Friday, May 3, 2013

Bannack State Park

About a week ago I mustered up the nerve to go down to Bannack State Park. One, it's quite the drive, and while adventures are fun, striking out such a distance on one's own can be a bit daunting. More importantly though, this is a ghost town which is preserved by the state. The site is supposed to be haunted, so I would have been happy to have a little company. I had been talking to some friends and was under the impression that there were some park personnel around at least. Not so when I showed up. Deserted. Not a soul in sight. Just as spine tingling spooky as I thought it would be.

An entirely deserted ghost town is great for atmosphere, but not so great for steady photographs. I will admit to sticking close to the main street. You can walk around back and view even more buildings, but I didn't feel comfortable doing so. Also, I was confused as to whether the place was open or not. (It's technically not until Mid-May.) Some buildings were locked up tight and some had their doors wide open. That was not helping my nerves any either.  No, I did not fall for the invitation and walk into those empty buildings. A) Not sure I was supposed to. B) Didn't know who had left the door open.  Ghosts or humans?  Either way, I wasn't about to satisfy my curiosity.  I figured some things are better left alone.

I really liked the decorational piece above the door on this house.  I had trouble identfying the property using the guide book, though.  I think it is the site where the first governor's mansion was.  However, I don't believe this is that house.  The guide book states that the governor's mansion burned down and the governor and his wife spent the rest of their stay in Montana in a small sod roofed building.  That building is still present behind this one.

This is the masonic building / school house.  The plaque above the door states that the Masonic hall is on the 2nd floor and the school is on the first.

This is one of the more striking buildings in Bannack.  Before it became the Meade Hotel, it was the courthouse.  Apparently it is haunted, but I didn't spot anything.

You can find out more about Bannack State Park at the following links:

Welcome to Bannack State Park

Legends of America - Bannack

View Larger Map


Hilary said...

Oh I'd love to have a wander through there with you. What a great pair of buildings. It would be rather unnerving to be there alone though. You're brave. :)

VM Sehy Photography said...

Hilary thank you for the awesome comment. I think we'd have fun wandering through this park. It was kind of unsettling to be down there alone. Eventually a few more families showed up and I had some company of sorts. I did go wandering back by that sod house. Found an old door with a cool latch, but the door kept shaking while I was photographing it. Now the wind was blowing a bit and the door wasn't quite even with the jamb, but it was padlocked shut, so my imagination got the better of me. I decided to head to more open spaces. It was a cool place to visit. I don't think I'll go alone next time.

She Who Carries Camera said...

Well, at least it was a sunny day. I can't even imagine being there on a stormy day. You've got guts!! So, did you run into anyone else at all? How far away from civilization is this?

She Who Carries Camera said...

Oops...just read that you did see other people.

VM Sehy Photography said...

Thank you for the insightful comment Jill. I don't think I would have been able to hang around on an overcast day. Not going out there at night either:) I did see some other people. When I first got there, it was completely empty. A couple of families showed up near the end of my visit, so about 8 people were floating around. Also at the end of the street and up the road a bit I saw some trucks and stuff, so I think the parks department was out and about. It was hard to tell what the markings on the trucks were. There's an RV park near the entrance and there was someone camping there. It's not completely isolated like some ghost towns. You don't need a jeep to get to it. Bannack State Park is surrounded mostly by ranches. Saw lots of sheep. It's about 25 miles from Dillon - I think that was South, but I can't remember for sure. Dillon was a larger town then I expected, so there's gas and places to eat nearby. The way the park is nestled into the hills gives the impression of being smack dab in the middle of nowhere. It's kind of cool and probably helped the town remain in tact before it became a state park. Without knowing where you were going, you wouldn't come across it and the hills protect from some of the elements I'm sure. The state turned it into a park to keep the graffiti from destroying the town, so someone did know where it was. Still, this town was thriving in the late 1800s and didn't get turned into a park until the mid 1950s, so that's 50 years of getting by without any protection. Not too shabby.

VM Sehy Photography said...
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Barbara said...

I love all of those old buildings!!

VM Sehy Photography said...

Barbara - Thank you for the comment. I love old buildings too. I'm entertaining the idea of going back when they have events there, so that there are people around. I'm not going into abandonded buildings without someonelse nearby. A)I'm a tad leary of ghosts although I'm not sure I really believe in them. B)Just in case these buildings aren't as solid as they seem, I'd like to have someone around if a floor collapses or the stairs fall out from underneath me. Hate to injure myself and have no one around to help. I'm also hoping that maybe my husband and son might come with me sometime. We'll see. I would definitely like some interior shots to add to my collection.