Ghost Town: Hammond, Montana

I passed through Hammond, MT in May 2015, on the way to a wedding in Michigan. Hammond is an unincorporated area in southeast Montana, on the 212 from Broadus to Wyoming. The “town” consists of three abandoned ruins decaying in the hot sun and prairie winds, and one brand new post office that seems startlingly out of place. There must be someone living nearby, as the Hammond post office appears to be active, and therefore the area has a zip code. Visiting Hammond after Garnet was an interesting view of a modern ghost town. How strange it feels to see the dilapidated old cafe sign advertising VHS rentals as an artifact of a bygone era that has more in common with the abandoned mining ruins of Garnet than with contemporary towns.

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Service or fuel station of some kind.
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Shadows and vines make the building uninviting and cold, even in the 80 degree heat.
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Time and wind have started to peel back the metal roof.
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Side entrance to the building.
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Nature has begun to reclaim the ruins.
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“Montana Gifts-Souvenirs, CAFE, video rentals.” Who knows how long this sign has advertised an empty store, but it’s unlikely that it was built in the middle of a tree. Between the tree and the VHS rentals, one could guess this has been abandoned more than 20 years.
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The cafe looks more like a storage unit nowdays. I wonder if the last owner used the building for storage rather than food? The sign shows markings from three or more businesses. Bold black letters spell out Stockman Bar. Below, the sign advertises “your choice of drinks” and “dutch lunche served”. Faded white lettering on top seems to indicate that the cafe for roadside sign was “D-mam Front Cafe” although I cannot make out more than that.
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Remains of the storefront.
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Wind or vandals? There was nothing inside worthy of note.
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Main door.
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Nothing makes an abandoned building feel like Fallout quite like a rusted old vending machine.
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Faded baby blue paint.
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Long after the people are gone, the building is empty, and its purpose forgotten, the warning sign stands, attempting to passively force compliance for a purpose none remembers.
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22 thoughts on “Ghost Town: Hammond, Montana

  1. There is forty people that get their mail at Hammond, Mt There is a post office grade school with 7 students , wool ware house. Years ago it supported a bar dance hall, cafe great over store, hardware store gas station.

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  2. I was just visiting with my mom about a place along Hwy 212 on the way back from South Dakota where we were snowbound over night (circa 1960). It was between Belle Fourche and Broadus. I believe that it was here in Hammond. It would have been after Christmas and we were overcome by a blizzard as were many other travelers. We got gas at the white building and stayed at the other building. It was a cafe and the post office might have been there. I remember that all of the children had a place to lay down to sleep and remember the adults were up talking about the snow situation and passing the time. Mom said that we did not leave until the next day when the storm cleared up. I remember how barren this wintery stop was and have very dim impressions of the inside of the building we stayed over in. I did sleep and we made it home the next day.
    Thank you for posting the pictures. They really helped to bring back this memory.

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    1. I have many memories of staying at the Brownfield ranch about 1964 and either Ralph or his brother, Leo, taught me to drive in an old jeep.

      Wonderful family!

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    1. HELLO I AM TRYING TO GET MORE INFO ON THE GAS STATION/HOUSE YOU SAID YOU
      LIVED THERE. CAN YOU TELL ME ANYTHING OR OLD PICTURES OF THE PLACE, WE BOUGHT
      IT, AND ARE LOOKING TO FIX IT BACK UP. OLD STYLE, THANK SO MUCH

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    1. One of the coolest parts of modern communication is things like this! When I saw the little stores and post office on my trip, I had no idea that I’d ever “meet” people with connections to it all.

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  3. Hello,

    I am a hobby based film-maker and am trying to make a cowboy film. Would it be possible to use some of your photos as a backdrop to some greenscreen filming I am planning. It is only for the benefit of family and friends and your photos would be a great help. I would note your site in the credits if you wished. Previous films are on youtube if you want to see previous efforts although i’d recommend that you don’t!!!

    Elliot

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    1. Elliot, I am certainly interested in supporting your project! Please provide artist credits for the images you use and you’re free to use any I’ve posted. Let me know which photos you are interested in, and I can look up the full-size full-resolution originals for you.

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  4. In 1963 my parents entered into a contract with my grandparents to purchase this restaurant/bar & truck stop. The business flourished in the first year, but my parents and paternal grandfather disagreed about the terms of the contract, and my parents ended up walking away from their
    investment. My family name is Weller. My grandfather was Vernon Weller, his wife’s name was Anne. My parents were Bessie and Bill Weller. Somewhere there is a postcard photo of my grandfather standing in front of the bar (which had a wooden boardwalk out front), wearing full western regalia complete with suspenders and a 6 shooter. He has a long white beard and curls down to his shoulders, and a big grin on his face. The caption says “Stockman’s Frontier from the Wish you Weller’s!”
    I attended first grade in that little one room school house on the hill before I was legally old enough to go to school, and the following year the placement exam in Broadus indicated that I should begin grammar school in the third grade. I have always thought our suffering school system could take a lesson from that teacher (Mrs Williams), who succeeded in teaching the three R’s to thirty kids of all different ages at the same time.
    We had a pet bobcat, named Tabbie, and my mom was Postmaster. My brother Ron, and my two sisters Karla & Vicki were teenagers, and my folks worked therm pretty hard in that place. I was too little to make a successful laborer, so I escaped having to wash dishes or wait tables. I spent my days playing outside with that bobcat and her adopted mom my cocker spaniel, Poochie.
    There were lots of pet bobcats, by the way. The local game warden or a local rancher would often be forced to put-down a mother bobcat who somehow had developed a taste for baby sheep. Then together they would go find the kittens, and the game warden would find them homes. Times have sure changed….
    Hammond had no conventional water & sewer system. My family took an old pickup truck to “the well” which, to my memory, was about 10 miles away. They would fill big barrels with water and haul them home. The water was dumped into a cistern, which fed the buildings in Hammond. There was a grey-water waste system, but no septic tank. So, you could run water in the sinks, but there were no flush toilets. The whole town used outhouses.
    There was a grocery store down the street…a little corner market. My family didn’t own that. It was run by a couple, but I don’t remember their name. I think they might have had a son who was older than me, but I don’t remember for sure.
    Thanks for posting all of these pictures!
    Lezlee Weller Gunsolley

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  5. I stayed in Hammond during the summer of 1960. There was a small motel that I believe was connected to the back of the bar. Once when the owners of the cafe went somewhere and left their daughter in charge, I worked there to help her out. I met the love of my life there. I’ve never been back, so it’s very interesting to see the photos of what Hammond looks like now. Thank you.

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  6. I’ve been looking some information up on WWII history, the Triple Nickle Battalion and balloon bombs when I came across Hammond, Montana. Even though I’m a Montana native, I wasn’t sure where Hammond, Montana was located. Did you know that on March 11, 1945 that a Japanese balloon bomb envelope and shroud lines were found in Hammond, Montana. Montana was second only to Oregon in the number of balloon bombs that were found. I’m working on information to tell visitors at the Pendleton Air Museum (www.pendletonairmuseum.org) in Pendleton, Oregon where I now live. You can find more information on this first attack on American soil at https://library.uoregon.edu/ec/e-asia/read/balloon.pdf Some interesting tidbits of history.

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