Date of Award

Spring 1949

Document Type





Montana was to its founders a synonym of romance and hardship; Montana is to its later generations a land of riches and opportunity uncovered and exploited by the hardy men who braved the stat's terrible winders, its hostile Indians, its uncharted wilderness, in search of the riches that were to make Montana the hub of fantastic hordes of gold seekers from the time of the first discoveries in the 1860's until the turn of the century. In these years were the turbulent days of Montana history.

This thesis cannot tell the entire story of those drama-filled forty-odd years. It can tell, in general, which what swiftness the strikes cam following the first discovery; the riches that were extracted from the earth during those boom years; it can trace, more specifically, the rise of thriving settlements around the city that was called in 1900, the richest little city in the world, namely Helena, and the subsequent decline and disappearance of those very towns which had grown up so quickly.

Because nothing short of a large volume could set down the complete record of this period, this thesis will attempt to trace the rise and decline of the gold era, to propound some of the reasons for the latter, and to exemplify both by tracing the history of some of the now merely extant towns in the Mining district that mad Helena "the queen city of the Rockies."