Saturday, March 23, 2013

Where are Kirkville, Clark, and Stuart Gulch?

Copied below is part of the topographic map from USGS Professional Paper 78, focusing on Philipsburg and vicinity. The surveying for this map was done in 1905, on horseback and using plane table methods, and is a classic example of the fine work of the early US Geological Survey. But perfect it is not. 

Many of our place names for topographic features come from this map, including certain errors and mis-spellings. For example, the lake and gulch just north of town were originally named for James Stuart. Stuart was instrumental in bringing the St. Louis and Montana Mining Company into the district to develop several mines and build a mill, which led to the construction boomtown of Philipsburg being established in 1867. Yet both the gulch and lake were mis-spelled "Stewart" on the topo map, a mistake that for the sake of history needs to be changed.

Another misleading feature of the map is that the cartographers placed the label "Kirkville" immediately to the west of the Bimetallic mill complex, located where I have added a red "B" onto the map. This district or "suburb" of Philipsburg was originally named "Clark", after Charles Clark, one of the founders of the Bimetallic Company. It shows as such on both company maps and on the Sanborn maps. In the 1900 census the district is enumerated as the "Bimetallic Precinct", and is the residence of Paul A. Fusz, the President of the Granite-Bimetallic Consolidated Mining Company,  his Chinese Cook Tom Fact, his Superintendent W. Ziegler, and numerous people who worked in the nearby mill. The Kirk family lived in "Philipsburg South", and "Kirkville" was a name that was applied to the residences along lower Frost Creek, at the location marked with the red K on the map. Most of Kirkville was on the Sea Mew lode owned by James A. Murray.

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