Wood River, Alturas (Blaine) County, Idaho
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Major Lead-Silver Discoveries Spark Rush to Wood River Area
by Evan Filby
On April 26, 1879, Warren P. Callahan filed on a lead-silver claim at the base of the ridge a mile or so west of the present town of Bellevue, Idaho. This filing was a major milestone for what would quickly build into a rush into the Wood River mining districts.
Wood River Valley, looking south. Illustrated History, 1899.
The Boise Basin gold discoveries of 1862 drew thousands of hopeful miners to southern Idaho. Soon, all the best claims had been staked, so prospectors began to broaden their explorations. Various parties visited the Wood River area in 1863-1865, and a few found enough “color” to do some mining there. However, the finds offered only minor returns, so no one particularly wanted to risk the unfriendly Indian bands that frequented the area.
In 1864, Callahan himself reportedly found the galena lode he would later claim. (From there, he went on into Montana.) Some prospectors knew that galena, a lead sulfide ore, often contains small amounts of silver. An ounce in twenty pounds of galena would be among the highest known silver fractions.
Few in the West, however, knew how to process the ore. Moreover, even a lode rich in galena versus useless stone, and high in silver fraction, required a major investment to pay out, because of the processing cost. In 1864, with gold fever in the air, no one had much interest in looking for silver.
By around 1875, however, silver discoveries in Colorado and Nevada had made shrewd (or lucky) investors fabulously wealthy – the Comstock Lode being probably the most famous. People all over the West searched eagerly for the next big strike. However, in Idaho deadly clashes with indigenous Indians delayed serious exploration until 1879.
Numerous other filings followed Callahan’s and triggered a substantial rush into the region in 1880. The towns of Bellevue and Ketchum soon followed, and then Hailey in 1881. An experienced miner from Silver City toured the area and noted (Owyhee Avalanche, Silver City, Idaho, February 26, 1881) that the prospects were “exceedingly rich.” He also wrote, “There are about five hundred people in Bellevue at present, and the town contains four saloons, seven stores, five hotels and restaurants, two livery stables, a Postoffice and jail … ”
Main Street, Hailey, 1888. Hailey Historic Preservation Commission.
For awhile, all the ore had to be shipped out of state. Loads went first by freight wagon to the railroad station at Kelton, Utah. Trains carried it to smelters in Salt Lake, or even as far away as Denver. To offset the substantial expense, investors selected only the richest ores for shipment. One ore body, reportedly the richest ever found in the U. S. up to then, assayed out at “112 ounces of silver to the ton.”
As soon as possible, developers built smelters in Hailey and then Ketchum. Their initial capacities were limited and ore shipments continued until they could be upgraded.
Finally, in May 1883, the Oregon Short Line completed a branch line into Hailey and the production of the mines skyrocketed. The railroad extended its branch into Ketchum in August 1884.
As so often happened, the boom times passed rather quickly. There would be later discoveries, but the Wood River economy soon turned more to stock raising and farming.
source: South Fork Companion
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Site Report – Wood River
Historic-site reports contain information designed to assist in two preservation functions. One is preservation planning at the local level. The other is the work of federal agencies in carrying out their responsibilities to comply with historic-preservation requirements prescribed by federal statutes and regulations. These reports summarize local archaeological, historical, and geographical contexts; existing surveys of historic sites; architectural, engineering, industrial; and other cultural resources; and available maps and literature concerning each area. Natural geographical, rather than governmental, boundaries have been used to identify seventy-two areas that vary greatly in size. Site reports reflect a broad cultural and geographical disparity characteristic of diverse regional components found in Idaho, but the areas are designed to incorporate cultural elements of immediate local significance that need to be taken into account for preservation planning.
Wood River descends from high mountain sources (forested aside from bare rock exposures characteristic of steep slopes) to a fairly broad valley prior to emerging into a central Snake plains segment. This mining, logging, ranching, and resort area has highways up Wood River and Trail Creek connecting with Stanley Basin and Lost River farther north. Rail service reaches Hailey and Ketchum. Noted particularly for superlative ski slopes and Silver Creek’s fishing resources, this area has become a diversified resort development of national significance. Elevations rise from at Magic Reservoir to 12,078 at Mount Hyndman.
Mineral discoveries on Wood River go back to the gold rush years following the Boise Basin mining excitement of 1862. A premature stampede to Wood River was reported early the next spring, and serious prospecting continued there in 1864. Nothing of great interest turned up then, except for Warren P. Callahan’s discovery of a galena lode which he noticed right along Goodale’s Cutoff south of later Bellevue, when he was passing through the valley on his way to Montana. Prospectors set out for Wood River from Rocky Bar again in 1865: most finished their search entirely disappointed, but some of them found some claims worth locating near the divide between Camas Creek and Wood River in a district later known as the Hailey Gold Belt.
Indian opposition helped to hold back any development there for fourteen years. Eventually two of the original discoverers returned during the Wood River rush and saw their mines flourish. Meanwhile, Warren P. Callahan came back to examine his galena lode near Goodale’s Cutoff. He and his brother located a claim there September 3, 1873, and followed up with another in 1874. They did their annual assessment work regularly for the next four years.
Then the Bannock War of 1878 kept them out. During that time, they displayed galena samples from their lode in Rocky Bar with little effect. Miners in Rocky Bar got excited about gold and silver but could care less about lead. By the end of the Bannock War, though, times were changing. Profitable methods of smelting lead and silver ores had been worked out in Eureka, Nevada, and improved still more (for areas where the ore could not be worked as advantageously as in Eureka) in Leadville, Colorado. Better transportation also was on the way with railway construction extending through Idaho not too far from Wood River. Lead prospects that amounted to little before the Bannock War now seemed worth developing. So Warren P. Callahan came back to relocate his galena lode, April 26, 1879, and other prospectors began to look over the entire Wood River area. David Ketchum came across some promising lead silver mines at the head of Wood River in May. Frank W. Jacobs found the Queen of the Hills — one of the major producers of the region — near later Bellevue (five or six miles north of Callahan’s property) on July 15, and by August another belt of lead silver ledges at the head of Little Smoky (where limited gold discoveries in 1864 had led to a modest amount of mining from 1873 on) brought mining to the Wood River divide northwest of the Callahan and Jacobs lodes.
Still other mines were found near later Ketchum and Hailey that summer. By this time W. H. Broadhead had a lot of uniformly good assays (100 to 140 ounces of silver per ton) from the upper Wood River mines, where the town of Galena was organized early in September. Jacobs City (renamed Broadford in 1880) followed almost immediately on lower Wood River where Frank Jacobs had turned up the Queen of the Hills, and forty hardy settlers prepared to spend the winter in scattered parts of the extensive new mining region. W. P. Callahan shipped out a batch of ore to test that fall in Salt Lake: with an average recovery of $431.46 in gold and silver a ton, he proved that the new mines would pay well.
Thousands of fortune hunters joined the rush to Wood River in 1880. New towns, destined to overshadow Galena and Broadford, sprang up in the valley. A post office called Ketchum was established April 19, and the townsite for the new community was laid out May 2. (The townsite locators still were calling the place Leadville, unaware that a postal clerk in Washington had refused to allow any more Leadvilles and had decided to call the place Ketchum, which he named for David Ketchum who had discovered the upper Wood River mines the year before.) Bullion City followed discovery of the Bullion Mine May 28 and got a big boost with the addition of the Mayflower and Jay Gould, July 4. Bellevue got a post office June 12, and settlement followed quickly. With discovery of the Minnie Moore — the most important of the early Wood River mines — at nearby Broadford, September 22, Bellevue had genuine promise of becoming the major city of the region. A winter population of three to four hundred stayed there after the rush.
Then John Hailey (whose Utah, Idaho, and Oregon State Company served Wood River until the railroad came) took up land between Bellevue and Ketchum, December 6, 1880, and that month another trading center was started on Hailey’s site. Rivalry between Hailey and Bellevue entertained the inhabitants of Wood River for the next several years.
Hailey had the advantage of organized promotion by the Idaho-Oregon Land Improvement Company that also established Caldwell, Mountain Home, and tried to take over Weiser) with an energetic developer backed by lots of capitol resources. Robert E. Strahorn managed the promotion, and Andrew W. Mellon (later Secretary of the Treasury) got some useful business experience as secretary of the townsite company while a young man.
Shipment of ore from then Wood River mines still was fairly limited in 1880. Some Boise owners of the Idaho Mine at Bullion sent out $17,000 in the fall, but that amounted to only a modest beginning of what they had in sight. The other mines, even at Bullion, were not even that far along. Smelters were needed close to the mines, and another Boise company, headed by David Falk and Alonzo Wolters, put up the Wood River Smelting Company plant at Hailey the next season. Hailey profited substantially from the early development of the mines at Hailey the next season. Hailey profited substantially from the early development of the mines at Bullion which used the new smelter, and production rose greatly in 1881. With $80,000 to its credit, the Hailey smelter accounted for not much more than 10% of the total. Another Wood River promoter, with interests around Ketchum in 1880, went east that winter to Philadelphia where major capital investment for the region was obtained. During the summer a large smelter was built at Ketchum, and other smaller ones were started for other mines.
By this time lead miners at Eureka, Nevada, had learned that small smelters did not work very well, and the Philadelphia smelter profited from that lesson. It always had more capacity than it needed, and used the most advanced methods and equipment. Opening October 8, 1881, for a ten-day test, the Philadelphia smelter prepared for major production in 1882. The Wood River mines exceeded a million dollars that year, with close to a fifth of the total handled by the Philadelphia smelter.
Most of the ore still was being shipped out to Omaha, Salt Lake, Kansas City, or Denver, but at this point the Philadelphia Mining and Smelting Company decided to offer prices competitive with the outside smelters. The plant was doubled in size the next spring, and an electric light plant (the earliest in Idaho) was installed then. The Philadelphia Company acquired a lot of new mines in 1882 to help utilize the larger capacity, and other investors put considerable capital into similar mine purchases. Altogether, over one and a half million dollars was put into the Wood River mines in 1882. Philadelphia and Salt Lake City were important sources for funds. Fourteen major sales took place in 1882, the largest being the Mayflower at Bullion which was purchased for $375,000. E. A. Wall, who already had important properties at Bullion, added the Bullion mine to his holdings, spending $200,000 for this acquisition. Sparing the $200,000 when he bought it, this production amounted to little more than development work.
The same could be said for most of the Wood River mines up to 1882.
Transportation improvements — particularly construction of the Oregon Short Line to Hailey, May 7, 1883, and on to Ketchum, August 19, 1884, allowed the early Wood River mines to reach their maximum production. Up through 1882 for the mines around Hailey, and until most of 1884 for those at Ketchum and beyond, miners preferred to hold back until they could profit by shipping at reduced railroad rates. They expected to save $20 a ton over wagon freighting.
Rail transportation also provided faster, more comfortable passenger service. Until the Oregon Short Line entered the area, daily stage lines from the Utah Northern at Blackfoot and the Central Pacific at Kelton served Hailey and Ketchum. Even after the railroad arrived, stages and freight wagons still had to take care of places like Bullion and Galena that were too high in the mountains to be reached by rail. And by the beginning of 1884, a new toll road up Trail Creek from Ketchum to Lost River and Bayhorse provided a route that served as a worthy test for H. C. Lewis’ huge ore wagons that are still preserved in Ketchum.
With the railroad boom, Bellevue, Hailey, and Ketchum reached their peak. For a time, Bellevue had two daily newspapers (until the railroad went on to Hailey), and Hailey had three. (These were not the earliest daily newspapers in Idaho by any means, but at that time they were the only ones.) With Idaho’s earliest phone service, as well as Idaho’s original electric light plants, Wood River rates as the most progressive region in the territory.
Producing over two million a year for the next three seasons after the railroad brought added prosperity in 1884, mining on Wood River offered wonderful returns to those fortunate enough to own the right properties. In a single year, Isaac I. Lewis’ Elkhorn Mine near Ketchum yielded ore sold to the smelter for $161,841.72 for a cost of only $35,372.33: while this did not amount to a really big producer, a net profit of over $126,000 a year gave its owner capital to invest in organizing the First National Bank of Ketchum in February, 1884, and amounted to a profit of almost 80% of the yield. The largest of the early producers — the Minnie Moore — was sold to a director of the Bank of England, February 25, 1884, for $450,000 with ore reserves of $675,000 on hand. With a declining price for silver, operating expenses exceeded profits somewhat, but before the British operation shut down, the mine had produced well over a million more than had been blocked out at the time of purchase, and profits far more than repaid the initial investment.
An even bigger sale (unaccompanied by such spectacular returns) of the Bullion Mine for $1,050,000 at the same time — with $685,000 in cash, and the rest in shares — also held great promise with around one to two million dollars worth of ore still in sight. This investment, also of British capital, marked the height of the early Wood River mines.
When the Triumph was discovered on the east fork early in June, the owners declined a $40,000 offer for an underdeveloped, but fabulous looking, prospect. Eventually the Triumph turned out more value than the $20 million or so from all the early Wood River properties combined — but it took until 1927 to get major production going there. Some of the Triumph metal sold at higher prices, and altogether $28 to $29 million was realized there between 1936 and 1957. Long before that, the early Wood River mines had gone into decline.
Labor difficulties, generally brought about by attempts to reduce miners’ wages in face of expected rising costs and declining prices, foreshadowed the end of Wood River’s early prosperity. On July 20, 1884, the miners at the Minnie Moore struck in protest of failure to receive their pay, and ten days later they won a settlement that warded off wage reductions which had been promised. But early in 1885 the miners’ union emerged less successfully from a similar dispute. Under threat of military intervention if it were necessary, the mine union lost their fight to maintain their wage levels, and after a lot of protest and excitement around Bellevue, the mines went on to attain their peak production during the early years. Cost reductions through 10% wage cuts helped the various Wood River districts to maintain high production for two more years. An abrupt drop in 1888 (in which the total fell almost in half, but still exceeded a million dollars), followed by a much more severe collapse after 1892, reflected an abruptly falling price of silver.
What had been low grade ores were ruined, and what production there was had to be shipped out for smelting. The Philadelphia smelter had to shut down with the 1888 decline: with capacity to handle everything that Wood River produced, the Ketchum smelter suffered from a remote location in which technically trained specialists were hard to find and where repairs to equipment were hard to make. Large smelters in places like Omaha got ore from many different places, and could mix various ores in the combinations needed to satisfy the complex chemical requirements for processing refractory lead ores. In the early years of high grade production the central Idaho smelters could afford to ship ore back and forth by wagon to each other to meet such needs. And the Ketchum smelter could afford to import iron ore from Wyoming, coke from Utah, and to make large amounts of expensive — and not too satisfactory — charcoal in twenty-one charcoal kilns. After the Philadelphia smelter in Ketchum shut down, costs of sending ore by rail to distant smelters ($10 or more a ton) exceeded the actual smelting cost of $6.50 to $7.50 a ton. Reopened from 1902 to 1906, the Minnie Moore put out more than another million dollars in spite of such costs. But by then, the early years of mining prosperity on Wood River were over.
Industrial archaeological and engineering sites summary:
Surface evidence of placer mining in this area offers opportunities for study of industrial procedures utilized in historic production. Hydraulic pits, patterns of dredging operations, or tailings that distinguish hill claims from stream claims — or that identify Chinese services — provide information of historic importance. Prospector’s pits disclose gravels that were searched unsuccessfully for gold.
Ditches, flumes, stream diversions, and similar evidence of water sources also are important.
Lode mining operations left a variety of indications, many of them relatively permanent in nature. Disturbance of surface outcrops includes trenches and exploratory shafts. In other places, tunnels and raises or stopes that reached surface outlets reveal important aspects of mining activity. If accessible, underground workings have still greater importance for industrial archaeology and engineering analysis. Abandoned tools and equipment, along with items like timbering in tunnels and stopes, add to this record.
excerpted from: Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 206 Revised December 1981
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by Bob Hartman
When in the spring of 1881, the citizens of Alturas county voted to remove the county seat from Rocky Bar to some point in the Wood River mining district, the town of Hailey had not even been founded. Before the election, which came four months later, this town had not only been laid out and started on, but it was successful in beating out Bellevue for the county seat.
In May, 1881, H. Z. Burkhart opened a stationery store in the new town of Hailey. Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Fox were the second arrivals for business. When he opened his grocery store, his wife opened a boarding tent, with a dirt floor.
Hailey was named after John Hailey. Hailey filed a homestead on the townsite in 1879, and a desert land claim in 1880 added another 440 acres. He, and his partners, had the townsite surveyed on April 20, 1881.
John was born Aug. 29, 1835, in Smith County, Tennessee. Moved to Missouri in 1848, Oregon in 1853, Washington in 1862.In the spring of 1863 he ran a pack train from the Columbia River to the Boise Basin mines, and by 1864 he had a stage line running over the same route. He was elected Idaho Territory delegate to Congress 1873, and again in 1885. He died April 10, 1921, at his home in Boise.
John Hailey is considered to be the founding father of the Idaho State Historical Society.
(History of Idaho: Hiram T. French)
Photos shared by Bob Hartman
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Drug Store and Nevada Chop House – Hailey, Idaho 1884
source: Idaho State Historical Society – Western Mining History
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Hailey in Ruins
by Rick Just
With today’s 24-hour news cycle we sometimes reel from disaster to disaster. News did not travel so fast in the summer of 1889, but residents of Idaho must have felt a little whip-sawed nevertheless. First in the news, on May 31, there was the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania, sweeping more than 2,200 people to their deaths. Then came the Great Seattle Fire on June 6, burning 25 square blocks of that city to the ground. Then, on July 2, Idaho got its own disaster.
The fire alarm started ringing in Hailey at 1:30 in the morning and didn’t stop until the sun was well up. A fire had started in the Nevada Bakery. As the fire spread, townspeople saw that a row of frame buildings between the bakery and the Merchant’s Hotel was going to be lost. The hotel, though, was made of brick, so there the fire would stop. Or so they hoped. The flames barely slowed, engulfing the hotel. Other buildings in town were called fireproof until they were turned to tinder.
Within a couple of hours, most of the businesses in Hailey were little more than ash. About four square blocks burned. Remarkably, the conflagration did not touch any residence, and it left the offices of two newspapers standing as if it wanted nothing more than publicity.
source: Speaking of Idaho
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Bellevue Idaho, The Gate City
Bellevue is situated about five miles south east of Hailey. In 1880 the first building was erected there. It was a log building owned by Owen Riley, who was the first Postmaster. L. Young succeeded him in that office. The present Postmaster is Mrs. Florence V. Clark. In the building in which the first Post Office was located was a drug store owned by W. T. Riley and conducted by J. J. Tracy. The latter moved to Hailey in 1881 and has been conducting his own drug store here since that date. In 1883 a charter for the City of Bellevue was granted by the legislature, and with some amendments, is the charter under which the city still operates. Bellevue had a weekly newspaper, a bank, a school house, good business buildings and residences, and did a thriving business while the mines near Broad ford flourished. It was also the county seat of Logan County for five years. Today it has several general stores, a hardware store, a drug store, two garages with service stations combined, three churches, a grade school and an accredited high school, etc. It is one of the large lamb and sheep shipping stations.
On December 6, 1880, Hon. John Hailey filed on a desert land entry of 440 acres, for which he was granted a patent on April 5, 1884. This is the land on which the principal part of the city of Hailey is situated. The town was named for him, a pioneer of pioneers, and who served as a delegate to Congress for two terms. His first term began March 4, 1873 and ended March 4, 1875, and his second term began March 4, 1885, and ended March 4, 1887. The town-site was located by John Hailey, A. H. Boomer, W. T. Riley and E. S. Chase. It is situated about five miles northwest of Bellevue and about 12 miles southeast of Ketchum. It has an elevation at the Court House of 5332 feet. The promoters of this town-site at first thought of locating it at the mouth of Indian Creek, about three miles north of town, and naming it Marshall, in honor of Doctor R. W. Marshall, who was the first doctor on Wood River. But that idea was abandoned and the town-site never was established there. Ernest Cramer, S. J. Friedman, J. C. Fox, W. T. Riley, J. J. Tracy, Leon Fuld and H. Z. Burkhart were some of the early merchants, all of whom came in the spring of 1881.
Ernest Cramer erected the first building in the spring of 1881. It was a log structure situated on Lot 10, Block 42, and was used as a business building. The town developed very rapidly as the mines at Bullion and vicinity which were tributary to Hailey were being worked at capacity. Most of the merchants conducted their business in tents until they were able to have suitable buildings erected. Geo. M. Parsons was the first Postmaster and Leon Fuld the second. Austin A. Lambert is the present Postmaster. H. Z. Burkhart had the first express office. He burned 350,000 brick for the Court House, Alturas hotel and other buildings. J. C. Fox retired in 1927 with the record of the oldest dry goods merchant in the state.
source: Idaho Genealogy
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Ketchum, Alturas County, Idaho
Ketchum was first called Leadville. Albert Griffith was there in 1879. He left that fall but returned in April, 1880, and resided there permanently until his death. In 1879 there was only one cabin there and it was owned by David Ketchum, who lived in it. When application was made to the proper authorities for a post office by the name of Leadville, it was refused. Application was then made for a post office by the name of Ketchum and the same was granted. The name of the town was then changed to Ketchum in honor of David Ketchum. The Post Office was established in 1880 and William H. Greenhow was the first Postmaster. The present Postmaster is Jack Riley.
Ketchum is situated about 12 miles northwest of Hailey and is the northern terminus of the Wood River Branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. Even before the advent of the railroad it was a prosperous town. At one time it had three banks, seven daily stages, two hotels, several restaurants, seven stores, seven black smith shops, three doctors, three lawyers, six livery stables, two assay offices, a weekly newspaper, several saloons, etc., and its population was estimated at nearly 2,000.
Albert Griffith, Paul P. Baxter, Geo. W. Mc Coy, William H. Greenhow, Theo Hage and Geo P. Hodson were among its earliest residents. Isaac I. Lewis, T. E. Clohecy and J. O. Swift were some of its earliest business men. William Hyndman was an early resident of Ketchum. He was a Major in the Civil war, a practicing attorney-at-law and a prominent mining man. He died in Ketchum October 1, 1896.
Horace C. Lewis, son of I. I. Lewis, of Ketch um, started in business while quite young. He organized the Ketchum & Challis Toll Road company and was one of its stockholders. This company built the first wagon road over the Trail Creek summit. He owned the freighting outfit that freighted into Challis, Clayton, Bay horse, Custer and Bonanza. He had the mail and express contracts for the above mentioned towns and did practically all the freighting in that region. He had a large forwarding house and express office at Ketchum. He had the largest freight wagons in the State. They were drawn by 20-mule teams. He continued in the freighting business for a few years after the building of the railroad from Blackfoot to Mackay in 1901. At the time of the Thunder Mountain boom in 1902-3, he opened the road from Ketchum to Thunder Mountain in the dead of winter. On December 29, 1898, he conveyed to Samuel E. Rigg of Spokane, Washington, for a consideration of $80,000.00, the Croesus lode, Croesus Extension lode, Croesus millsite and Croesus Extension millsite, all patented, situated in Scorpion Gulch about three and one-half miles southwest of Hailey. He died January 19, 1911.
Ketchum is now quite a summer resort. In the spring of 1929, Carl E. Brandt had the hot water from the Guyer Hot Springs, (about three miles west of town) piped into town, and a large natatorium built. This water has a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 31 tourist cabins heated by this hot water and supplied with all modern conveniences. The town has two good general stores, one hotel, one restaurant, one garage, one service station, etc. It is one of the greatest sheep and lamb shipping stations in the state.
source: Idaho Genealogy
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Philadelphia Smelter: A Key Component of the 1880s Silver Rush in the Wood River Valley, Idaho
Slide show by John W. Lundin
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Guyer Hot Springs
by Bob Hartman
Developed by Isaac Lewis in 1887 Guyer Hot Springs, located in the Warm Springs area west of Ketchum included a bathhouse and restaurant-bar with a dozen rooms, including a ladies’ parlor, along with a twenty-by-forty-foot dance floor. Lewis wanted Guyer to attract Easterners with both the money and the time to reach remote Idaho, and was pretty successful. Local families also enjoyed Guyer Hot Springs, given the lack of local entertainment.
In June 1914, a new mission-style hotel, and bathing facilities was opened to the public.
Sun Valley: An Extraordinary History, by W. Holland describes the resort “At Guyer, an elevated bridge with guard rails crossed Warm Springs Creek, where paths led to the hillside hot springs. Just below the bridge was a large water wheel, which cooled water for the bathhouse. Guyer hotel guests enjoyed hot and cold water in their rooms, an open-air plunge, and bathing facilities separated for the sexes.
“Guyer Hot Springs was a fashionable resort. Local ladies wore plumed hats and sixteen-button gloves while they played tennis or croquet, swung on a big wooden swing, and danced in the pavilions. Women splashed in long pantaloons and dresses.”
Raymond Guyer, Lewis’s son, took over the resort in 1913, and changed the original structure into a beautiful two-story building with gables. The plunges and baths were kept in their original location near the springs, but he moved the hotel up to the bench above the river. Charles H. Grout, a former manager of the Idanha Hotel in Boise, was hired to oversee the resort when it reopened in March 1914. The resort boasted an electrical lighting system of it’s own powered by a turbine engine
Raymond sold out to Shoshone retailer, Carl E. Brandt, in 1927. Brandt closed the resort, and piped the hot spring water underground into town to the St. George Hotel. When the St. George burned down the next year, Brandt built the Bald Mountain Hot Springs motel and pool next door.
Today Guyer Hot Springs are used only to heat a few homes in the Warm Springs area of Ketchum.
page updated Sept 19, 2019