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Helena Mining Camp


HELENA MINING CAMP. In September 1864 John Cowan and Robert Stanley, after spending the summer in unsuccessful prospecting, discovered gold at Last Chance Gulch, Prickly Pear Valley, thus opening the Helena Mining Camp, the most productive in Montana. Gold seekers from Bannack, Alder Gulch, and elsewhere hurried to the new diggings, which soon adopted the name Helena; the district became known as Rattlesnake. Red Mountain, Ten Mile, and Unionville also produced large quantities of gold. On Silver Creek, Thomas Cruse developed the Drum Lummon mine, which he sold in 1882 for $1.5 million. As prospectors exhausted the placer mines, quartz mining developed, and silver and lead became important.


Malone, Michael P. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.

Smith, Duane A. Rocky Mountain West: Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, 1859–1915. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Paul C.Phillips/a. e.

See alsoGold Mines and Mining ; Lead Industry ; Mining Towns ; Montana ; Prospectors ; Silver Prospecting and Mining .

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