A page a day

Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Ghost town called Pony

Seesaw in schoolyard. School closed in 1943.

Seesaw in schoolyard. School closed in 1943.

Once upon a time, Pony was a gold rush town where little gold was found. The miners turned to cyanide processing instead, but when mining fell off altogether in the early part of the 20th century, the town shrank.

Today, it is half rural residential community (with most of the residents living in the Victorian-style homes built by some of the wealthier early residents), and half ghost town. Population: about 100, between 40 to 50 families. Ponymontana.com calls it “the last best town in the last best place.”

The 2 story schoolhouse.

The 2 story schoolhouse.

The town was actually named for a person, Tecumsah “Pony” Smith, a prospector who found gold in local Willow Creek in 1866, according to the Montana State Historical Society. Today, the entire downtown of Pony is considered a state historic district.

 Smith’s discovery, like many California and Alaska finds of the gold rush age, created a town where there had only been a beautiful canyon before. People flooded to Pony to try to find their fortunes, but the gold in the creek was not as plentiful as hoped. It wasn’t a failure, though – one estimate puts the ore take from the area at about $5 million in value.

The population topped out around 5,000 people.

 Nevertheless, twenty years of growth followed, and by 1895 the church, which still stands today, had been constructed. The school was built for $10,000 in 1902.

Pony Community Church.

Pony Community Church.

Bank building.

In the window of the Morris State Bank, an imposing brick structure also abandoned, a last sign for those interested in “mining and real estate” is still in the window.

Mines, mining and real estate.

Mines, mining and real estate.

Other shots:
Occupied home.

Occupied home.

Burned.

Burned.

Just walls.

Just walls.

Occupied home.

Occupied home.

Rex flour.

Rex flour.

Modern statue on a hill.

Modern statue on a hill.

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2 Comments»

  BBB wrote @

So, exactly where is this interesting place called Pony. Montana? How difficult would it be for you to put a map on this site so we could see where, exactly, you are. . .and have been? It would be a very cool addition to the wonderful text and photos.

oxox
BB

  can turkyilmaz wrote @

Leah, i created a group on Facebook named ‘Kids want their see-saw back dammit’ and i used your seesaw photo as a profile photo. Please let me know if it’s problem and i will remove it. I hope this group spreads like a wild fire and we bring see-saw back to school playgrounds. You can reach me at cturkyilmaz@advocatemag.com


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