East from the town of Philipsburg is the road to Granite. This narrow road climbs to 1,280 feet in elevation. The road is steep and winding, opening to the deserted camps. A vehicle with good clearance is recommended as the road can be considered a white knuckle ride. The park is scenic and worthy for the photographing of this historic area. The state park preserves the Granite Mine Superintendent’s house in the Historic American Buildings Survey along with the old miner’s union hall.
The history of this ghost town begins in 1865 with a man by the name of Hector Horton. He was the first prospector to find silver. In the fall of 1872 a man named Eli Holland claimed the mine and relocated it. This mine almost went undiscovered when a telegram from back east was delayed. The telegram ordered the miners to pull out of operations and leave the mine. And as the story goes, it was that final blast in which Granite was deemed the richest silver mine on earth to the eye -opening amount of $40,000,000.
1879 with Charles McLure who found a piece of high grade “ruby” silver ore in the Granite Mind shaft. His ambition and steadfastness made him move quickly to purchase a lease and option on the claim for 30,000 dollars. When Granite was in full bloom, it formed a modern community with a hospital and school as well as 18 saloons, a thriving brothel, churches and the Miner’s Union Hall. The streets were named and several homes existed for the prosperous inhabitants. Remnants of the old miner’s union hall remain, once reported to be the “Northwest’s Finest Dance Floor.” The famous building was a popular community center point for the community of Granite. On the second floor where the dancing began, so did vaudeville and melodramas. The auditorium packed a full house to entertainment. On the first floor the club had a pool parlor along with a library. The spirit of the town remains in the shell of the Old Miner’s Hall which can be seen in Granite Ghost Town. The third and second floors have collapsed, the roof is caved, and the first floor club and café are near the end.
Ranking eleventh in size of Montana Cities, Granite was part of Deer Lodge County until 1893 when Granite County was incorporated. Also in 1893, The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed. Silver prices dropped down and the mine was closed on the morning of August 1, 1893. In a swift move, the majority of people left Granite leaving behind much of their worldly possessions. One year later Granite had a population of only 140 people.
The park is open from May to September. To access the ghost town, enter Philipsburg until a flashing light and stop sign appear (middle of Philipsburg). Take a right, drive past the railroad trestle and then go left. This dirt road will continue for a mile. The sign for the ghost town appears. Take a right. Granite Ghost Town State Park is approximately 4 miles from Philipsburg.