Jefferson County carries a feeling of the old west to those who visit. In the heart of Jefferson County is the county seat, Boulder. It is the state's 49th largest city with a population of about 1300. Boulder is half way between the state capital of Helena and the mining town of Butte. It is located on Interstate 15 at State Highway 69. Just south of Boulder, off Highway 69, is the "Not Quite a Ghost Town" of Elkhorn. Its quiet streets watch many visitors come to see the old buildings and artifacts from its boom time of the Late 1880's. Just off I-15 at exit 160 south of Boulder are the remote ghost towns of Comet and Gray Eagle. Each had an active mine for its support during their boom days. All around the towns of Boulder and Basin, (9 miles south of Boulder on I-15), are old log and rock buildings from a time when mineral mining was the wealth of the territory. Many of these buildings are still in use. Some have been renovated for more modern use and comfort.
East of Whitehall is the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. Don't miss a visit while you are in the Boulder and Whitehall area.
Recreation Park, Boulder (County Fairgrounds)
The Jefferson County Recreation Park, located just south of Boulder off highway 69, is also home to the Jefferson County 'A Fair of the Heart' and the Jefferson County Rodeo. The Park is open to the public throughout the year and, has picnic tables, swings, a volleyball net and a miniature golf course. There are lots of trees and a gazebo to provide some shade. Restrooms are open during the summer months. Three of the buildings on the park grounds, the Volunteer Hall, Loafing Barn and Square Dance Barn are available for rent for special functions and events.
A mysterious quality of Montana resides near Boulder and Basin, in the internationally known Health Mines, recently featured in National Geographic magazine. While owners of the health mines do not guarantee any cures, some visitors claim that their health has greatly improved from breathing the gas within the mines.
The history of the mines as possible cures for various ailments began by accident in 1950. A California woman suffering with arthritis accompanied her husband, a miner, into the Free Enterprise uranium mine in Boulder. Following her visit to the mine, she claimed to find freedom from the continuos pain she had suffered. She told her experience to another California woman who then visited the mine and also reported relief from arthritis pain. More visitors came as the word spread among chronic pain sufferers. Then "Life" magazine eventually caught wind of the stories and sent a reporter, and photographer team to record the "Stampede of Pilgrims" to the Boulder and Basin area. In a year's time, nearly a thousand visitors came to visit the mine in hopes of relief from pain. More than a dozen national publications and TV networks have carried stories about the mines since the first coverage by "Life" magazine. Thousands of people now come to the Boulder and Basin area each year, from all over the United States and Canada, to visit the health mines. Many people have found that the health mines relieve their pain where heavy medications do not. Others have found that they greatly reduce dosage or stop taking medications all together. Some people have been coming to the mines for as many as 25 years to gain relief from arthritis, emphysema, bursitis, cataracts, and many other ailments.
There are five health mines in the area of Boulder and Basin. Basin is seven miles from Boulder, south on I-15. These five mines include the Free Enterprise in Boulder, the Merry Widow and Earth Angel in Basin, and Sunshine and High Ore between Boulder and Basin. All five mines have regular visitors who have been returning for years and have claims of miraculous relief from many ailments.-
Boulder Hot Springs
South of Boulder on Hwy-69 is the Boulder Hot Springs, with its natural hot water pools. It carries an atmosphere of a time during prohibition and the roaring 20's. It was once a hot spot for the politicians and well to do citizens around the Helena area.