Sunday, September 15, 2013

Idaho Mining History: Boise River Gold Country

Boise River Gold Country is available for purchase online at its dedicated CreateSpace eStore. You can also order the book from Amazon and other online booksellers, such as Barnes & Noble. (If you prefer not to order online, local "bricks and mortar" bookstores will order it for you, but those stores will generally not stock ready-to-buy copies.)

The book tells the story, in words and pictures, of the settlement of the mountainous regions drained by the Forks of the Boise River. It all began in 1862, so 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the first towns in the area. That looming milestone prompted Idaho City merchant Skip Myers to ask me to write a new history of the region. (The few existing books on the topic were all out of print.) Boise River Gold Country is the result.

On every page, from the Introduction (“Setting the Scene”) through all the chapters, the book contains at least one image – generally historic photographs. Overall, I used over two hundred photos to supplement and illustrate the textual material.
Boise Basin Gold. Found ca 2009

Prospectors first discovered Idaho gold in late 1860, on the tributaries of the Clearwater River in North Idaho. Hordes of miners poured into the region. However, two years later, a party led by Moses Splawn and George Grimes found gold in the Boise Basin, a mountainous area northeast of today’s Boise. These fields proved far more extensive than the earlier finds.

Thus, it was Boise River gold that “gave legs” to the creation of Idaho Territory. The first Territorial census, in September 1863, counted nearly five times as many people in the Basin as in the northern camps and towns. A year later, that imbalance had increased to nearly seven to one. Large-scale gold mining continued in Boise River gold country for almost a century. Also, at the dawn of the Twentieth Century, logging began to increase in importance. Large-scale timber harvesting surpassed mining in value after about 1955, peaking around 1980.

Table of Contents
Setting the Scene
Chapter One: Before the Golden Age
Chapter Two: Gold Rush Creates Idaho
Chapter Three: Cooperative Mining Replaces the Sourdough
Chapter Four: Placer Mining Fades, Lode Mining Grows
Chapter Five: Dredging and Hardrock Mining
Chapter Six: Big Timber Takes an Interest
Chapter Seven: Mining Revisited
Chapter Eight: Recreation and Tourism
Chapter Nine: World War, and Afterwards
Chapter Ten: Identity TBD
Image Sources

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