. Four hundred people moved to Bannack that summer, and a town sprang to life.
It was also the home of the infamous renegade sheriff, Henry Plummer, who became Sheriff of Bannack in 1863. It is reported that Plummer was the leader of a gang of road agents and thieves. When a road agent with the name of Erastus "Red" Yeager was about to be hanged, he identified Henry Plummer as the leader of the gang. It was the first indication anyone had that Henry Plummer was a road agent. Henry Plummer was marched from his home to a scaffold he himself had built in his role of sheriff and hanged by the Vigilantes.
In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial Capital of Montana. From the late 1860s to the 1930s, Bannack continued as a mining town with a fluctuating population. But by the 1950s gold workings had dwindled and most folks had moved on. Bannack State Park was established in 1954, and is located about 25 miles southwest of Dillon. The buildings and area surrounding them have been preserved so that you can get a good taste of how the old west looked as you tour through this National Historic Landmark.
Bannack Days is a two-day celebration held each year. During this history extravaganza, visitors can take stagecoach rides through the center of town, witness old west gun battles and participate in public trials. Take part in hands-on demonstrations from the 1860's, tour through schools, hotels and saloons, and hear the stories of the day.
Ghost stories are told on Halloween night–pretty scary considering there's no electricity in town. In winter, the stout-hearted can ice skate on an old dredge pond by moonlight.
The Visitor Center is open from May through October. Guided town tours, mill tours, living history, gold panning and Saturday entertainment programs are scheduled from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tour booklets are available for self guided tours and the park and campgrounds are open all year.
Bannack is located 3 miles south of Dillon on I-15, then 20 miles west on Secondary 278, then 4 miles south on county road.
Bannack State Park
4200 Bannack Rd.
Dillon, MT 59725
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks - Bannack