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Thread: Southern Cross, Montana: Still Hanging On

  1. #1
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    Default Southern Cross, Montana: Still Hanging On

    The redevelopment of the mining facilities constantly seem to have the fate of this little town, located 7,000 feet up in the Colorado Rockies, in a constant state of immenent destruction.

    However, from what I could tell on my visit in August of 2010, the site clean-up had managed to avoid the few neat remaining structures.

    It seems the town, which traces its roots back to the first mining on Cable Mountain in the 1870's, still has some life left in its vacant buildings. Even though they do not date back to the beginnings, or likely even the initial phase of heavy development by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in 1910, they do stand as sentinels of what was once a community with some five hundred residents, along with stores, a dance hall, a post office, and a school.

    Today, only a ragtag collection of vacant buildings remain, accompanied by a modern church, but they reside in what may be one of the most beautiful ghost town locations I have seen. From the site, you can look down upon Geogetown Lake below, and mountains stretching to the limits of your vision, making the visit more than worthwhile if just for the scenery.

    Looking up the hill at the remains of Southern Cross:


    Looking down onto one of the standing structures:


    What could be the only occupied original structure at the site:


    The view of Georgetown Lake from Southern cross:
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    I agree. Beautiful country! Any idea what the structure in the second picture might have been used for?

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    Barnbum: Thanks. My best guess is that it may have been a hotel or some other form of lodging for the mine. There will be more pictures of it as I post all that I have.

    Two standing multi-story houses at the bottom of Southern Cross:




    The possible hotel:


    Another building. It's purpose I do not know:
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    More views of the previous buildings:







    Easily distracted.

    Current distraction: Railroad Depots

  5. #5
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    Interesting set up with the buildings. When you look at it from one direction it looks a hotel, or maybe a boarding house. From the other direction where you can see where it's connected to another building, I'm not so sure. At least we can tell which buildings were private homes. Great pics. Thanx for sharing.

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    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Very nice pics!

    That green roof on the green house makes me think the roof panels were either made of copper or bronze.

    The view of that lake makes me think the real estate value might be high some day. Unless the water supply got contaminated or something.

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    Barnbum: My best guess is it has something to do with the altitude. At 7,000 feet in the Montana Rockies, this area must get very large amounts of snow, so I assume covered passageways helped make managing to live at that eight somewhat easier.

    Tsarevna: It's so true, resort homes arte slowly beginning to trickle into the area, so it may not be too long before they encroach on Southern Cross. I think the only thing really holding them back has been the altitude, and the ecological impact left by the mining activities at the site.
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    I am a native Montanan, 4th generation, and spent many summers of my youth in the town of Southern Cross. I can tell you what the buildings are (most of them) or were. The green house next to St. Timothy's Church was the mine superintendants house, built around 1900. The rusty old hotel looking thing next to it was the boarding house for miners. The larger building(s) in the rear of the boarding house is the mill. The mountain is riddled with abandoned mine shafts and adits, we used to get into all kinds of trouble poking around in them. My great Aunt and Uncle, Agnes and Bernie Hendrickson kept the green house for many years. My other relatives also lived in it in the summers, Ruth and Gil Carmichael. My Great Uncle Bernie Hendrickson lived in Southern Cross as a boy around 1915-1920, and had many, many stories about the place. I hate to see the old green house in such disrepair, as I have spent many happy mornings in that house preparing to explore the mountain and warm summer nights listening to Uncle Bernie tell his stories about Southern Cross in its heyday. I hope it is not all lost, there is a lot of history there.

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    Thanks for the post and welcome to the forum. Do you have any photos of the town when it was active and busy with mining activity?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnymt View Post
    I am a native Montanan, 4th generation, and spent many summers of my youth in the town of Southern Cross. I can tell you what the buildings are (most of them) or were. The green house next to St. Timothy's Church was the mine superintendants house, built around 1900. The rusty old hotel looking thing next to it was the boarding house for miners. The larger building(s) in the rear of the boarding house is the mill. The mountain is riddled with abandoned mine shafts and adits, we used to get into all kinds of trouble poking around in them. My great Aunt and Uncle, Agnes and Bernie Hendrickson kept the green house for many years. My other relatives also lived in it in the summers, Ruth and Gil Carmichael. My Great Uncle Bernie Hendrickson lived in Southern Cross as a boy around 1915-1920, and had many, many stories about the place. I hate to see the old green house in such disrepair, as I have spent many happy mornings in that house preparing to explore the mountain and warm summer nights listening to Uncle Bernie tell his stories about Southern Cross in its heyday. I hope it is not all lost, there is a lot of history there.
    Nice story, would be cool to go up there in the next year or two to see how it is holding up.

    GefahrMike253

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