Hassel, Montana Mining Camp

 

Hassel, Montana Mine and Mill

Hassel, Montana Mine and Mill

Situated near Indian Creek in Broadwater County, Hassel, which was first called Saint Louis, got its start in 1869 after gold had been discovered in the nearby creek. Like other mining camps of Montana, it would have a number of fitful starts and stops for several decades. As early as 1866 placer gold was discovered. Later, simple quartz mining with shallow tunnels and open pits were utilized to retrieve the precious gold. The camp was officially formed around 1875 with about 40 miners working in the area.  By 1880, placer mining was replaced with stamp mills and some hydra sluicing operations. Mines in operation included the Bunker Hill, Ajax Mine, Big Hill, Lone Star, the Diamond Hill, which was considered the Mother Lode in the area, and several other smaller operations.

When a post office was established in August 1895, the camp was renamed Hassel in respect for pioneer miner, Joseph E. Hassel. At that time, the camp was called home to about 200 people, boasted several businesses, a Masonic Lodge, and a number frame homes in addition to the numerous log miner’s cabins. At various times, the camp was also known as Knoxville, Placerville and Florence City.

For about two decades the mines continuously produced, grossing about $5,000,000 in gold. The camp was most famous for its huge Diamond Hill 120-Stamp Mill which operated at full capacity from 1898 to 1900.

By 1910; however, the ores were beginning to decline and Hassel was all but abandoned. During the 1930s, mining reconvened for a short period until World War II stopped it again.

Last ditch efforts were made in 1946 when Indian Creek was dredged, a process that destroyed the mine tunnels and covered much of what remained of the mining camp with high waste tailings.

Today, the Apollo Mining Company has taken over the site, where once again, mining is in full swing. Though much of the original site has been destroyed, some old buildings and mining remnants can still be seen.

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated January 2018.

Also See:

Montana Ghost Towns

Ghost Towns Across America

 

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