Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bannack State Park

Ever since I spent four years of my life in the Spori building at BYU-Idaho and saw beautiful framed photos students took at Bannack State Park lining the halls, I've wanted to go there -- and in June 2012, I finally made the trip. If you want to experience an eerie ghost town the way it was meant to be experienced, Bannack is for you. It's out in the middle of nowhere (seriously -- the area around it is sagebrush and farmland), and then suddenly, you come down the little dirt road and encounter a full town, just as it would have looked in the 1870s.

Don't miss:
  • The Masonic lodge (pictured three from the bottom). It's creepy, full of old desks and school equipment and can only be accessed (the top floor, anyway) by rickety old stairs. What's not to love?
  • Hotel Meade: This old hotel was recently restored and painted with butter yellow paint that was popular in the 1800s -- and it has an incredible staircase. I was totally freaked out while walking around in it, though. It made me think of the creepy short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." Anybody remember that?
  • The gold panning tubs. Apparently during Bannack Days in July, you can pan for gold and take part in quite a few old-fashioned activities, which sounds like fun. We were there about a month too early, and it was FREEZING, so I recommend going later in the summer. But either way, the gold panning tubs are cool and make a nice picture.
Getting there: 
From Idaho, take I-15 north toward Butte and turn left on MT-278. Bannack is about three hours from St. Anthony and 25 miles west of Dillon, Montana.

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