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Deer Lodge, Montana is the county seat of Powell County. Today, the city is best known for the Montana State Prison, which is located there. However, Deer Lodge is the second oldest town in Montana, and has had several names since it was first founded, including LaBarge City, Spanish Fork, Cottonwood, Deer Lodge City, and currently Deer Lodge. Gold was discovered there in 1852, on what is now known as Gold Creek, which was the first discovery of gold in Montana. Pan and sluice mining began in 1860, attracting several other prospectors. Deer Lodge County was organized in 1865, as one of the original eight counties in the newly formed Territory of Montana, and the city of Deer Lodge served as its county seat. However, in 1883, Marcus Daly constructed a smelter in what became the city of Anaconda, whose population soon exceeded that of Deer Lodge and, in 1897, Anaconda was named the seat of Deer Lodge County. In 1901, the city of Deer Lodge and northern Deer Lodge County split the county, and Anaconda remained the seat of Deer Lodge County, while the newly created county became Powell County, with Deer Lodge as its seat. Deer Lodge was also an important railroad town once, as the division headquarters of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, until it closed in 1980. Deer Lodge was once the home of the College of Montana, the first institution of higher learning in the state, which operated from 1878 to 1916. Deer Lodge is north of Warm Springs and south of Garrison.



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