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Good For Kids
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A number of structures and cars can be seen overgrown by grass and weeds.
Elkhorn Ghost Town
Closest available address
I-15 at Boulder exit, 7 miles east on MT 69, then 11 miles north on Elkhorn (gravel road)
Not applicable. Daylight hours are the best time to see it.
Best time to visit
Elkhorn is a relic of a Western mining town that reached its heyday in the 1870s-1880s. After the mine closed, most of the town was abandoned. The Montana park service preserves two of the larger buildings from that era. Visiting is moderately interesting from a historical perspective, but there is a dearth of educational information and no staff on hand to answer questions.
Silver deposits were discovered around Elkhorn in 1870 and a mine opened in 1875. Over the next twenty years the mine produced millions of ounces of silver and lead and thousands of ounces of gold. At the mine’s peak operation, the town had a population of about 2,500. As the metal deposits diminished, the town’s population slowly moved away. Elkhorn’s population was also hit hard by a difficult winter and diphtheria epidemic in the 1889.
Montana maintains two historic meeting halls in town, Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall. They are basic, unfurnished buildings. Additional structures can be seen via a short drive around the town but most are privately owned and not open to the public. It should be pointed out that people still live in Elkhorn and have built modern residences, which diminishes the ghost town experience. A few miles from town up a small hill, a road leads to an old cemetery with historic tombstones.
If you are in the area, such as driving north or south on Interstate 15 and enjoy ghost towns and historic structures, Elkhorn is worth a brief stop. However, if time is limited, it can be skipped without regret. Given limited attractions and information, the town won’t hold much interest for a general audience or for kids.
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