Mondak, Montana Ghost Town of the Month

It’s hard to find a ghost town that didn’t meet that fate as a result of mining; until I stumbled upon Mondak, MT.  This town located in Roosevelt County flourished between 1903-1919 in large part by selling alcohol to residents of North Dakota.   The town name of Mondak comes from joining the two states. The town was created in 1903 by some local investors who saw and acted upon the opportunity make a killing selling beer and alcohol to the residents of North Dakota.  North Dakota was one of the first states go dry.  The residents could not buy alcohol in the state but nothing said they couldn’t drink it.  Mondak took full advantage of their location and catered to thirsty North Dakotans.  The town quickly thrived due to its location on the Missouri River and the proximity to the Great Northern Railway.

Construction began in 1904 and soon there was two hotels, three general stores, several grain elevators, and a bank. A few years later there was a church, a school, a local newspaper, and at its peak there was seven saloons, and warehouses to store alcohol.

The crime rate was very high for a town of this size and was known to have a dangerous red light district.  Gambling and prostitution were never legal but a blind eye was turned. The towns prosperity was short-lived. In 1916 a fire destroyed several saloons, a warehouse and damaged a hotel and general store.  Then in 1919 Montana instituted prohibition.