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Deer Lodge
Deer Lodge


Contact for more information:
Powell Country Chamber of Commerce
1171 Main Street
Deer Lodge, MT 59722-1497
Phone: 406-846-2094
Website: http://www.powellcountymontana.com
Email: chamber@powellcountymontana.com

Deer Lodge Valley is a meadowland surrounded on the east and the west by mountain ranges. These foothills contain isolated mineral deposits. In the 1850s Deer Lodge was a trading and trapping center, and mountain men and Indians frequented this land. Deer Lodge earned its name by a sedimentary cone that built up, almost 40 feet high. A thermal spring existed and gave off large amounts of vapor. From a distance the cone and vapor resembled an Indian lodge with smoke coming out. Deer often came to the area for grazing; therefore, it was named Deer Lodge. Here’s an early mining town that didn’t die, but turned to other pursuits. When the first strikes on Gold Creek started the excitement during the 1860s this camp was known as Cottonwood, LaBarge, and Spanish Forks. Investors began building mills to extract the silver and gold from the quartz. One such builder was named William Andrews Clark, who became one of the three richest men in Montana. During the 1880s the mines became one of the world’s greatest copper producers. W. A. Clark built his home in the 60s in Deer Lodge at what is now 311 Clark Avenue.

In the 1850s Johnny Grant settled in the Deer Lodge Valley and established what was to become one of the largest ranching operations in the country. The Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1883 and Deer Lodge was the end of the line for immigrants heading west.

Relive history in Deer Lodge. This western town is nestled in a broad valley between the Continental Divide and the Flint Creek Mountain Range. More museums and historical collections can be found here than in any other town in the Northwest. In the summer, a free, horse-drawn trolley will carry you from site to site throughout the town. You’ll enjoy restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, gift shops and all the amenities in the historical ambiance of Deer Lodge.

Visit the Old Montana Prison, selected as the site for the Montana Territorial Prison. Built by convict labor, it opened its doors in 1871 and was in use until 1979. Guided and self-guided tours lead visitors beyond the gray stone wall and towers through the now unused prison with its four-tiered cell block, gothic facade and huge prison yard. It remains a favorite location. Deerlodge is also the site of the Montana Law Enforcement Museum.

The Montana Auto Museum is a unique museum with interpretive exhibits and over 120 antique cars on display, it’s a must-see that will take you down memory lane. Vintage camping vehicles include a very rare motor home built by Pierce Arrow in 1928.

Don't miss the Frontier Montana Museum, which has the best display of cowboy collectibles between Cody and Calgary. See the guns, spurs, chaps, reatas and all the rest. Then tour Desert John’s Saloon, a unique whiskey memorabilia collection. Powell County Museum, also has extansive collections, including guns, slot machines, and juke boxes.

Take a trip to Grant-Kohrs Ranch. Once the home of one of Montana’s largest cattle barons, the ranch remained in the original family’s hands until the National Park Service took over the operation. The original furnishings are in the house, the barns are full of the horse-drawn equipment used in the 1800s. A uniquely well-preserved slice of western history on the north end of Deer Lodge.

Enjoy picknicking, catch-and-release fishing, and wildlife viewing at Warm Springs Ponds. Other activities and guided services for this area include ranch vacations, visiting old mining camps, hiking, hunting, fishing, golf, and snowmobiling.

 


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