Home of Frank Tyro, Coolidge Ghost Town. Tyro was postmaster at Coolidge. There is a sauna behind the house, reflecting the influence from Butte's Finnish miners.
Mining began in the Elkhorn Mining District when rich veins of silver were discovered high in the Pioneer Mountains in 1872 by Preston Sheldon. The claim was called the "Old Elkhorn” because a pair of elk horns had been found near the discovery site. Two years later, another major vein was found by Mike T. Steele that was called the Storm Claim. As more prospectors began to flood the area, dozens of claims and mines began operations; however, the work was severely restricted due to the lack of economical transportation. In 1893, when silver prices crashed, all area mines were closed for the next ten years and only small prospectors working their claims remained. However, by 1903, silver prices had recovered enough to restart some of the Elkhorn operations and new finds stimulated interested in reopening the Elkhorn Mine
The town of Coolidge was created by William R. Allen, a Republican who had been elected Montana's lieutenant governor. In 1908 Allen created the Boston-Montana Development Corporation and began buying mining claims in the Elkhorn Mining District. As early as 1919, the community of Coolidge had begun to thrive and at this time work was beginning on the mine tunnel. Allen was said to have named the town after his friend Calvin Coolidge. It was rumored that the future President was an investor in the Boston-Montana Development Corporation. By 1922 the town had both telephone service and electricity provided by a power line running from Divide over the hill to Coolidge. Elkhorn mill, the largest mill in Montana, had the capacity to process 750 tons of ore per day with a recovery rate of 90-93%. Most of the ore processed by the mill came from the Idanha tunnel located at the upper camp, which also sported a sawmill, three bunk houses, a boarding house, a blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, and several cabins.
By the time the mine tunnel and operation were ready to go, the national economy took a downturn and silver prices plummeted. In 1923, the whole operation had gone into receivership. W.R. Allen lost his personal fortune and control of the property. In 1927 a Montana Power Company dam failed and water washed out twelve miles and several bridges of Boston-Montana's railroad. The school district was abandoned and in 1932 the post office was discontinued and the mail was ordered to Wise River.
In 1981, the Elkhorn mines were bought by Timberline Minerals, Inc. who, once again, completed some exploratory prospecting work, but this lasted only a couple of years.
The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest runs the length of the Pioneer Mountain Range. Craggy granite peaks topping 10,000 feet in elevation rise to the east while gentler, rolling hills and forested terrain stretch out to the west. The byway passes through mountain meadows, lodgepole pine forests, and broad willow bottoms. The road gently ascends a 7,800 foot divide between Wise River, flowing north, and Grasshopper Creek, flowing south. Historic sites such as the Coolidge ghost town of Coolidge, the abandoned Elkhorn silver mine, and Elkhorn hot springs are found along the way.