Boom, Bust And Reclamation
Posted by: Volcanoguy
N 45° 00.227 W 109° 59.785
12T E 579092 N 4983860
Quick Description: History sign about the Cooke City area.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 6:06:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMDAQ8
History sign about the Cooke City area from early mining area to recreation today. The sign is located at a turnout between the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the community of Silver Gate. This is the easternmost of four signs at this location.
Text of Sign:
The broken dreams of Cooke City’s miners are indelibly etched in the many abandoned mines and tailings that still haunt the mountainsides. Cooke City has boomed, busted, and boomed again from the unfulfilled promise of mining to the recreation and tourism which drive its economy today.
With the first gold strike in 1869, hundreds of fortune seekers poured into this area, named the New World Mining District. The first town, where Cooke City now stands, was called Shoofly in honor of its most plentiful inhabitants.
These early miners dug holes any place they thought they might find gold. And there was plenty of it underground - with silver, copper, zinc and lead as well. The problem was finding it, and getting it out of the area for processing. The high cost of transporting ore ate up potential profits. Those who really profited from the miners’ dreams were the speculators and shopkeepers who transported, outfitted and fed them.
In 1880, a convincing investor named Jay Cooke Jr. promised to bring a railroad that would transport ore to market. Pinning their hopes on this promise, the town was re-named Cooke City. Although the name stuck, the railroad never came.
Legendary characters have created and colored the myths of this wild area. Doc Tanzer was one of the many flamboyant speculators with grand plans for Cooke City. He hosted elaborate parties to entice investors during the “Roaring” 1920s. Doc built state-of-the-art mining and milling operations like the Gold Dust and even connected it to the Homestake mine with an aerial tram. But then Tanzer disappeared with all the money. Ironically, his mines were just a few feet from hitting rich “mother lode” veins. Was Doc a high rolling swindler or just a victim of lousy luck? . . . or maybe a bit of both?
Recreationists of all kinds flock to this area today to enjoy all that this wild landscape has to offer. Tourists, hunters, wildlife watchers, anglers, backpackers, backcounty skiers, ATV enthusiasts, hikers, snowmobilers and others help a whole new generation of shopkeepers and outfitters make a living in this still-wild area.
The lure of the mountains will always inspire some folks to dream of pulling riches from the ground. For most, just being here is treasure enough.
Describe the area and history:
The Silver Gate - Cooke City area has a long history of mining.
Please describe your visit- The good, the bad & the ugly. :)