I always had a fond memory from my childhood of Virginia City Montana. My parents had taken me there on a family vacation and we panned for gold, rode a train from Virginia City to Nevada City (the town next door) and from what I remember Virginia City was a cute western themed town. As I arrived into town I was greeted by another round-up, this time some loose cows. Cowboys on horses and a few dogs moved the cattle to where ever they should have been and I was able to make my way into town.
As an adult I have been realizing that my childhood memories are sometimes mish-moshed. This was not the town I remembered – it appeared that I had combined several trips into one memory (I should probably cut back on the beer :-(). I did accurately remember Boot Hill where there are headstones of criminals hanged by vigilantes … so that much was good – well not for the criminals.
As I left town slightly disappointed I saw the ruminates of what looked to be my gold panning spot and a train station. I guess the gold rush had ended.
I drove on to Bannack State Park, a ghost town that was a little bad ass in it’s heyday. Full of roughnecks in search of gold. The town is set up with buildings on either side with a dirt road between them. Much like I had expected Deadwood South Dakota to be. As you walk around the park some of the buildings are unlocked and you can go inside and check them out. While at the visitor’s center be sure to pick up the information pamphlet telling you the history of each of the buildings. It’s a small additional fee of $2 but worth it to get the back history of the buildings and town.
The story about the bar and the men who frequented there made me wish I could travel back in time and find a gentleman suitable to bring home to the parents… just kidding no one reputable went into this bar, other than maybe the barber, who cut hair in the corner. He often had to dodge bullets from the fights that would break out in the bar. Scary!
I’m always fascinated by the old west but I would probably freak out if I had to live in a time where shootouts in the street were common. I wouldn’t have lasted long anyways- I’m pretty mouthy and I have a slow reaction time – so I’d say something bitchy and for sure be shot first.
I walked up to the gallows, which were strategically placed in sight of the jail, I can only assume that was to inform the occupants in the jail of their fate!
After checking out the gallows I climbed up to the cemetery, you know to see where they put the people after they were hanged and got a great view of the overall park.
Bannack is a great stop for anyone interested in the history of Montana, the gold boom or historic buildings. If you would like to visit Bannack State Park they are located about 24 miles from Dillon Montana off of I-15. Take exit 59 onto Hwy 278 for 17 miles. Take a left on Bannack Bench Road for 4 miles. There is a $5 fee for non-Montana residents who drive in, $3 for bikes, walk ins or commercial buses. But if you are a Montana resident you get in free. The visitor center is open May – August 10am – 6pm and Weekends after Labor Day to October 31st from 11 am – 5pm. The park is open May 8am to Dusk, Memorial Day to Labor Day 8am – 9pm, Sept to the 3rd week of October 8am to Dusk and the 3rd week of October to April 8am – 5pm.
After I finished up at Bannack back to Butte Montana I went. I stopped at Quarry Brewery for a quick beer and a growler.
I was pretty pleased with their Oktoberfest. Some people say Fall is their favorite time of year, Oktoberfest is mine. Granted those two usually coincide 🙂 I wish it was Oktoberfest all year long… but yes I know then it wouldn’t be special.
I began to realize I was dragging my feet to get home as I was inching closer to having to get back to reality… sigh. But I must fund my travels, right?
If you would like to visit Quarry Brewing they are located at 124 W Broadway St. They are open Monday – Saturday 1-8pm and Sundays 1-6pm.