Neihart, Montana

Kings Hill Scenic Byway near Neihart, Montana
On the Kings Hill Scenic Byway near Neihart
Neihart, Montana

A group of prospectors were working their way through the Little Belt Mountains in 1881 and found silver-lead ore in deposits of pinto diorite (a red and green spotted igneous rock) in the area of what is now Neihart. Word got out and miners flocked to the area. At a town meeting in 1882, the local folks settled on the name "Neihart" (for James L. Neihart, one of those original miners) for their little community. Neihart was sporting a blacksmith's shop, post office, two restaurants, two saloons, two stables, a boarding house and about 50 houses plus numerous tents by 1885. The Montana Central Railroad built a spur line into Neihart in 1891 but the Panic of 1893 hit the area hard. Silver mines opened and closed at different times but the diggings at the Chamberlain and Broadwater mines produced steadily. Over the years, the silver mines also yielded about $3 million worth of sapphires ranging in color from pale blue to royal blue.

There were a couple other mining towns founded in the Little Belt Mountains but only Neihart survives. The others are ghost towns, some of which can be reached via the dirt and gravel roads that head off into the forest around Neihart. Neihart is just north of the summit of Kings Hill Pass on the Kings Hill Scenic Byway. Nearby is the Showdown Montana Ski Area. Just north of the ski area is a parking lot that gives access to more than 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the the Little Belts. Neihart is completely surrounded by the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Main Street is also known as US Highway 89.

Fast Facts about Neihart, Montana
Neihart, Cascade County, MT 59465
Elevation: 5,627'
Latitude: 46.9331°N
Longitude: 110.7366°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 93.4%
Hispanic: 1.1%
Native American: 5.5%
Other: 1.1%
Two or more races: 4.4%
High School or Higher: 82.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 27.4%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 17.8%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 85
Males: 51
Females: 34
Median Resident Age: 53.8 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $40,800
Estimated Median Home Value: $175,900
Population Density: 43 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Neihart: 93.1

Unemployed (March 2011): 6.9%
Upper left photo of Neihart courtesy of lijjccoo, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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