Founded in 1862, Bannack Montana is now a ghost town and State Park. It served briefly as the capital of Montana territory in 1864 and is now maintaned by the State as one of the best preserved examples of life for the early residents of Montana. Most of the historic log homes, businesses and churches in Bannack are open to be explored by visitors. The town is at the end of a scenic auto tour that passes the Sula Wildlife area and Big Hole National Battleground. After the battle Nez Pierce indians camped near the town on their escape.
Over 50 historical buildings and homes still stand that once housed the 3000 residents of Bannack. Bannack had the first Montana jail, Masonic Lodge, hard rock mine, electric gold dredge, guartz stamp mill and commercial sawmill.
Most of the buildings in Bannack are open to the public to explore. Old spiral staircases in the Hotel Meade and iron strongclosets are still present in this local landmark. The old school house with student desks and an antique playground is in the 1st floor of the Masonic Temple. Upstairs the Freemasons still maintain an active chapter in this historic town.
Purchased by Dr. John Singleton, the Hotel Meade was turned into a plush hotel. It was the center of Bannack social activity and temporary home of many Montana travelers. When the Nez Pierce indians camped nearby after the Big Hole Battle, scared local residents took shelter inside the brick walls of the hotel where extra food water and bedding was assmbled. When General Howard and his troops arrived the Indians had already left.
The infamous sheriff of Bannack, Henry Plumber, was secretly the leader of a gang of theives, robbers and murderers ironically called "The Innocents". These men weere said to have murdered over 102 mean and robbed countless others. Tired of the constant assault of these ruthless men, a group of Vigilantes hanged Henry Plumber and many of his gang from the very gallows Plumber built to hang horse theives in Bannack.
Additional Tourism info can be found at the Bannack State Park Site. Montana residents can tour for free. Out of state residents must pay a minimal $5 fee which includes a historical pamphlet to guide you through the history the town and each of its buildings.