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A Day in Historic Philipsburg, Montana


I enjoy traveling in Western Montana!  The beautiful "big sky" scenery, majestic mountains, lovely ranches and interesting small towns all make for a great travel experience.

00 Philipsburg

A town I'd not visited until recently is Philipsburg.  My wife and I detoured to see it at the recommendation of a dear friend, and it was good advice.  The beautifully restored town is a delight to ramble in.  I find the fact that it has less than a thousand full time residents adds to its charm.

01 Philipsburg

02 Philipsburg

Last weekend's One Clue Mystery photo (see below) featured a photo of historic Broadway hotel in Philipsburg, which was reopened in 2003.  The photo was recognized by the incomparable George G -- congratulations as always, George!

One Clue Mystery(One Clue Mystery photo)

Philipsburg is named for Philip Deidesheimer, who built and ran the ore smelter around which the town was originally founded in the 1860s. There have been a lot of valuable resources removed from the hills that surround Philipsburg -- silver ore was especially rich here but sapphires (still found in large numbers even today), manganese, and even gold all infused wealth into the town in its younger days.  Timbering was another important local industry.  By the 1980s the mines had mostly closed and the future of the town somewhat uncertain.

03 Philipsburg

04 Philipsburg

05 Philipsburg

The town survived, revitalized itself and today the shops are very much aimed at tourists.  There's a great variety of items that will interest many, from craft beer to jewelry to art to great restaurants.  And who would have guessed that some of the best candy in the country was made and sold in Philipsburg?  Locally mined sapphires are sold in the jewelry shops or, if you are adventurous, you can head to the hills and pan for your own.

06 Philipsburg(Kaiser House was a former hotel that opened in 1881)

07 Philipsburg

08 Philipsburg(Local  bakery)

The area around Philipsburg is a 4-season natural playground, popular with fishermen, hunters, campers, skiers and all other sorts of outdoor lovers.  There are small ghost towns in the surrounding hills and many abandoned mines (be cautious around these).

Below are some of the photos taken while wandering this pretty little town.  We visited in October when the weather was still lovely.  Many of the buildings shown are on the National Register for Historic Places.

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(some street art)

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23 Philipsburg(Granite County Jail was constructed in 1896 and is used to this day)

24 Philipsburg
(the copper domed building is the Granite County courthouse)

30 Philipsburg(lovely Victorian Gingerbread home)

25 Philipsburg

26 Philipsburg
(First Presbyterian Church)

27 Philipsburg
(Episcopal church)

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29 Philipsburg(St. Philip's Catholic Church)

Philipsburg is located about a 30-minute drive from the I-90 freeway.  Take the Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway (Hwy 1) between Anaconda and Drummond, a nice scenic byway that you'll pass when traveling between Butte and Missoula.

Philipsburg is less than half a day's drive from either Yellowstone National Park to the south and Glacier National Park to the north, so keep it in mind when planning your travels in the state.

31 Philipsburg

32 Philipsburg(A local resident with a flare for creating yard art)


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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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