Georgetown Lake Camping #5 - Kirkville Ghost Town

October 25, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

So after that harrowing drive up and down the mountain we took a quick turn at the bottom and ended up down at Kirkville which honestly, while Granite was interesting and probably would be more so if we'd made it to the actual mine, THIS was really cool and so much fun for photgraphing.    

Here's some of the skinny on Kirkville from the Ghost Towns and History of MT website:

The old company town of Kirkville, later known as Clark, lies along Douglas Creek a mile south of Philipsburg. In 1889 the BiMetallic (remember you saw that name up at the tramway in the last blog post), a 50-stamp mill, was built here because of insufficient water resources to run a larger mill at nearby Granite. Just two years later, 50 more stamps were added to the original structure which gave a 200 ton capacity. The mill was over 360 feet long and 150 feet wide. The mine and mill employed 500 workers.

​     Kirkville was connected to the Blaine Shaft in Granite by a two mile long tramway. Large buckets could carry 500 pounds of ore down the mountain to Kirkville and carry fuel back up. A 4,307 pound bar of silver bullion from the Bimetallic was sent to the World’s Fair at Chicago in 1893. This was a good representation of the area’s riches.

​     Dropping silver prices meant sure doom for most mining operations. However the downtime didn’t last long as the Bimetallic and Granite Mountain Mining Operations combined in 1898 to form one of the largest silver mines in the world, producing a million dollars of bullion a year.

​     Kirkville was mostly home to local miners and the population peaked at 125 and was home to many cabins, a boarding house, assay office and company offices. The U.S. Forest Service set fire to the mill in 1967 for safety reasons. The twin chimneys and stone portions of the massive structure survived. The company houses, assay office, retort building and boarding house also remain as a testament to the town’s past.

Now, here are some of my photos....

Photo below was what it all originally looked like (courtesy of the westernmininghistory.com website).  

The Bimetallic mill at Philipsburg, Montana was built in 1888.
"The 50-stamp mill, 150 feet wide by 367 feet long, was rated at 75 tons with the capacity to add more stamps later."
The ruins of the mill can still be seen south of Philipsburg.

No photo description available.

These were what I call "not a dormer".  You could tell there wasn't floor but rather the roof rafters running through these.  My only guess is they put them on for light and then just took off the roofing in those areas.


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