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Old Chico, Montana Ghost Town of the Month

In 1863 gold was discovered in the area of Chico, Montana. Mining began in the spring of 1864 where the miners worked in the area and lived in a settlement called Yellowstone City.   In 1865, the city was abandoned due to harassment by Crow Indians. After Yellowstone City’s fall, a new settlement was built at Chico.  This settlement was closer to Emigrant Gulch and the mining activity. The population in 1874 was 300.  As time went on a school, general store, and boarding house were constructed. Most notable was the lack of a saloon!

As the threats from the Crow Indians subsided houses were built further up Emigrant Gulch. The St. Julian mine opened in 1887. Ore from this mine assayed out at $360 in gold and $40 in silver per ton of ore. In the late 1890’s a 10 stamp mill was built and in 1904 a 12 stamp mill was built and had a Blake Crusher and 6 Frue Venners.

The majority of gold found in Chico was placer gold. Mining continued from 1901-1942.  A 70 ton Bucyrus steam shovel worked the lower placer ground. A second shovel was added in 1912 and they continued mining this way until 1932.  An electric dredge was build in 1940 by the Emigrant Mining Company.  The dredge recovered 4,342 oz of gold until the mining was stopped by WWII.  After the war mining resumed but was never profitable and stopped in 1946.  There are 15 year round residents in Old Chico with the popular Chico Hot Springs Resort less then 5 miles away.