After lunch up in the mountains we decided to go scope out Granite. A ghost town and "state park" (in air quotes, you'll understand more later) that is outside of Philipsburg. Since it is a "state park" you'd think finding it wouldn't be nearly as difficult as it is and BOY WAS IT! However, there is a reason that it isn't signed well! The 4 miles UP the mountain (and it is freaking way up there) is single lane dirt trail (rather single dirt track) with limited pullouts and is signed to yield to uphill traffic. It took me summoning up my courage to get the big bad Ram (aptly named Bertha) up that mountain trail AND it took 4WD to do it! A smaller high clearance 4WD would have been a little less harrowing. I believe in my heart the only reason it is designated a state park is to own the land and the fact that they went up there "in the day" and put in signs.
That said it was really interesting but Kent and I agreed not really worth the drive as it is spread out all over the side of the mountain (unless you have a really nice day and time/energy to walk around). I took photos of the interpretive signs so you can learn about it there and will link more information at the end. I would NOT make this a "destination" but as we were in the area we went anyway.
We did not take the road up to the mine. Didn't feel like walking it and the road was way too bad for driving it, so I took these photos on the way down the mountain from town.
Photo below courtesy Western Mining History website - Granite ca. 1900. The website also says (and go check out the link it has a great bit of information on the town):
"This was the richest silver mine on the earth, and it might never have been discovered if a telegram from the east hadn't been delayed. The mine's backers thought the venture was hopeless and ordered an end to its operation, but since that message was delayed the miners continued working, and the last blast on the last shift uncovered a bonanza which yielded $40,000,000.
In the silver panic of 1893, word came to shut the mine down. The mine was deserted for three years, never again would it reach the population it once had of 3,000 miners."
In the photo below that two story building mid picture built back IN to the mountain was the miners hall that still stands. I'd suspect this was taken from the side where the mine actually was.
The tramway was kinda interesting actually. I've never heard or seen anything like this in any other ghost town in MT that I've visited! For more information here is the link to the Visit Montana page. I'd also suggest going to the Granite County Museum in Philipsburg to learn more about mining in the area. We didn't make it there but will plan to next time as well as stopping at the Montana Law Enforcement Museum also in Philipsburg!