aka Cabin Creek

The Medicine Lodge mining district is relatively recent in origin. Production in the district began in 1939 and ran until 1949 with a hiatus during the war years. The district has also seen some activity in the 1960s. The district has produced primarily base metals, but there are recorded sub-commercial deposits of thorium, rare earths, fluorite, graphite and asbestos. On the west side of Medicine Lodge Creek a 6.5 foot seam of coal was utilized for domestic fuel. The district is, like many other small districts, dominated by one mine. The Sweeney mine produced 596 tons of ore, 75 percent of the district's output. The ore was primarily lead, zinc and copper, but also contained good values of silver.

The area is underlain by consolidated sediments of upper Paleozoic age. Tertiary volcanic rocks cover the sediments in the western part of the district. Tertiary lake beds cover the consolidated sediments in the eastern part of the district (Sahinen 1935).

The total production from the district has been relatively small. From 1902 - 1965, only 792 tons of ore worth $22,034 were extracted from the district. The ore yielded one ounce of gold, 1,852 ounces of silver, 1,385 pounds of copper, 14,143 pounds of zinc, and 283,693 pounds of lead (Geach 1972).


According to Sahinen (1935) the Medicine Lodge district is about 12 miles due south of Grant on the now defunct Gilmore & Pittsburg Railroad and also about 15 miles southeast of Armstead on the Oregon Short Line (now Union Pacific Railroad). Geach (1972) places the district about 30 miles southwest of Dillon in an area containing the headwaters of Medicine Lodge and Cabin Creeks which are separated by a low divide in the vicinity of Sourdough Peak. Cabin Creek

drains an area known as the Big Sheep Creek Basin which measures about 10 miles east-west and 15 miles north/south. The basin is bordered on the west and south by the Beaverhead Range and on the east by the southern part of the Tendoy Range. Figure 1 shows the Medicine Lodge district as defined by Geach (1972).



The Sweeney Mine is located in section 1, T13S, R12W about 27 miles south - southwest of Clark Canyon dam. The mine which is also known as the Bonanza II is owned by Peter Sweeney. The mine is on a deposit of Mississippian limestone near a contact with gneiss; ore are hosted in crystalline calcite containing cerussite and hyrous iron oxide as gange minerals. The upper adit developed the main vein for 160 feet with stopes above and below the adit level. A second adit, 64 feet below the first, was driven northward 164 feet; at 115 feet from the portal a chimney-like raise connects to the upper adit along the main vein. A third adit is 180 feet west of the second adit at about the same elevation. The excavation was driven 240 feet and cuts the vein at a distance of 215 feet. The mine has produced 596 tons of ore which yielded 1,499 ounces of silver, 385 pounds of copper, 233,293 pounds of lead, and 6,443 pounds of zinc.


Bureau of Land Management

1992 "Cultural Resources Inventory: Jeff-Medicine "Timber Sale", Report No. -MT-070-076-47, Butte District.

Geach, R. D.

1972 "Mines and Mineral Deposits (except fuels) "Beaverhead County, Montana", "Montana Bureau of Minesand Geology, Bulletin 85".

Sahinen, Uuno M.

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

Scarborough, Vernon

1974 Archaeological and Historical Survey in the West Dillon and Tendoy Mountain Planning Units of Beaverhead County, Soutwestern Montana", Bureau of Land Management, Dillon District Office.

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.