Gold was first discovered in Southern Cross in 1866, but the town wasn't developed until the 1870s. At its height, the town boasted half a dozen mines, and some 500 residents. It was also the end-of-the-line for a spur railroad to Butte. Between the 1870s and when the Anaconda Company shut down operations in 1919, the area produced roughly 5 million dollars in precious metals. Legend has it that the name came from a former sailor who settled in the area.
After its decline as a mining town in the 1910s, Southern Cross continued to provide a home for a number of residents. The town saw something of a revival in the 1970s and '80s, with residents who came to the area, worked to clean up some of the industrial debris, and restored several of the old mining houses as summer residences. Thus multiple 19th century homes and mining buildings remain. By virtue of its location near both Discovery Ski Area and Georgetown Lake, the area continues to see occasional development. Of particular note is the beautiful St. Timothy's Chapel, which was actually constructed in the 1960s. The chapel has beautiful views of Georgetown Lake and is a popular location for weddings and events.
From Philipsburg, take the Pintler Scenic Route (MT Highway 1) south for about 12 miles to Southern Cross Road (the turn off for Discovery Ski Area). Turn left onto Southern Cross Road. In one mile there is a three-way fork. Take the middle road to St. Timothy's Chapel.