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Collection 31 - Castle Hotel Registration Books, 1890-1891

Creator: Castle Hotel (Castle Town, Mont.)

Provenance Note: An original hotel register for the Castle Hotel was loaned to Special Collections for copying by Mrs. Nels Voldseth, of Martinsdale, Montana, on October 29, 1963. A second original hotel register was donated by the Museum of the Rockies on December 18, 1984 and originally assigned collection number 2138.

Historical Note: Mining claims near Castle Mountain in Meagher County, Montana, date back as far as 1884, but it was closer to the end of the decade when the lead and silver deposits of the area began to be actively worked. The mining camp of Castle began to attract residents near the end of 1888, and by 1890 the population of the town was recorded at 383. By that time Castle had at least ten saloons, several stores, a newspaper, and two hotels. The Castle Hotel, operated by the firm of Reed & Williams, fronted the main street and claimed the best accommodations in the town. The town of Castle went into rapid decline after 1893 when financial turmoil in the United States economy made the ore too expensive to process and ship. By 1898 a Meagher County directory listed no hotels operating in Castle and only a few businesses. Although technological advances allowed for more profitable mining by the turn of the century, Castle continued to decline until 1936 when the last two residents left and it became a ghost town.

Content Description Note: The registration books from the Castle Hotel list the name, hometown, and room number assigned for each guest at the establishment from July 12 to September 13, 1890 and from January 8 to May 27, 1891. The registration pages are interleaved with printed blotter advertisements for Helena, Montana businesses. The second volume, which is actually a poor photocopy, has been supplemented with penned annotations to highlight the information that did not copy legibly.

Updated: 8/14/09