MARYSVILLE

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/6

     About 25 miles northwest of Helena, Marysville is home to Silver Creek where placer gold was first discovered in 1862. Richer bars were worked starting in May of 1864. In 1869, the stream produced $50,000. Tommy Cruse relocated an abandoned claim in 1876. It would be called the Drumlummon, named after a parish in Ireland where Tommy was born.

     Often mocked but ever determined, Tommy would work shallow prospect holes for the next 6 years. Living on a dream, spurred by hope, Mr. Cruse had to borrow money just to survive and often slept at a friend’s drugstore in Helena. Finally in 1880, his ship came in and he uncovered high-grade ore and soon erected a 5-stamp mill near the mine. A camp around the mill developed shortly afterward and became known as Marysville. Why Marysville? Some say it was for one of the 3 Marys living there at the time. Some say it was for Mary Ralston, the town’s first female resident. Others yet insist that it came from the name of Tommy’s financial backer for the past few years. The town would grow and expand over the next several years to include a post office, stores, restaurants, tailor shops, a bank, jewelry shops, a lumberyard, meat markets, confectionaries, a bakery, an opera house, 3 churches, newspapers, doctors, blacksmith shops, several saloons, hotels and a school where 6 teachers once held classes. Population reached as many as 4,000.

     Cruse sold the Drumlummon mine in 1884 to an English corporation for $1 million and another half-million in stock. Cruse moved to Helena, built a mansion, founded a bank and helped build a cathedral. But, after losing his bride to childbirth, Cruse returned to Marysville and purchased the Bald Mountain Mine. The Bald Mountain would produce 167,595 tons of ore including gold, silver, copper and lead.

     The Drumlommon’s new owners added additional stamps to the mill. By 1884, a 50-stamp mill was completed and two years later, a 60-stamp mill. A cyanide plant came next with a 400 ton capacity per day.

     The town boomed until the turn of the century when ores were becoming depleted, a lawsuit over boundary rights with the St. Louis Mining Company was slowing production and a fire destroyed many buildings. St. Louis Mining bought the Drumlummon in 1911 and would work it through 1948. The district produced over $30,000,000 of ore with $15,000,000 of that credited to the Drumlummon alone.