aka Park aka Hassel


The Indian Creek mining district is located ten miles west of Townsend on the Northern Pacific Railway. The district first began to be worked in 1866 when good placer grounds were discovered in Indian Creek. By 1871 it is estimated that $50,000 had been taken from the gravels. Some bars yielded as much as $50 per man per day; the 100 men working the creek averaged $7 per man per day. The work was seasonal for as long as the water lasted. A dam was constructed in the 1870s to control the flow of water and to extend the placer season (Stone 1911; McCormick 1990).

The original placers were found in benches above Indian Creek. Materials ranged from small boulders to clay and sand, all of which were derived from andesite and sediments to the west. The lower Indian Creek placers worked in the 1940s were found in a false bedrock that was one to six feet in thickness and overlain by eight to ten feet of barren gravel (Lyden 1948).

By tracing the values upstream, veins were discovered in the immediate vicinity and masses of mineralized porphyry in Diamond Hill. In the Park mines veins of andesite and diorite produced primarily pyrite, with some arsenopyrite and galena. In the area of Hassel at least two intrusions of mineralized granite have been located in andesite porphyry. These ores yielded gold, silver, copper and lead values. Open pit mining and long tunnels in these large bodies and veins produced approximately $500,000 in gold. One tunnel, 2,800 ft long is said to be all in ore assaying from 80 cents to $2.50 per ton. Three small stamp mills were built around Hassel and yielded $500 per day when water was available. At Park, a mill and cyanide plant were built, but the process was not suited to the ore. In 1908 the combined Park and Hassel mines produced $5,313 in gold, 2,939 ounces of silver, 8,901 pounds of copper and 27,374 pounds of lead. Estimates of total production for the district by 1911 were between $2 and 8 million, however, a more modest estimate made in 1933 of not less than $1 million is probably more likely (Stone 1911; Hill 1912; Pardee and Schrader 1933; Lyden 1948).

The town of Saint Louis, which was later renamed Hassel, was established in 1875 and, for a time, 35 to 40 miners resided there. The Hassel mining district consists of a cluster of claims at or near the site of the historic mining camp of Hassel. Sometimes referred to in the mining literature as "the mines near Hassel" and other times as "the Hassel mining district," the area experienced several periods of mining activity. Groupings of mines within the area reflect these periods of activity. The oldest group consists of placer claims which follow the bed of Indian Creek and were located in the 1860s. The Little Giant and W. A. Clark claims, located on Giant Hill in the northeast quarter of Section 2, were discovered in the late 1860s and later worked in the 1870s and 1880s. Two other groups of claims -- the Diamond Hill group in Section 36 and the Blacksmith group in Section 1 just west of the the townsite of Hassel -- were located as early as the 1860s and 1870s, but the Diamond Hill is primarily associated with the 1890s developments centering on the construction of a 120 stamp mill. In 1890 the Indian Creek district listed the Cyclone group -- Patsywa-tomie, Mineral Hill and Silverware -- as active. The Park district listed the Clipper, the Gold Dust, Switzerland, Uncle Ed, Silver Bell, Jaw Bone and Hard Cash as active. At that time the Dumphy 20-stamp mill, the Smith 20-stamp mill and the Emanuel 5-stamp mill were actively reducing the ore (McCormick 1990; Ferguson 1906; Swallow 1891).

After the turn of the century, the activity in the district was severely curtailed. The 1905 construction of a new concentrator in the Mason Camp above Hassel by a syndicate appears to have spurred at least limited activity in the district. There were only three active mines in 1906, but by 1908 there were ten. Primary producers included the Blacker, Keating and Cedar Plain. Despite the slight increase in activity, the district produced only $15,000 in ore between 1908 and 1910 and was described as having been idle for some time by Stone (1911). He attributed the decline of the district to the difficulties in treating the pyrite ore (McCormick 1990; Fairchild 1987; Ferguson 1908; Pardee and Schrader 1933; Swallow 1891).

The Blacksmith group was most intensively worked in the 1930s. In the midst of the Great Depression high gold prices spurred the development of a number of small "family" mines (McCormick 1990; Fairchild 1987; Ferguson 1906; Swallow 1891).

The stream gravels on lower Indian Creek were reworked around 1940 when two operations began working. The combined output of the two companies, which both employed dry land dragline dredges, was about a million cubic feet of gravel a year and in three years the two recovered a total of $595,000 in gold. These dredges were closed by Federal order during World War II, but resumed operations in 1946 (Lyden 1948).

With the exception of a log cabin, shed, Masonic hall and the Judge Lowry House, the town of Hassel is gone. Historic photos indicate that Hassel was once a community with recognizable streetscapes and many more buildings. Intensive dredging during the twentieth century in Indian Creek has destroyed most of the townsite and greatly altered the lands. The four remaining buildings stand surrounded by enormous dredge piles 30-40 ft high. All evidence of nineteenth century placer mining activity appears to have been destroyed by the twentieth century dredging as well.. Mines on the slopes near Hassel are identifiable as collapsed adits, pits, and small associated dumps, but there is little in the way of equipment or structures to illuminate the methods of mining used at these mines. All that remains of the 120 stamp mill are the stone foundation walls and a very small amount of tailings (Kingsbury 1986; McCormick 1990).


As with most mining districts, the Park / Hassel / Indian Creek mining district on the east side of the Elkhorn Mountains has been discussed both in combination with other districts or separately with several different boundaries.

According to Stone (1911) the Park mines are located in Sections 15, 24 & 26 T7N, R1W, about five miles northeast of Hassel on Indian Creek. The Hassel mines, which he views as a separate entity, are described as "located 6 miles west of Townsend, on the Northern Pacific Railway, on Indian Creek in the northeast corner of T. 6N. R. 1 W".

Corry (1933) makes no distinction between the Winston, Radersburg and Townsend districts, and discusses the common geological and historical development of the greater district. Pardee and Schrader (1933) define the district as an area on the east side of the Elkhorn Mountains between the Winston and Radersburg Districts. It is drained by Indian Creek and branches of Crow Creek and is reached by a road that goes west from Townsend. Reed includes the upper part of Indian Creek and Eagle Creek which covers the main lode claims (Figure 1).



The Blacksmith mine at Hassel, was one of the first mines in the district with recorded production in 1872. The mine has a deep vertical shaft on a body of ore 30 ft wide. Large quantities of ore from this mine have been milled, however ores became difficult to treat and so the mine was abandoned around 1905. Some additional production occurred as recently as 1940 (Pardee and Schrader 1933, WPA 1941).

Iron Mask

The Iron Mask mine has a vertical shaft over 200 ft deep. The mine was idle after 1910, but resumed some production from 1917 to 1940 (Pardee and Schrader 1933, WPA 1941).

Little Anna

The Little Anna is half a mile east of the Park mines. Although there were several hundred feet of underground workings, the mine has been idle since 1904. The mine had free milling gold (Corry 1933; Pardee and Schrader 1933).

Little Giant

The Little Giant Mine (24BW736), located on the east and northeast face of Giant Hill between Indian and Crow Creeks, was one of the most actively developed hardrock mines in the Hassel mining district during the late nineteenth century. The property was located in 1867, but was not developed until relocated in 1875 by a group of Hassel miners that included F. D. Heald, Fletcher Foster, W. J. Clark, and E. A. Morrison. With two men working, the claim produced 7 tons of ore worth about $1200. From these beginnings the mine was developed to two adits, one 1000 ft long and the other 1500 ft. By the turn of the century the mine had produced $300,000 in ore, but much of the ore values were lost in treatment. Apparently the ore was not easy to treat so ore was stored on the site until a proper recovery system was made available. The site now consists of several adit openings, numerous trenches and pits, and debris from an ore cart system. The site is disturbed by exploration and road construction (Pardee and Schrader 1933; McCormick 1990,

Mineral Record Index


New Era or Park - New Era

The New Era or Park - New Era mines are a collection of 14 mines about 15 miles west of Townsend. In 1906 the mine was described as being worked through a series of tunnels with are 1300, 400, 300, and 1350 ft in length. From the lowest and longest a crosscut was run to the vein. Development work included 3,500 ft of raises for ventilation and emergency exits. The mine was connected to a 20-stamp mill by a gravity tram. Pulverized sulphide ore was treated with a cyanide process. The mine was active from 1905 to 1940. (Walsh 1906; WPA 1941).

Silver Wave

Little information on the discovery or production of the Silver Wave Mine is available. The mine was taken over by the Ruby Gulch Gold Mining Company in 1910. The company developed the mine by installing a steam hoist able to reach a depth of 400 ft; the shaft ultimately reached a depth of 350 ft. In 1911, 24 men were employed extracting pyrite and galena ore. The mine's period of activity stretched from 1908 to 1940 and worked ore netting $35 per ton in gold with some silver and lead (Walsh 1910; Pardee and Schrader 1933, WPA 1941).

Ten Mile Tunnel

The Ten Mile Tunnel, also known as the Chinese diggings, is located on the West Fork of Indian Creek. The tunnel was reported to have been constructed by the Chinese during an early phase of placering on Indian Creek. The tunnel was intended to follow the ancestral channel of the creek at bedrock; hoping to locate gold concentrates. Subsequent dredging has destroyed portions of the tunnel. The creek still flows through the remaining structure (Kingsbury 1986).

Other significant mines that are named, but not described, in historic literature include the W. A. Clark (1911 - 1940), Indian Creek (1871 - 1934), John L. (1907 - 1934), Little Fanny (1924 - 1939), Mammoth (1871 - 1923), and Marietta (1908 - 1940).


Byrne, John and Frank Hunter


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."

Calderhead, J. H. and O. M. Holmes

1900 "Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor, and Industry, 7th Annual Report."

Corry, Andrew

1933 "Some Gold Deposits in Broadwater, Beaverhead, Phillips, and Fergus Counties, Montana",

Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

, Memoir 10.

Fairchild, Gary S

1987 "Eagle/Longfellow Prescribed Fire",

Cultural Resource Inventory

for the the Townsend Ranger District.

Fairchild, Gary S. and Mike Watkins

1988 "Royal Monarch Claim",

Cultural Resource Inventory

for the FMC Gold Corporation by the Townsend Ranger District.

Fairchild, Gary S. and Beth Ihle

1989 "Giant Hill",

Cultural Resource Inventory

for the Pegasus Gold Corporation by the Townsend Ranger District.

Ferguson, Henry Gardiner and L. P. Benedict


Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor and Industry, 10th Report


1908 Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor and Industry, 11th Biennial Report.

Hill, James M. and Waldemar Lindgren

1912 "The Mining Districts of the Western United States",

U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 507

. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

Kingsbury, Lawrence A.

1986 "Giant Hill Burn: 86-MT-070-076-11",

Cultural Resources Class III Inventory Report

for the Bureau of Land Management.

Lyden, Charles J.

1948 "The Gold Placers of Montana",

Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Memoir 26

. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

McCormick, Mary and Fredric L. Quivik

1990 Cultural Resource Inventory for the proposed Giant Hill Mineral Exploration Project in the Townsend Ranger District, Helena National Forest, Montana", for Pegasus Gold Corporation by Renewable Technologies, Inc. Butte.

Pardee, Joseph Thomas and F. C. Schrader

1933 "Metalliferous Deposits of the Greater Helena Mining Region, Montana",

U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin #842

, reprint of article in

Mining Truth

, Vol. 14, No. 10.

Reed, Glenn

1951 Mines and Mineral Deposits (Except Fuels), Broadwater County, Montana.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Information Circular 7592.

Stone, Ralph Walter

1911 "Geologic Relations of Ore Deposits in the Elkhorn Mountains, Montana",

U. S. Geologic Survey, Bulletin 470

, pp. 75-98.

Taylor, John

1984 "No Spring Name",

Cultural Resources Class III Inventory Report

for the Bureau of Land Management.

Stone, Ralph Walter

1911 "Geologic Relations of Ore Deposits in the Elkhorn Mountains, Montana",

U. S. Geologic Survey, Bulletin 470

, pp. 75-98.

Swallow, G. C., J. B. Trevarthen and Jacob Oliver


Reports of Inspectors of Mines, State of Montana, year ending November 30th, 1890

. Journal Publishing Company, Helena.

Walsh, William and William Orem


Biennial Report of Inspector of Mines for 1905-1906

. Independent Publishing, Helena.

1910 Biennial Report of Inspector of Mines for 1909-1910.

Wolle, Muriel Sibell


Montana Pay Dirt.

Sage Books, Athens, Ohio.

Work Projects Administration (WPA) Mineral Resources Survey


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.