Bannack, Montana

Bannack Historic District
Bannack, Montana (25064171061).jpg
Main street in Bannack
Bannack, Montana is located in Montana
Bannack, Montana
Bannack, Montana is located in the United States
Bannack, Montana
LocationBeaverhead County, Montana
Nearest cityDillon, Montana
Coordinates45°09′40″N 112°59′44″W / 45°09′40″N 112°59′44″W / 66000426
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDJuly 4, 1961[1]

Bannack is a ghost town in Beaverhead County, Montana, United States, located on Grasshopper Creek, approximately 11 miles (18 km) upstream from where Grasshopper Creek joins with the Beaverhead River south of Dillon. Founded in 1862, the town contemporarily operates as a National Historic Landmark and is managed by the state of Montana as Bannack State Park.[2]

History

Founded in 1862 and named after the local Bannock Indians, it was the site of a major gold discovery in 1862, and served as the capital of Montana Territory briefly in 1864, until the capital was moved to Virginia City. Bannack continued as a mining town, though with a dwindling population. The last residents left in the 1970s.

At its peak, Bannack had a population of about ten thousand. Extremely remote, it was connected to the rest of the world only by the Montana Trail. There were three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, two meat markets, a grocery store, a restaurant, a brewery, a billiard hall, and four saloons. Though all of the businesses were built of logs, some had decorative false fronts.

Among the town's founders was Dr. Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, a physician born in Cornish, New Hampshire, who gave up medicine for a time to become a gold miner. Dr. Leavitt arrived in Bannack in 1862, and alternately practiced medicine and mined for gold with pick and shovel. "Though some success crowned his labors," according to a history of Montana by Joaquin Miller, "he soon found that he had more reputation as a physician than as a miner, and that there was greater profit in allowing someone else to wield his pick and shovel while he attended to his profession." Subsequently, Dr. Leavitt moved on to Butte, Montana, where he devoted the rest of his life to his medical practice [3]

Bannack's sheriff, Henry Plummer, was accused by some of secretly leading a ruthless band of road agents, with early accounts claiming that this gang was responsible for over a hundred murders in the Virginia City and Bannack gold fields and trails to Salt Lake City. However, because only eight deaths are historically documented, some modern historians have called into question the exact nature of Plummer's gang, while others deny the existence of the gang altogether. In any case, Plummer and two compatriots, both deputies, were hanged, without trial, at Bannack on January 10, 1864. A number of Plummer's associates were lynched and others banished on pain of death if they ever returned. Twenty-two individuals were accused, informally tried, and hanged by the Vigilance Committee (the Montana Vigilantes) of Bannack and Virginia City.[4] Nathaniel Pitt Langford, the first superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, was a member of that vigilance committee.[5]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Banak
català: Bannack
eesti: Bannack
français: Bannack
italiano: Bannack
Nederlands: Bannack
polski: Bannack
português: Bannack
Simple English: Bannack, Montana