a sub-district of the Highland district

The Basin Creek district south of Butte is generally considered a sub-district of the Highland district. In 1868, a 600 pound boulder of float gold ore was found on upper Basin Creek. This was larger than any similar float ore found in Montana. The discovery set off a rush to the area as miners tried in vain to locate the source of the rich boulder. In 1871, five companies of men were actively working the placers of Basin Gulch (Sahinen 1950). However, the source was never found and the name "Mount Humbug", a low hill on the west side of the Highland Mountain range, may well have echoed the sentiments of the unsuccessful prospectors.

Mining activity was severely curtailed in 1895 with the purchase of much of the land and mining claims in the district by the Butte Water Company. Butte Water closed the mines and relocated at least one mill to protect the town's water supply. The company paid Ron Leggat, who had consolidated much of the mineral properties since the 1870s, $160,000 for his holdings (Lyden 1948; McCormick and Martin 1988).

In 1934, 1.43 ounces of gold from that part of Basin Creek not included in the Highland district was reported. The placer gold was probably carried down from the Highland district.


Sahinen (1935) does not place the district. Lyden (1948) discusses limited mining activity on lower Basin Creek below the Butte Water Company's reservoir. Figure 1 shows the Basin Creek district as defined by AMRB (1994) with a smaller area to the south where most of the placer activity took place.


Parkhurst Mill

Located in southeast section 8, T1N, R7W, the Parkhurst mill is the only lode mining site in the Basin Creek district. Little is known about the property, the mill was probably constructed in the 1910 to 1930 period. It contained either a recovery arrastra or a Chilean mill, but there is no evidence that the equipment on the site was ever used. Long-time local resident Howard Stratton stated that he thought the site was that of the Parkhurst mill which was built in 1909 to work the ore from the Golden Surprise mine which was located in the Highland district. However, the Golden Surprise operation was a stock scam and did no actual production (Steere 1979).


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

Lyden, Charles J.


The Gold Placers of Montana

. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Memoir No. 26. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

McCormick, Mary E. and Dale Martin

1988 "Cultural Resource Inventory of Two Proposed Mine Exploration Areas in the Deerlodge National Forest: Upper Fish Creek Valley in the Highland Mountains, Montana" prepared for Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc. by Renewable Technologies, Inc., Butte.

Sahinen, Uuno M.

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

1950 "Geology and Ore Deposits of the Highland Mountains, Southwestern Montana", Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Memoir 32.

Steere, Peter L.

1979 "Cultural Resource Inventory, Stevens Land Exchange", prepared for the Deerlodge National Forest, Butte.

Wolle, Muriel S.


Montana Pay Dirt. A Guide to the Mining Camps of the Treasure State

. Sage Books, Denver. 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.