In 1879 a rumor spread telling of the discovery of gold in Yogo Creek, hundreds of men flocked. Peak population was reported at 1,200 and 1,500, between Yogo City and Hoover City (only a few hundred yards apart). Little gold was turned up so the men left. By 1883 almost everyone was gone, 10 years later only a dozen men remained.
In 1894 Jake Hoover and Frank Hobson again thought they had turned up gold, and began their digging once again. This time they started noticing small blue pebbles, but threw them out with the waste. A friend, who was a teacher, asked if she could take some gold to school to show her class. When she returned she thanked the men for the sapphires. They had no idea what a sapphire was, but they caught on quick to their discovery. This, however, is only one story of the discovery of sapphires, there are many more.
Yogo Gulch is the site of the famous mines which produced upwards of $10,000,000 worth of some of the most beautiful sapphires in the world. Jim Ettien sold the claim originally for a paltry $1,600. In 1952 the U.S. Geological Survey claimed the Yogo deposit to be the most important gem locality in the world.
Directions: Yogo Gulch is located in the central area of Montana. It is southeast of Great Falls, near Windam, toward Utica on Highway 87. Proceed south of Utica to Sapphire Village on the gravel road.
Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce, Lewistown, MT 59457