Unquiet Spirits – Bannack Ghost Town

Remote Montana (Bannack)

OK – so I’ll admit it – I learned of this place from “Ghost Adventures” – and so did another couple I met there. Paranormal investigations seem to turn up a lot of history in the process, even if the ghosts are elusive.


Gold was discovered along the banks of the nearby Grasshopper Creek, and miners moved in. Shortly thereafter, all the usual hangers-on followed suit; meaning saloon keepers, shady ladies, card sharps. All of those people who turned their eye to a quick (often lethal) buck. By all accounts, the early days were rough, the sheriff  corrupt (another story there), and vigilante justice ran unchecked. In typical western fashion, “decent women” moving in meant the town cleaned up a measure. Judging by the buildings left behind, it was a prosperous town for quite some time.

Happily, this site is a Montana State Park and the entrance fee for non-Montana cars is $6. The nearest town is Dillon, Montana which is a great place to stop for lunch. The remote location of Bannack probably contributed in helping preserve the buildings intact.  The park is maintained in arrested decay, and most of the buildings can be entered. Spring for the guide for a paltry $2 – it will make all the difference to your visit. It is a nice blend of building information combined with the social history of the town.

On to my passion: buildings!

For me, the most impressive building is the Meade Hotel, which served as the courthouse before it became a hotel. Beautiful interior with gorgeous windows. My friend who joined me in exploring got “odd feelings” in the back staircase, and quickly returned to the second floor! Being the intrepid soul that I am, I blithely continued on. No idea what that was about (laughing). Ghost Adventures anyone???

Bannack Masonic Lodge 2

School house on the first floor, Masonic Lodge on the second. Use the outside staircase to reach the second floor, which is sealed off by glass so that items don’t go missing!

Bannack Montana

Methodist church and some houses. Inside the entrance is a receptacle for  guns to be deposited before entering the church. Wish I had taken a picture of that!

Bannack Montana

Meade Hotel – formerly the court building. Beautiful. Quite posh for the time.

Bannack Montana

Old wagon and building surrounded by sweet sagebrush

Bannack Ghost Town

Interior of the Meade Hotel – main door. Gorgeous Entrance

Bannack Montana

Strange interior window. Perhaps a former outside wall, but I doubt it. This kind of window was common in brothels (just saying…)