Last Chance Gulch Historic Site


Helena ,Helena Area,Lewis and Clark County

Map Location

Historical Markers/Interpretive SignHistoric Sites
General info

The city of Helena started as a group of placer miners’ cabins and Main Street follows the bottom of Last Chance Gulch. The gulch is formed by the convergence of Oro Fino and Grizzly Gulches and its colorful history began when gold was discovered July 14, 1864, by a party returning to Alder Gulch from an unsuccessful prospecting trip. They agreed to camp and give this locality a try as their “last chance’ It proved to be a bonanza.

It is estimated that the Gulch produced thirty million in pay dirt and there is plenty left beneath the present business district. After a cloudburst, colors and nuggets have been found in the gutters.

Main Street is very irregular in width and alignment. Some opine that it was laid out in this matter to restrict the shooting range of impetuous, hot-blooded gents in the roaring days gone by.

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