Saturday, August 17, 2019
Wood River Valley’s Mining History to be Told
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One can still stumble on mine shafts, such as this one in the foothills east of Hailey.
 
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Bellevue historian Tom Blanchard will reprise his talk on Idaho mining history at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Hailey Public Library.

The free talk, which Blanchard gave last spring, will include a look at mining in the Wood River Valley, which was one of the big draws for white settlers in the late 1800s. Blanchard will discuss what drove mining development, how it influenced local politics and how it spurred competition between Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum.

“Tom’s breadth of knowledge about state and local mining history is remarkable,” said Kristin Fletcher, the Hailey library's program specialist. “He’s always digging up new stories to share so it’s never the same talk twice.”

Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum—and even long-gone towns like Muldoon-- were established following the discovering of prosperous mines in the nearby gulches.

And the development spurred a fierce rivalry between Hailey and Bellevue, which still echoes today.

The first smelter was built in Hailey in 1881, and the larger, more technologically advanced Philadelphia smelter was built a few months later in Ketchum.

Together they produced more than a million dollars in 1882, and the railroad arrived to carry the ore out in 1883.

The silver crash of 1893 put a damper on things, but mining continued into the 1900s, with the Triumph Mine being one of the last to give up the ghost in the mid-1900s.

COMING UP:

Ted Dyer will discuss the life and work of Ezra Pound, Hailey’s native son and a literary genius, on Aug. 29. The lecture is being presented as part of the library’s year-long Centennial Celebration.

 

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