Discover Montana’s Deadly Ghost Town

Montana’s Bannack Ghost Town is a place of fascination and intrigue for those who seek a glimpse into the darker side of history. The town’s past is steeped in violence, with a notorious outlaw gang led by Sheriff Henry Plummer responsible for a spate of robberies, holdups, and murders along the stagecoach route between Bannack and Virginia City. The gang’s crimes resulted in over a hundred deaths, but justice was eventually served, and Plummer and his gang were hanged from the gallows pole located just a short walk from the cemetery hill.

Today, Bannack is a ghost town that offers visitors a chance to explore the remnants of a bygone era. The miner’s homes, the Meade Hotel, and the doctor’s office are just a few of the landmarks that can be visited, each with a fascinating story about the town’s history.

Despite its violent past, Bannack has become a popular tourist destination, with visitors drawn to the town’s rich history and the eerie atmosphere that lingers in the deserted streets.

Key Takeaways

  • Bannack has a violent past, with Sheriff Henry Plummer and his outlaw gang responsible for numerous robberies, holdups, and murders that resulted in over a hundred deaths.
  • Bannack is now a popular ghost town destination, allowing visitors to explore the remnants of this bygone era and landmarks such as miner’s homes, Meade Hotel, and doctor’s office.
  • Remnants and landmarks in Bannack include the Meade Hotel, which was built in 1875 with 14,000 handmade bricks, as well as the gallows pole located just a five-minute walk from the cemetery hill.
  • Tour options in Bannack include both guided and self-guided tours, which provide visitors with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Bannack’s history and unique place in Montana’s past.

History and Outlaws

The history of Bannack, Montana as a notorious ghost town is inextricably linked to the presence of outlaws, particularly Henry Plummer and his gang. Plummer was appointed sheriff of Bannack in 1863 and used his position to lead his gang in a reign of terror that included stagecoach robberies, holdups, and murder. The gang was responsible for over a hundred deaths in the area, and their activities made Bannack one of the most dangerous towns in the west.

Plummer’s reign of terror came to an end when a group of vigilantes captured him and his gang, and promptly constructed gallows behind a saloon where they were all hanged. The gallows pole still stands today, and visitors can walk up the north road into the valley overlooked by the cemetery hill to see it.

Bannack’s history as a lawless and deadly ghost town is a testament to the notorious crimes committed by Plummer and his gang.

Remnants and Landmarks

Several original remnants and landmarks still exist in Bannack, including the Meade Hotel which has 14,000 handmade bricks. This historic hotel was built in 1875 and was a hub for travelers and miners alike. Today, visitors can tour the hotel and imagine what life was like in Bannack during its heyday. The hotel’s handmade bricks serve as a reminder of the hard work and dedication of the town’s early settlers, who used the materials available to create lasting structures that still stand today.

Another notable landmark in Bannack is the gallows pole, just a five-minute walk up the north road from the cemetery hill. This site was the location of many hangings, including that of the notorious outlaw leader Henry Plummer and several members of his gang. While vandals destroyed the original timber of the gallows, the pole still stands as a chilling reminder of the town’s violent past. Visitors can reflect on the gallows pole and its history, and gain a deeper understanding of the harsh realities of life in Bannack during the late 1800s.

Visit and Tour Options

Visitors to Bannack can explore the town’s rich history through various tour options. Guided tours are available with knowledgeable guides who lead visitors through the town and provide fascinating insights into its history. These tours take approximately two hours and include visits to important landmarks such as the Gallows Pole and Skinner’s Saloon.

Visitors can also choose to explore the town on their own with the help of a map. Self-guided tours allow visitors to take their time and explore the town at their own pace, stopping at landmarks and remnants that catch their interest.

Guided tours are an excellent option for those who want to learn more about Bannack’s history and its role in Montana’s past. Guides provide a wealth of information and stories that bring the town to life.

Self-exploration options are ideal for visitors who prefer to take their time and explore at their own pace. With a map, visitors can visit the town’s landmarks and remnants, imagining what life was like in Bannack’s heyday.

Whether visitors choose a guided tour or self-exploration, they will come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Bannack’s rich history and unique place in Montana’s past.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was life like for the average resident of Bannack during its heyday as a mining town?

Daily routines for Bannack’s residents during its mining heyday involved hard work, followed by socializing at saloons and gambling houses. Social norms included strict gender roles and racial segregation.

Are there any ghost sightings or paranormal activity reported in Bannack?

No ghost sightings or supernatural experiences have been reported in Bannack. However, visitors have reported feeling a sense of unease and hearing unexplained noises, possibly attributed to the town’s violent history and abandoned atmosphere.

How has Bannack been preserved and maintained over the years?

Bannack has been preserved through various techniques, including restoration, conservation, and education. The town’s historical significance has been recognized through its designation as a National Historic Landmark, ensuring its continued preservation for future generations.

Have any movies or TV shows been filmed in Bannack?

Bannack has been used as a filming location for various movies and TV shows, including the 2015 film “Forsaken” and the TV series “Frontier”. Its well-preserved historical buildings and authentic Western atmosphere make it a popular choice for filmmakers.

What other ghost towns in Montana are worth visiting besides Bannack?

Montana has several abandoned sites of historical significance worth visiting, such as Garnet Ghost Town, an old mining town with well-preserved buildings, and Virginia City, a former territorial capital. Both offer a glimpse into Montana’s rich past.

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