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The Inn at Philipsburg & RV Park

Southwest Montana Motel
RV ParkTent Camping

The Inn at Philipsburg
& RV Park

Southwest Montana
MotelRV Park
Tent Camping

East Broadway ✯ Kaiser Hotel & Morse Hall Philip & Matilda Deidesheimer ✯ Kroeger Family Philipsburg's Semi-weekly Silver Bouillon Shipment Bi-Metallic 100-Stamp Mill Built in 1888 ✯ Kirkville Ghost Town Today Hope Mill Built in 1867 ✯ Largest Quartz Mill in Montana Philipsburg circa 1915 ✯ Kroger Brewery Ice Wagon Crew Opening Day 1896 ✯ Philipsburg Elementary ✯ Montana's Oldest Operating school Trout Mill Manganese Ore ✯ World War I Production Horton Mine Manganese Miners

History of Philipsburg on Display

Southwest Montana
History of Philipsburg
on Display
Southwest Montana

Philipsburg is the of the spectacular Flint Creek Valley on the Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway (Montana Highway 1) halfway between Anaconda and Drummond, as well as, halfway between Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks. This historic mining town calls to mind a time gone by with late 19TH century architecture throughout the town, quaint Mom & Pop shops, pubs & taverns, treasure hunters, a Victorian confectionary, and a craft brewery in the middle of town. Philipsburg’s early-day fortunes ebbed and flowed with mining. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Philipsburg is one of Montana’s best preserved late-19TH century mining towns with commercial, public, and private buildings dating from the boom period of silver mining. Camp Creek Area ✯ Philipsburg 1870 Camp Creek Area Philipsburg 1870

Hector S. Horton discovered quartz mines in the vicinity of Philipsburg in 1865. Word of his discoveries got out and a rush to the "Camp Creek" area occurred the following year. By June of 1866, miners staked claims on many of the important lodes of the area including the Comanche, Hope, Cliff, Franklin, Trout, Gem, Poorman's Joy, and San Francisco lodes. The St. Louis & Montana Mining Company obtained the Hope and Comanche lodes in 1866. The original Hope Mine was located July 1, 1867, in the Granite Mining District by Samuel T. Hauser, Granville Stuart, James Stuart, and several others. Hauser approached the St. Louis and Montana Mining Company with a proposition for the sale of the Hope property. The owners of the claim were to receive St. Louis and Montana Mining Company stock in exchange for their property and the Company was to invest capital to develop the mine. Under this agreement, the St. Louis and Montana Company sent Philip Deidesheimer in 1866 to develop and manage its mines and stamp mills. He designed and built a wagon road to the Hope mine site and erected the 10-stamp Hope Mill—first mill in the district—costing $100,000 to process the ore. The construction of the Hope Mill—oldest quartz mill in Montana—ensured that Philipsburg would continue as a trading hub in the region. The camp settled near the Hope Mill was named Philipsburg after Philip Deidesheimer.

Philipsburg was officially registered as a town in 1867. The town was growing at such an unbelievable rate that it was reported in an August edition of the Montana Post that Philipsburg being "scarcely thirty days old" grows at a "rate of one house a day." By December of the same year, Philipsburg's population grew to about 1500 people. The wooden, false-front buildings on Broadway transformed into masonry structures. Businesses in Philipsburg included six general stores, seven saloons, three blacksmith shops, two breweries, three livery stables, a steam saw mill, a hotel, a newspaper, and a Masonic Hall erected costing $6,000.

Throughout the 1870s, companies built new mills and improved milling processes to treat the rich Philipsburg ores. In 1872, the St. Louis and Montana Company failed to pay either the principal or the interest on its bonded indebtedness for the Hope property. To protect their investment, the bondholders purchased the property and reorganized as the Hope Mining Company.

Much of Philipsburg's prosperity was linked to the development of the rich silver mines approximately four miles southeast located high on a ridge above Philipsburg. Silver was discovered on Granite Mountain in 1875. Development of the Granite Mountain lode started in 1880 when an ore sample assayed at a staggering 2,000 ounces of silver per ton. Tens of millions of dollars worth of silver bullion, ore, and slag shipped semi-weekly to out-of-state markets. The steep terrain necessitated development of mills at Philipsburg to treat ores from the Granite mines with the 100-stamp Bi-Metallic Mill (Kirkville Ghost Town today) being the best example. Philipsburg continued to prosper as the chief settlement in what was one of the nation's top silver districts.

A revival of mining activities from the mid-1880s to mid-1890s led to Philipsburg’s greatest growth. In 1881, the Hope Mining Company made its first really important silver strike. The Hope mine entered a rich new body of ore that greatly increased the output for the next several years. In 1884, the Granite Mountain mines produced increased quantities of ore and the town of Granite was established. The 1880s hard rock mining heyday caused boomtowns to pop up throughout the hills and valleys nearby. Two area saw mills cut upwards of 40 million board feet of lumber from the national forests. Two new hotels, an opera house, a brewery, and two new banks were among the numerous new commercial buildings built during this decade. Philipsburg got it's own newspaper, The Philipsburg Mail in 1887. A railroad spur line was completed to the town in 1887. Placer Hydraulic Sapphire Mining Placer Hydraulic Sapphire Mining

While silver drove the mining efforts in Granite County, its value fluctuated wildly during the town’s first century. In 1887, the Hope Mining Company executed another reorganization that changed the name to the Hope Mining Company of St. Louis. From then until 1901, the operation was almost continually on a paying basis. Good times finally came to an abrupt end with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893. The Hope property survived the disastrous 1893 drop in the price of silver by the discovery of an especially rich vein of ore. In December, 1901, both the mine and the mill were shut down as unprofitable. Philipsburg faced abandonment when the nearby Hope Mill shut down. The following spring, the owners of the Granite-Bimetallic properties purchased the Hope mine and mill. The discovery of sapphire deposits and other minerals stabilized the local economy when silver mining ebbed in 1893. The Granite mines shut down by the end of the year and stood idle until 1898 when some of the larger mines were consolidated and reopened. The Montana Legislature formed Granite County in 1893 with Philipsburg as the County seat.

Silver mining continued into the new century but Philipsburg fell short of the prosperity before the 1893 crash. This changed with the onset of World War I when manganese was suddenly in great demand. Manganese ore became a huge revenue source. By 1917, Philipsburg mines produced and supplied the U.S. government with half of the domestic manganese (the largest quantity) needed during World War I.

After the manganese boom, mining continued around Philipsburg for many decades but ultimately ceased by the 1980s. The town never died though and remains the seat of Granite County. Philipsburg gradually established a stable existence based on ranching, agriculture, government, logging, limited mining, and tourism.

The National Register of Historic Places officially listed Philipsburg properties within the original townsite and selected additions on September 30, 1986. Philipsburg's historic buildings needed help. Many of the historic buildings were in dire need of restoration and renovation. The community stepped up. Planning started for the revitalization and preservation of these historic remnants from the town's period of significance from the late 1870s to 1920. All building and business owners began fixing up their own pieces of history. Lots of hard work and cooperation went into revitalizing the historic buildings.


Sayrs Building ✯ circa 1984
Sayrs Buildingcirca 1984

Sayrs Building

In 1991, the rejuvenation began with local painters restoring the exterior of the Sayrs Building thanks to the local bank. The Sayrs building hosted a thrift shop rent-free courtesy of the local bank. It was one of several bank-owned buildings from a decade of closed mines and shuttered sawmills. Joseph and Mary A. Hyde built the Hyde Block for the Joseph A. Hyde Banking Company in 1888. It housed the First National Bank from 1892 to 1897, then sold to Frank Sayrs in 1904 becoming the Sayrs Building. The corner location in the middle of downtown proved perfect for a future microbrewery. In 2014, the Philipsburg Brewing Company established that award-winning microbrewery. They operate as a self-sustaining brewing company.

Sayrs Building ✯ 2023
Sayrs Building2023


C.T. Huffman ✯ circa 1976
C.T. Huffmancirca 1976

C.T. Huffman

In 1993, owners of the J.K. Merrill building welcomed the H&R Thrift Store on the newly-heated and renovated lower level. The Sapphire Gallery owners renovated the empty, 100+ year-old C.T, Huffman Grocery building and established a sapphire jewelry and gemstone pieces retail operation in 1992.

C.T. Huffman ✯ 2023
C.T. Huffman2023

Courtney Hotel ✯ circa 1983
Courtney Hotelcirca 1983

Courtney Hotel

Built in 1918 during the flush manganese days, the bank-owned Courtney Hotel stood empty, unheated, and a shadow of the former glamorous establishment. In 1993, the local bank donated the Courtney Hotel to a community group for the Granite County Museum & Cultural Center. The museum displays exhibits on the history of the Flint Creek Valley and turn-of-the-century mining and maintains the "Ghost Town Hall of Fame." The Cultural Center hosts all-manner of community events and meetings.

Courtney Hotel ✯ 2021
Courtney Hotel2021

Historic Lighting District
Historic Lighting District

Philipsburg's Historic Lighting District

A ten-year vintage lighting project began in 1994. Vintage, cast iron lampposts designed from modified molds used in nearby towns in the 1890s and cast by AFFCO, an Anaconda foundry, line three blocks of Broadway and two blocks of Sansome to define the Philipsburg Historic Lighting District. From 1994 to 2006, volunteers completed the placement of lights reminiscent of those that lit the walks of Broadway in the first half of the 20TH century. The light standards bear plaques of acknowledgments and memorials. The only triple-lighted standard and first light standard placed occupies the corner of Broadway and Sansome Streets. All 28 lampposts stand tall with donated flag holders, brackets and flower baskets, and lighted wreaths hung for the holidays. Local businesses volunteer the watering and care of the flowers, flags, and holiday wreaths.


Red Cross Drug

C.T. Huffman built the Red Cross Drug Company building in 1912 as an extension to the grocery operation. In 1995, the owners of The Sapphire Gallery completed restoration of the Red Cross Drug Company building next door as an indoor gem mining venue—The Sapphire Gallery Mining Room. Visitors purchase gravel by the bag, wash the gravel, and search for gems indoors—rain, snow or shine treasure hunting.

Red Cross Drug ✯ 2023
Red Cross Drug2023

U.S. Post Office ✯ 2005
U.S. Post Office2005

U.S. Post Office & Local Bank

In 1998, citizens lobbied federal officials to keep the U.S. Post Office downtown and the USPS constructed a new facility. The brick exteriors of the post office and newly remodeled local bank fit the town’s National Historic District aesthetic.

Flint Creek Valley Bank ✯ 2013
Flint Creek Valley Bank2013

Walker Commercial ✯ 1982
Walker Commercial1982

Walker Commercial

The World's Greatest Candy Store, The Sweet Palace, opened in the restored 1890s Walker Commercial Company building as a Victorian confectionary. Visitors come from around the world to sample hand-dipped chocolates, old-fashioned salt water taffy, homemade fudge, hard candies, and the list goes on to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The Sweet Palace ✯ 2013
The Sweet Palace2013

McDonald Opera House ✯ 1980
McDonald Opera House1980

McDonald Opera House

In 1999, the "Opera House Theatre"—Montana's oldest operating theatre —reopened in the McDonald Opera House building with its original seats and great acoustics to bring back live theater and popular music events. In July 1891, Angus A. McDonald and his wife built the two-story McDonald Opera House with a granite foundation, full sod basement, dressing rooms beneath the south end, and plumbing.

In 2019, the McDonald Opera House sold and opened as the Philipsburg Theatre with local businesses sponsoring specialty shows presenting weekly venues that include special events, live music, films, and stage performances.

Opera House Theatre ✯ 2005
Opera House Theatre2005

Morse Hall ✯ 1984
Morse Hall1984

Morse Hall

In 2001, owners completed the renovation of Morse Hall, built by Colonel George W. Morse in 1887. Morse Hall served as a “commodious lecture hall”, Granite County’s first courthouse and later, as Philipsburg’s Town Hall and library. People played basketball upstairs as early as 1903. This structure housed the renowned dance floor that covered the entire second story with an orchestra stage at the back.

Morse Hall ✯ 2004
Morse Hall2004

Winninghoff Park ✯ 2005
Winninghoff Park2005

Winninghoff Park

In 2003, the vision of an improvement project for a 40-year-old ice rink formed with design help from Montana Tech. The Winninghoff family donated additional land and the work began in 2004. Local volunteers restored and expanded the ice rink to NHL requlation-size, terraced a 3000-capacity amphitheater seating area, and built a performance stage along with a 2,200 ft2 community building with rent-free skating equipment. By 2019, the Philipsburg Ice Association completed the $250,000 ice rink refrigeration and towering LED night light projects. The renamed Winninghoff Park hosts hockey tournaments, youth hockey, bonspiels, local events, and summer concerts.

Winninghoff Park ✯ 2019
Winninghoff Park2019

J.K. Merrill ✯ circa 1980-1984
J.K. Merrillcirca 1980-1984

J. K. Merrill

Also in 2003, owners completed renovation of the J.K. Merrill Building, built in 1890 as the J.K. Merrill and Sons Dry Goods Store. In 1893, the store contained over $100,000 worth of merchandise, including dry goods, clothing, groceries and hardware on two floors when Freyschlag, Huffman failed during the silver panic. The upper floor became a hotel and boarding house and by 1897, the lower floor became the company store for the Bi-Metallic Mill. Today, The Thrift Store—the biggest little thrift store in Montana—holds the space downstairs with The Broadway Hotel occupying the second floor.

J.K. Merrill Building ✯ circa 2020
J.K. Merrill Buildingcirca 2020

Philipsburg School ✯ 1984
Philipsburg School1984

Philipsburg Elementary School

In 2005, a two-million-dollar bond issue to restore, renovate, and modernize the Philipsburg Grade School provided the funds for contractors to complete the project in March 2005. In September of 2003, local voters faced with a ballot to renovate the 1896 grade school or build new, opted for history. The citizens of Philipsburg overwhelmingly passed the bond. Plans for the original construction of the Philipsburg Grade School began in 1894 when Philipsburg residents passed a bond issue of $30,000. The school board declared that the cost of the new school was not to exceed $23,000, but in fact it later exceeded the sum by several thousand dollars—$26,800. Dedication of the building occurred February 1896. Today, the school is the oldest operating in Montana.

Philipsburg School ✯ Today
Philipsburg SchoolToday

Winninghoff Motors ✯ 2004
Winninghoff Motors2004

Winninghoff Motors

Also, in 2005, Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine purchased the Winninghoff Motors building and renovated the building to accommodate a retail space and indoor sapphire mining. Frank Winninghoff acquired the property from owner George Coulter at a Sheriff's sale in 1893 and opened a blacksmith and repair shop that operated until 1927.

Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine ✯ 2013
Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine2013

Rock Creek, a forever blue-ribbon trout fishing paradise and now home to luxury resorts since The Ranch at Rock Creek arrived in 2010, followed by The Meadows on Rock Creek in 2022. Whether you are camping, "glamping", or self-pampering, Rock Creek makes spectacular fly fishing and all vacationing unforgettable experiences.

Montana law enforcement officials brought the Montana Law Enforcement Museum to downtown Philipsburg in June, 2015. The museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying historic items that tell the story of Montana law enforcement from the earliest times. The Museum was established as a non-profit, and continues that way today. The Museum is all volunteer from the Board of Directors to the staff at the Museum. The Museum relies on donations from law enforcement associations and from those who visit the Museum. The Museum is open to the public and admission is free. Stop in and observe the history of Montana law enforcement on display.

Since 2019, the beautiful underwater trout and salmon Photography by Pat Clayton from Alaska’s wild to Montana’s high country, from coast rainforests to desert haunts—fish, landscapes, and wildlife from the last best wildernesses—hang on the walls of Fish Eye Guy Photography & Art Gallery right here in Philipsburg. Art lovers from around the world began arriving in 2022 via the Granite County airport—Riddick Field, (runway length of 3,599 feet at 5,219 feet elevation)—to view stunning artworks at Illume Gallery West.

Montana’s first award for Tourism Community of the Year went to Philipsburg and the following decade brought even more recognition and awards—Montana’s 1998 & 2001 Prettiest Painted Place, America’s 2006 Dozen Distinctive Destinations, Sonoran Institute’s 2007 Building from the Best of the Northern Rockies, Montana’s 2014 1st Gateway Community Award, Sunset Travel Awards 2015 Best Municipal Makeover/Reinvention Award, Missoula’s Choice 2015 - 2018 Favorite Day Trip Award, and USA Today 2018 Montana's Most Picturesque Town. Local and national magazines and news networks feature the town regularly. The story of Philipsburg’s reinvention continues to amaze observers and visitors. No government plan, no grant money, or tax revenue entered into the process. A quarter century of hardship, care, and hard work led to a dynamic, historic downtown and a well-earned reputation as a wonderful place to live or visit.

Today, Philipsburg thrives on everything that built the town with the addition of the Ghost Towns from past ventures. Most of the land in Granite County is publicly owned, with most of the public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Crops include barley, oats and hay. Over 19,000 acres of agricultural lands are in winter forage production for the 18,800 cattle and 400 sheep in the county. The ranchers in Granite County provide some of the best beef and Alfalfa hay in the country. The Ghost Town concentration in the surrounding area draws thousands of history buffs. Well-established mines supply gravel for industry and treasure hunting enthusiasts that can find gems, have them heat-treated, and then set into jewelry. Exploring the "Historic Walking Tour" in the Philipsburg TerritoryExclusive Guide to Granite County's Past & Presentgives the reader the best representation of today's historic buildings still in existence in Philipsburg. Every page of the publication showcases the history of the area and the present ongoing progress of the community.


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