Kendall Ghost Town of the Month

Kendall The ghost town of Kendall was situated in the North Moccasin Mountains in Fergus County near Lewistown,  Montana.  The highest peak in the range is 5,800 feet.   The town of Kendall contains several significant remains; a  general store, crumbled foundations of a town that once was, and the foundation of a two story building that served  as the town bank.  The thick walled bank vault still stands in the center of the building.

Kendall was once a vibrant gold mining town.  In 1901, the town had several dwellings, a miner’s union hall, a  saloon and a restaurant.  Another building held two stagecoach loads of prostitutes who arrived before most of the  businesses.  Three months later two more saloons were in business along with a livery stable and a general store.  Not much later the town was booming with hotels, a butcher, a tailor, a restaurant, an assay office and a  photographic gallery.  It didn’t take long for Kendall to rival nearly Lewistown in size and to produce its own  newspaper, the Kendall Chronicle.  In 1907, a Presbyterian church was built.  At its peak the town is thought to  have a population of ~1500 and its mines created between $9 and $15 million in gold.  When the mine folded in  1920 the town disappeared but the gold remained.

In the early boom high quality ore was found that produced significant gold.  The ore played out and the techniques for extraction made mining a losing proposition. By the 1980’s new techniques were being used allowing for profitability for corporations.  Between 1987 to 1996 the Kendall mine produced 9 million tones of ore that yielded 300,000 ounces of gold and 135,000 ounces of silver.   Sadly cyanide was used to process the ore and lead to massive environmental damage.  The areas ranchers sued to protect their waters and the mine closed, the corporation went out of business, and Montana has been paying for cleanup expenses.

In 1998 Montana voters used the initiative process to ban the use of cyanide for mining; the refining process that was first developed in the state.

Currently Kendall is being maintained by the Boy Scouts whose camp is nearby.