The Sand Creek district was developed in the 1890s, but the mines in the district have only been active intermittently and the production is relatively unimportant. The area was discovered by John A. Pashley who immediately staked the Good Friday mine. After the Good Friday mine, he recorded three more strikes. Winchell (1914) reported that in 1897 free-milling gold from the Chile mine was treated in a 5-stamp mill. The Chili and Good Friday mines (there is no locational information on the Good Friday but it is assumed it is near the Chile) were operated by the Butte Badger Company under the supervision of J. J. Browning. A few years later the Whippoorwill mine was operated for about two years. Both the Butte Badger Company and Whippoorwill mining operations processed their ore in 10-stamp mills. Concentrates were transported by wagon 1.5 miles downhill to Sappington where they were shipped by rail to smelters. The mines continued to operate intermittently on a low level up to the 1940s (Sahinen 1935; Wolle 1963; Herbort 1989).

Geologically, the northern part of the district is underlain by rocks of the Paleozoic era. About two miles south of Sappington, these rocks are unconformable in contact with gneisses and schists of the Pony series (Sahinen 1935).

Sand Creek yielded some placer gold, but none has been reported since 1904 (Lyden 1948).


Sahinen (1935) places the district about two miles southeast of Sappington, a station on the Northern Pacific and Chicago, Milwaukee, and St.Paul Railroads. Figure 1 shows the district as described by the AMRB (1994) and as described by Sahinen (1935).



In 1897 the Chile mine was reported to have a shaft 100 feet deep. The free-milling ore from the mine was worked in an adjacent 5-stamp mill (Winchell 1914).

Good Friday

The Good Friday mine was the first lode discovery in the Sand Creek district. It was located by John Pashley, but location, dates and any production figures have been lost.


The Whippoorwill or Whip-Poor-Will claims was first worked around the turn of the century. However, after two years of development, the mine was idled. The property was first mentioned in the mining literature in 1903. The mine officially reported production in 1908, 1909, 1931, 1934, 1939, and 1940 (Winchell 1914; WPA 1941).


Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)

1994 Mining districts of Montana. Maps 1:100,000 and Map #94-NRIS-129. Compiled and edited by Joel Chavez. Prepared by Montana State Library Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) for Montana Department of State Lands. Helena

Byrne, John and Frank Hunter

1898 Ninth Report of the Inspector of Mines of the State of Montana. State Publishing Company, Helena.

1901 Twelfth Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines of the State of Montana. Independent Publishing Company, Helena.

Calderhead, J. H.

1898 "Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor, and Industry, 6th Annual Report."

Herbort, Dale

1989 "Cultural Resource Examination Sand Creek Mines Access Routes, Madison County, Montana", for the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau, Montana Department of State Lands, by GCM Services, Inc., Butte.

Lyden, Charles J.

1948 "The Gold Placers of Montana", Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Memoir 26. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Sahinen, Uuno M.

1935 "Mining Districts of Montana", Thesis Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Sant, Mark B.

1994 "Cultural Resources Class III Inventory Report Warm Springs Land Exchange Beaverhead and Madison Counties, Montana", BLM Report No. 93-MT-070-076-064, Dillon.

Shoemaker, C. S. and John Miles

1896 Seventh Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines of the State of Montana.

Winchell, Alexander Newton

1911 "A Theory for the Origin of Graphite as Exemplified in the Graphite Deposit near Dillon, Montana", Economic Geology, Vol. 6, pp 218-230.

Winchell, Alexander Newton

1914 "Mining Districts of the Dillon Quadrangle, Montana and Adjacent Areas", U. S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 574.

Wolle, Muriel Sibell

1963 Montana Pay Dirt. Sage Books, Athens, Ohio

Work Projects Administration (WPA) Mineral Resources Survey

1941 Montana Mine Index, An Alphabetical Index Arranged by Counties, Districts and Mines of Information on Montana Mines from 1867-1940. Montana School of Mines, Butte.