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P hilipsburg T erritory ww w.p hil Jo in i psbuUs! rg mt .com Free! Take One Vol. XXXI No. 1 2009/10 Sapphires! Sapphires! Read All About it! The date—1894, the place— in the area provides an immediate near the creek to find hot spots the Gem Peak area on Rock Creek chance to turn rough stones to fine where it was profitable to wash and sort the gravel and gems. near Philipsburg, Montana. The jewelry and memories. The sapphires mined were first load of sapphires ships Gem miners today have a from placer mines, and arrives simpler time of it than those graded by color, clarity, size as far away as Switzerland for at the turn of the century. A and structure for commercial watch jewels and fine instrument hundred years ago, miners applications and jewelry, such bearings. Here was a world-class washed sapphires from the gravel as the brooch displayed at the 1900 Paris Exposition “of over discovery and supply to meet a ~ T M M 200 stones, ranging from 1¾ to growing demand for corundum, i , n g e r r u s b Unio ilips sapphires and rubies. n D 3 carats each, every one of a h P , ay In the late 1880’s, only St. 19 different tint or shade.” n i 13 Chem ic a l ly, North Carolina was a a M sapphire and ruby source of sapphires are dialuminum in North America. trioxide (A1203), Starting in 1892, a clear and newer and more colorless mineral. productive claims The impurities developed on the present in the west fork of Rock stones create the Creek not far from distinct colors. Iron Gem Peak. Initially, makes yellow, iron prospectors mined for Mi 9 plus titanium is blue, gold, but the search for gold 2 ne e r’s ag and chromium makes became secondary with the Ev e ~P e nt H it a g red. Known to the world as discovery of commercial and gem onor r e H s Philips burg’s Hard Rock “rubies,” red sapphires contain the quality sapphires in southwest Montana. Today, gem enthusiasts often by standing up to their knees chromium. An impurity common to find sapphires of two to three carats in water and muck. “Hydraulic most sapphires is Titanium dioxide in the rough. Expert jewelry service cannons” carved into hillsides (TiO2) in the form of “silk needles” T he A lmost G host T own of G ranite C ounty ! Photo courtesy of Quantus Design. Nestled in a high Rocky Mountain valley is the picturesque town of Philipsburg. It lies in the heart of a region rich in mining and ranching history. During hard rock mining heyday, in the late 1800’s, boomtowns like “P-burg” popped up throughout the hills and valleys nearby. More than two dozen communities came and went, often dying overnight, when veins of ore ran out or metal prices plunged. Today Granite County’s rich legacy of “ghost towns” attracts visitors from around the world. “People come in every day and they want to know how to get to the ghost towns,” says Ester McDonald from behind the counter in the local museum gift shop, “What’s so funny is they don’t realize they’re standing right in the middle of one!” Ester chuckles at the irony of visitors driving into nearby hills to walk among weathered ruins of long empty towns when the bustling little town of Philipsburg is arguably Montana’s best-preserved place from the past. The downtown is crammed with structures whose designs and materials, and even the artisans who made them, are exactly the same as the nearby “ghost towns” where few, if any, buildings remain. Historic Walking Tour - Pgs 17-24. Flint Creek Valley Car Show Page 31 Miners’ Union Competition Page 32 or “rutile.” This is the reason for the heat-treating. Heat-treating in the 1700 degree C to 2000 degree C range is necessary to dissolve the titanium crystals back into the surrounding material and “clear” the gem for maximum brilliance. Recent technology allows the treating of a stone’s specific colors to enhance and improve each stone’s potential, completing what mother nature started, allowing the gem to Story continued on Page 03 Free Maps Inside! To Missoula outdoor recreation and activities. Lake and stream fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, camping, hiking, photography, museums, 1800’s architecture, historic mines, tours, sapphire prospecting (indoor and outdoor), and ghost town exploration are within minutes of town. To Helena Drummond Hall 1 Maxville Philipsburg 1 Story continued on Page 10 P h i l ip sbu rg , M on ta na T oday Philipsburg, located on Montana’s Pintler Scenic Highway One, is 74 miles southeast of Missoula and sixty miles west of Butte. Centered in the heart of Flint Creek Valley, Philipsburg offers visitors a dramatic view of wildlife, history, scenery, four seasons of s! Sapphire s! Sapphire Anaconda  To Butte Pintler Scenic Highway Art & Jazz on Broadway Page 28

2009 Philipsburg Territory

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