Dillon 2019

Adventures in Preservation – Bannack Ghost Town Post Flood Preservation

A week-long workshop to teach participants how to analyze, make, and apply mortar and daubing mixes to historic buildings will be offered at Bannack State Park in partnership with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Workshop participants will repair buildings damaged by the flood in 2013.

In 1862, John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. By 1864, Bannack was named the first Territorial Capital of Montana. The population peaked at approximately 3,000 people in the spring of 1863, with as many as 2,000 more people living down the creek. But, by the 1950s, most people had moved away from Bannack, and during that same decade, the town become a state park.

On July 17, 2013, a flood washed through the park and damaged it. Much of that damage has been repaired, and future floods have been mitigated with a detention basin. Some damage remains, however, and a $5,000 grant will provide a hands-on preservation project at the ghost town. Through a one-week workshop, volunteers taught by Jeffrey MacDonald will receive hands-on training on how to analyze, make, and apply historic mortar and daubing mixes.

Colorado-based nonprofit Adventures in Preservation is partnering with Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and the University of Montana to make this volunteer heritage tourism experience a reality.