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Diamond City, Montana Territory 1875, Rare Historical Document, Confederate Gulch

Diamond City, Montana Territory 1875, Rare Historical Document, Confederate Gulch
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Price: $100.00

The initial strike of Barker, Dennis and Thompson on the gulch in the Big Belt Mountains was small, but hard work produced enough gold so that word spread. Other southern sympathizers showed up in late 1864, and the area became known as Confederate Gulch.During the winter of 1864-65 four log cabins were built equidistant around a large rock obstruction on the narrow floor of the gulch. The paths from cabin to cabin made a perfect diamond in the snow, as seen from the slopes above, and so the cabins in the gulch were named Diamond City. The "city" part of the name was a joke, comparing this poor settlement of southern sympathizers to the booming mining camps of Helena and Virginia City. During its heyday, Diamond City was the county seat of Montana's Meagher County, although today the area has become part of Broadwater County. In their frantic efforts to get at more gold, the miners built ditches and flumes that extended for miles, and employed high pressure hydraulic mining methods which washed down whole hillsides and ate up the gulch floor. The hydraulic mining process stripped the gulch and left huge spoil banks—hydraulic mining even consumed the site of Diamond City, which had to be moved to a new location. Then the gold ran out, the boom was over and the population simply picked up and left. In 1870 there were only 255 people left and a year later only about 60. Today hardly a trace remains of Diamond City or the other gulch communities. The gulch is quiet and empty, with only an occasional summer prospector, or a rare traveler using the unimproved road that still winds up the gulch from the Missouri Valley and crosses the top of the Big Belts on its way down to the Smith River Valley. Diamond City, Confederate Gulch and the Montana Bar were spectacular examples of the flash-in-the pan Montana placer gold mining camps, but what a flash.

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