the mine and town of vulture arizona anyox copper and smelter african diamonds of kolmanskop leechtown bc midas gold mine harrison gulch utah potholes gold

Main Listing Page

The Mines Of Maiden Montana

It was back in the spring of 1880 that a couple of prospectors, Joe Anderson and David Jones happened to come across a showing of gold in the Judith mountians, not far from present day Lewistown Montana. A couple of months later the two men returned but this time they brought along a few others prospectors to help out mining some of the gold.

These men found good paying gold quantities in an area known as Alpine gulch and several claims were then staked. A place called Warm Springs gulch was the next discovery and this area was close to where the town of Maiden would end up being located. A few days after, the discovery of Maiden was discovered by one of the prospectors named Frank McPartlan.

Like most old mine camps in history it's always the placer gold that located first mostly because it's the easiest type of gold to mine. A man needed nothing more than a shovel and gold pan to get started and this mine camp was no different. However it didn't take long for gold on some of the creeks to peter out and that is when the miners started looking for hard rock deposits. Miners Anderson and Jones discovered the first quartz deposit in the district. This deposit became known as the War Eagle mine. Soon there were a couple of other mines, the Spotted Horse, the Maginnis mine and the Collar Mine, were discovered. These three mines ended up being some of the best known properties in the disctrict. The ore in the Spotted Horse became well known it's pockets of high grade gold. It is said that over $5,000,000 in gold was taken from these three mines.

The first building in the townsite of Maiden was erected in June, 1881, a log structure was built by Pike Landusky. If you haven't heard the story of Pike Landusky, you can watch my Zortman Montana video. I'll leave a link in the description box below as well as link at the end of this video. In 1882, a post office in Maiden opened, and Maiden was destined to become the largest town of the Judith Mountain gold strike, hitting its peak in 1886 with about 1,200 people. The Maiden Post Office continued until 1921.

Of course with three mines opening up at almost the same time, there was a rush of both miners and merchants looking to cash in. But there was a problem. You had Miners looking for work and merchants looking to set up shop and there was no town so when folks came here it was kind of a free for all. The townsite was never surveyed so people just set up and started building whatever and wherever they wanted. Within a year in 1882, the town had several businesses. There were a couple of general stores, and dry good goods store, a blacksmith shop, a clothing store, a doctor and an lawyer, a hotel and a couple of resturants along with numerous saloons. By 1883 Maiden boasted 154 buildings and was still growing with a population of around 1,200 and the town even had a brewery.

This was a mining town that could be the envy of many due to the fact that just a short distant away there was good grazing land where cattle could be raised and gardens could be grown, so the town always had fresh produce unlike some of the mine camps we read about in places like Arizona.

Remember how I mentioned that nothing in this town was ever surveyed? Well in 1883 it was discovered that the entire town was located within the Fort McGinnis military reservation, and at that point the government ordered everyone to leave. However a compromise was eventually reached with the government where as the military reservation was reduced to exclude the town.

One of the first mines to go into production was th Collar Mine. The two men who discovered this mine were quick to sell out to a groupd of investors. These investors got to work right away with putting in a road and getting amills set up. and essential buildings to accommodate workers. However once they started mining and milling, they only lasted a week or so and the mine was shut down. Turns out the mill they built could not handle the types of of ore they were mining and all the gold and silver was almost entirely lost. This venture had already cost the investors around $125,000 and also left debts for wages, and supplies and none of the investors wanted to pony up any more cash.

The other mine of note was the Spotted Horse mine. This mine had high grade gold and padiwell at first however the two partners who were good prospectors but not efficient miners. These two men were running waste rock with good ore and not doing a good job of grinding the ores either soon ran out of money. Then a man named McAdow and and another man aquired the the Spotted Horse mine and also bought the Collar mine for a mere $1500. According to his own statement, the Spotted Horse Mine made two million dollars.

One of the other mines in the district was the Maginniss Mine. Joe Anderson who was one of he first people to find this mine ave up his rights to the property due to lack of funds. A man named JohnnyKemper then found a small outcrop of hi grade gold ore - two ton of which netted $3,000.00 for a two ton sample. A company called Hause and Holter heard about his rich two ton sample and invested in the property and built a 10 stamp mill. These gguys operrated the mine for several years showing a healthy profit. Once the high grade gold was depleted the company sold the property to a man named Bill Burgess who basically went broke trying to mine the remaining ore. Having bitter feelings about his loses, he jumped the bordering claim which caused friction between these mine owners. When the new jumped miner came to try to boot Williams from his property, Williams shot and killed him instantly. After that the Maginniss mine became a whose who of ownerships and leasors with several parties coming and going but none of them really making any profits for their efforts.

Then in 1909 a group of investors along with a new graduate mining engineer took over the mine. These new miners found a small vein that opened up into a huge ore body. It is said that the mill pounded out ores grading over $1100 per ton, 24 hours a day for almost two weeks. Like so many desposits, this one also just petered out.

Because of the lower grade ores and smaller deposits, most of the mines closed down and by 1900 the population had dwindled from around 1200 to a few hundred residents. In 1905 a fire destroyed most of the business district and only a few businesses were rebuilt. The last saloon closed around 1918, the post office in 1921, and the school a few years later. In 1927 another fire destroyed the last buildings along with the assay office.