Although gold was the attraction for many men who came out west to get rich, Carbon County’s "Gold" was found in the mineral Coal. The exact year that coal was discovered has not been confirmed. In 1866 Yankee Jim George was credited for the discovery of outcroppings of coal on the east side of the Rock Creek. Coal mining was the major source of income for the many immigrants who were looking for work, land and a home of their own in Montana.
Within the city limits of Red Lodge there were two mines, the East Side “Sunrise” Mine and the West Side “Sunset” Mine. Over the hill to the east of Red Lodge is Washoe & Bearcreek. Several coal mines were developed throughout that area. One such mine was the Smith Mine, where on February 27, 1943 the largest mine disaster of the era occurred, killing 74 men in an explosion that devastated the county and affected many generations.
What you will see in the Mining exhibit
- Simulated Coal & Hard Rock Mines
- Experience the daily life of a coal miner in the early 1900s by taking a tour through our re-created coal mine exhibit.
- Gain an insightful look into the Stillwater Mine Complex by viewing the Stillwater Mine Exhibit