Idaho History Oct 6, 2019

Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County, Idaho

(part 3) Transportation

1864 Map Boise Payette Valley

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Boise City stage, 1864-1870

Idaho State Historical Society. Courtesy Evan Filby, South Fork Companion
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1864 Map Goodrich Trail


The Goodrich Trail

Following the general route of the gold rush which swept about 1,500 prospectors from Boise Basin to Rocky Bar Basin in the latter part of May 1863, the Goodrich Trail offered some improvements over the terrain covered by the original miners’ route. The South Boise gold rush was described by H. O. Rogers in June 1863, as traversing “one continuous line of high mountains, rocky and steep” and penetrating “canyons deep and narrow.” Soon, though, some fifteen miles of river canyon in the middle fork of the Boise were eliminated by the Goodrich Trail.

Established after the country was better known, the latter crossed from Idaho City over a ridge separating Boise Basin on More’s Creek from Barber Flat on the north fork of the Boise.

Mounting another ridge between present Barber and Alexander flats, the trail descended to Goodrich’s ranch on the middle fork of the Boise. Here the Goodrich brothers kept a hotel, known variously as 24 Mile House or as the Middle Boise Hotel. Traffic over the Goodrich Trail generally spent the night at this point; the trip required two days. Here in the summer of 1864, a weary traveler could obtain “for dinner some mush and milk and a cup of coffee. Charge $1.50; a drink of brandy, 50 cents, and a cigar 50 cents.” (At this time, the Goodrich ranch had not been established; later, when the ranch came into production, conditions improved.)

Next the trail crossed a ridge from the Goodrich ranch at Alexander Flat to Roaring River, and then went over a still higher ridge to the east, separating Rocky Bar Basin from the middle fork. From Idaho City to Rocky Bar, the trail ascended four high ridges in its fifty mile course.

Travelers on the Goodrich Trail really were impressed by the country through which they passed. Rasey Biven, who had traveled widely through the Colorado Rockies and the mountains of Mexico, California, and Hawaii, reported after a trip in August 1864, that the Goodrich Trail:

“cannot be excelled for wildness of scenery; the beautiful trout streams and the Middle and North Forks the Boise River, which are all fordable in the summer months, their precipitous sides seemingly impassable to the traveler for either ascent or descent, covered with luxurious undergrowth and trees of magnificent proportions . . . almost perpendicular ascents of ridges, whose sides are bounded by ravines three thousand feet in depth — ridges bearing the name of ‘Devil’s Back’ and similar appellations, suggestive of a certain feeling of insecurity, to be seen and felt in order to be fully appreciated — the narrow trail over which your horse carefully picks his way, seemingly as fully impressed as yourself with the magnificence as well as the toils and dangers of the journey.”
All of the grandeur of the country he had seen before, he added even “our own delightful scenery of California . . . charmed me not half so well as the scenery on the South Boise Trail.”

By August 1864, a toll franchise was granted for improving the trail and for building bridges across the north fork and the middle fork. The toll system aroused a great deal of resentment, though. Writing from Rocky Bar, July 1, 1865, Rasey Biven complained rather bitterly about the tolls, and was not too flattering in his description of the service to be obtained at the Middle Boise Hotel:

“The younger Goodrich was at home with two drunken cooks on hand, a large number of miners, some going to the new discoveries at the Yuba, fourteen miles from this place [Rocky Bar], and to and from South Boise. Breakfasting at six o’clock, without the aid of any cook . . . we started at seven, packed our traps across the Middle Fork on a log and swam the animals. The North Fork is crossed on very good bridge, the owner of which receives toll for both rivers, whereas the Middle Fork you must cross the best you can, at risk of life of man and beast; and yet you are charged toll. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Territories are famed for their toll-bridges and toll-gates; you travel for hours over hard and dangerous roads, and come to a patch of ground sufficiently level for the erection of of a gate and a small cabin, where you pay toll and proceed 100 yards only to find a road similar to the one ridden over; but two or three times in the course of a day you will come to another ‘clearing,’ another cabin and gate, and by this means you are enabled to remember the level parts of the country.”

Apparently fearing loss of business because of opposition to the tolls, the Goodrich brothers arranged to have tolls removed from the route after two years of dissatisfaction with the system. In a newspaper advertisement, June 1, 1866, they reported that

“the proprietors of the Middle Boise Ranch inform their numerous friends that they have made such arrangements with Mr. Taylor that the South Boise trail and bridges are hereafter free of tolls. The bridges across both the North and Middle Boise rivers have just been put in excellent repair, and the trail to Rocky Bar is in good condition throughout for animals.
The Middle Boise Hotel will be conducted on first-class principles during the season, and all the delicacies of this country, and most other countries, will be offered to their numerous guests. Trout, grouse, squabs, fresh salmon, &c., are among the choice viands upon their bill of fare. The grass upon the ranch is of now the richest variety and tall enough to mow.
The journey from Idaho City to South Boise or Yuba is now only a pleasure trip, provided the traveler has a good animal. Our beds are comfortable, and the bar and table furnished with the best always.”

Even removal of the tolls did not help for too long a time. In less than a decade, the Goodrich Trail fell into disuse as other routes replaced it. New trails to Idaho City (by the way of Banner) and to Boise directly down the Middle Fork, carried the traffic through that part of the country. The Goodrich brothers sold their ranch and left the region. But long after they had gone, the old miners’ route to Rocky Bar, which crossed the Middle Fork of the Boise at their ranch, was still remembered as the old Goodrich Trail.

source: Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 3 Revised April 1972
Publications-450 N. 4th Street, Boise, ID 83702-208.334.3428
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Streets, Rocky Bar, Idaho

A view looking up a street at Rocky Bar, Idaho. More than a dozen structures can be seen. Several men are walking toward the camera.

source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Attorney, Mining Investor, and Territorial Secretary Robert Sidebotham

by Evan Filby

Pioneer lawyer and developer Robert A. Sidebotham was born December 6, 1834 along the Ohio River in Pennsylvania (west of Pittsburgh). He gained early exposure to business because his father “was engaged in manufacturing.” He graduated from the law school at Oberlin College and then moved west. There, he worked in California for a time and then taught school in Utah.

Sidebotham joined the rush to Idaho when the gold fields around the town of Rocky Bar opened up in late 1863. Although placer mining drew the early prospectors, the real wealth of the region lay underground. Lode mining requires much greater capital, to pay for tunneling and for milling equipment to handle the ore.

However, Rocky Bar sits in the midst of massive, rugged ranges, far from normal travel routes. Located 45-50 direct miles east of Boise, the “easiest” link to the city follows over one hundred miles of twisty creek and river canyon. Tools, bales of clothing, bags of flour – every ounce of supplies – arrived by pack train. But pack animals simply could not carry the heavy milling machinery needed to exploit the lode mines.

Thus, in January 1864, Sidebotham and two partners obtained a Territorial franchise for the “South Boise Wagon Road.” (“South Boise” was the original name for Rocky Bar.) The agreement required them to bridge many streams as well as the South Fork of the Boise River. Excluding the money spent building bridges, the stretch from the South Fork over the final huge ridge – about one-fifth of the total distance – cost two-fifth (41%) of the total.

Julius Newberg, a partner with much relevant experience, managed the construction. He had hoped to complete the road early in the summer, but bridge building and other obstacles slowed the work considerably.

The first wagons reached Rocky Bar in early October, releasing a happy round of celebration. A correspondent to an Idaho City newspaper wrote, “Long and loud huzzahs rent the air and made the welkin ring. All business was for the time suspended and everybody seemed loud in their praises of the energetic and thorough-going Newberg.”

Sidebotham was a Republican in a heavily Democratic district, yet voters there elected him to every county office he ran for. They also elected him to terms in the the Territorial Legislature, and the Council (equivalent to a state Senate).

In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Sidebotham to be Secretary of Idaho Territory, “a position now equivalent to that of Lieutenant Governor.” Robert moved to Boise City to handle his duties, which proved wise: He filled in as Territorial Governor for two years because one appointee departed under a barrage of criticism, and his successor never bothered to show up at all.

In later years, Sidebotham continued his law practice, but also held mining interests in the Wood River districts as well as in Colorado. For many years, he maintained a residence in Cripple Creek, Colorado, to be closer to mine holdings there. His wife, who ran a Boise millinery store during the 1890s, kept the family home in Boise. She and their children were very active in Boise society. Robert was on the train bound from Cripple Creek to Boise when he died in December 1904. He was buried in Boise.

source: South Fork Companion
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Dwellings, Rocky Bar, Idaho 1

Hoffman House, a large group of men, women, and children are standing in front of the two story wooden structure.

source: Idaho State Historical Society
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1864 Map South Boise Wagon Road


South Boise Wagon Road

Constructed originally in 1864, the South Boise wagon road began as a toll operation. Daniel McLaughlin, Robert A. Sidebotham, and Julius Newberg were “constituted a body corporate under the name and style of the South Boise wagon road company” by legislative act of January 22, 1864. Their franchise required them “to bridge all the streams on said route [from Little Camas Prairie to the quartz mines at Rocky Bar] so that the same may be passable on or before the first of July” 1864 and “to keep the road in good repair after that date.” Failure to complete the road within two years “so that there shall be a safe and easy passage for loaded wagons” was grounds for forfeiture of their franchise.

Toll rates were rather high: a team and wagon had to pay $4.00; extra teams, $1.00 each; horses and riders, or pack animals, $1.00; loose stock, 75c/; and sheep, 15c/. Julius Newberg, an experienced “old mountain trader” who had lived in Sacramento and had mined in Florence and Boise Basin, managed construction for the company. Although he hoped to get the road finished early in the summer of 1864, continued delays held him back. But by August 1, all the streams were bridged, including the South Boise, which was crossed by “a substantial structure” intended to be safe during high water. Aside from the bridges, most of the $16,000 costs went into constructing of the grade up Lincoln Creek and down Red Warrior Creek to the mines: this last section required about $1,000 a mile.

Once it was completed, the South Boise wagon road — “a good road, over which you can drive a buggy in good style” — was regarded as “of incalculable benefit for the development of the upper country.” Such a road was essential to enable quartz miners to operate profitably in a district as remote as the South Boise mines. When freight wagons finally were able to get through to Rocky Bar, October 5, 1864, the entire community rejoiced.

A correspondent wrote October 6 to the Boise News in Idaho City:

Last night was a time long to be remembered by the citizens of this place. About sundown, the people were aroused by the reverberations of a salute fired from the anvils of our enterprising blacksmiths, Mess. Boles & Annibal. Upon inquiring the cause ’twas ascertained that three heavily laden wagons were coming in over the new wagon road just completed by that enterprising individual, Mr. Julius Newberg. Long and loud huzzahs rent the air and made the welkin ring. All business was for the time suspended and everybody seemed loud in their praises of the energetic and thorough-going Newberg.
In commemoration of the event, at the hour of ten o’clock, about one hundred of the sturdy pioneers and business men of Rocky Bar, assembled at the Alturas Restaurant to partake of a sumptuous supper prepared on a few hours’ notice by mine host Mr. Francis deSilvia, alias ‘Portugese Frank.’
For some time the crowd seemed silent, so absorbed were they in the bounteous repast spread before them. Mr. S. B. Dilley, presided with his usual dignity, and introduced Mr. Newberg, which was followed by three cheers and a tiger.
Champagne and wine flowed freely, and “all went merry as a marriage bell.” Speeches were made by Messrs. O’Connor, Margery, Wm. Law, Jr., N. B. Dover, Prof. Gaffney, Wm. H. Howard, Merritt Relly, W. Waddingham, Mr. Prager, Mr. Hebner, and many others after which the crowd disbersed [sic], each wending his way to his respectable (?) place of abode as best he could.
There need now be no fears about quartz mills coming into this camp. A good wagon road is completed to Rocky Bar, confidence in the future prosperity of Alturas county restored, business again resuming its usual activity, and everything moving smoothly.

Problems connected with the use of the new road arose almost immediately. Freighters had to rush supplies into the camp in the fall of 1864, since they knew that the emigrant road (Goodale’s Cutoff: (see Reference Series 51) with which the new road connected at Little Camas Prairie, could not be used in the spring.

In contrast, the toll part of the route was regarded as the “best mountain road in Idaho,” and Newberg kept a crew at work maintaining and improving the road during the following summer.

At that time, John Mullan’s Boise-Rocky Bar stage line commenced operating on a triweekly-weekly schedule; the initial coach which reached Rocky Bar July 8, 1865, carried United States mail and Wells Fargo express.

Up until then, a passenger train (of saddle horses) had provided the only public service to Rocky Bar. But by the spring of 1866, vehicles could get only as far as the toll gate at the crossing of the South Fork, where the river had to be forded.

Apparently the well-designed bridge at that point had been swept away. The “naturally good” road below the bridge, though, still was “firm and hard, but [contained] some of the most perpendicular mountains to go up and down that ever a vehicle was taken over. But the scenery was charming,” according to Rasey Biven.

In spite of high toll rates, the road soon fell into disrepair. A traveler complained in the spring of 1869 that toll companies ought to be required to do a better job of maintaining their roads:

“I made my return trip to camp [Alturas City, right next to Atlanta] in four days, without accident or much inconvenience except that I had to ford the South Boise River with gum boots. More than four years since the legislature granted the South Boise Wagon Company a charter to build a road up the South Boise River, and as yet this road is impassable except for some three or four months of the year, and then only by fording and refording a dangerous river; not only this, but this company has been allowed to collect a heavy toll for persons passing over their right of way, not a road.”

But by the spring of 1870, E. J. Nichols took over the road and began to restore it to its original fine condition. Since rail service never reached Rocky Bar or any of the places on the road, the old toll route continued to be the thoroughfare to the South Boise mines — and to the Atlanta mines as well — during the years that those camps were active in the nineteenth century. The South Boise wagon road thus lived up to its early expectation of enabling the Rocky Bar mines to be developed.

source: Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 94 August 1964
Publications-450 N. 4th Street, Boise, ID 83702-208.334.3428
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Blacksmithing, Rocky Bar, Idaho

Blacksmiths shop in Rocky Bar, Idaho. Men and children are standing at the entrance to the shop. The building is located in front of a wooded mountain side

source: Idaho State Historical Society
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1864 Map Rice and Porter Toll Road Area


Rice and Porter Toll Road

By Larry R. Jones

A rush of prospectors to the South Boise region in 1863 and the discovery of promising quartz lodes created a feeling of high expectations for the new area. The miners eagerly awaited the completion of Julius C. Newberg’s road from Little Camas Prairie to Rocky Bar so that heavy equipment and supplies could be brought to the mines. There was great rejoicing among all concerned when Newberg opened his road for traffic on September 5, 1864. The road made it possible for wagons to reach the area, and the miners looked forward to good times. There still was a need, however, for a more practical route between Little Camas Prairie and the Overland Road. Miners, packers, and travelers followed the route of Timothy Goodale’s 1862 emigrant-trail cutoff from Little Camas to where it joined the main thoroughfare near Ditto Creek. Although this route seemed practicable to the emigrant, the grades at Syrup, Willow, and Ditto creeks proved difficult and slow to heavily-laden animals and wagons.

On October 3, 1867, E. P. Rice published a notice in the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman announcing his intention to construct a toll road between Little Camas Prairie and the emigrant road near the Canyon Creek stage station.
(p. 2, c. 4)

On January 6, 1868, he presented his proposal to the Alturas County Commissioners. He reported that his route would follow a line commencing at Little Camas Prairie thence on the most practicable route to the head of Bennett Creek. Thence in a Southwest direction to Rattlesnake Creek. From thence on same line to Sage Brush plains. Thence along the foothills westwardly to Salmon Falls road. Connecting with said road about three miles from Dry Creek. The distance being about eighteen (18 miles) miles.

There being three passes, one from Camas, one from Dixie, and one from Long Tom, would like the privilege of choosing the best & most practicable one, and the road may be a little varied from above description but the initial points are Camas Prairie & the Salmon Falls road.The object being to connect the two by a more easy, safe – low-graded road than the present one, and thereby avoiding the steep & heavy passage over the Syrup Creek Mountains, and the hills beyond. Your petitioner believing that the construction of said road will greatly subserve the interests of the traveling public & the community at large. The present road by Syrup Creek will be left open & all can travel that who desire to do so. Your petitioner desiring no toll gate on the old road or anywhere near it, but placing the toll gate between the old Emigrant road & the Salmon Falls road, where he has built & opened an entire new road . . . .
(Folder 1, Box 2, Alturas County Commissioner’s Records, Idaho State Archives, Boise)

On May 9, 1868, the Statesman reported that Rice had been granted the right to construct his road by the commissioners at their April session. The article also stated that the “road is progressing rapidly and will soon be completed by Messrs. Rice and Porter. Most of the grading is done and the teams have already passed over it. Chandler’s Express travels it now. This road is a vast improvement over the old road. There are no steep hills or heavy grades and it is several miles shorter. It avoids Syrup Creek hill and the steep hill this side going up from Squaw Creek. Toll will not be collected until it is completed and viewed by the Commissioners.”
(P. 2, c. 3)

Toll charges for the road were $1.50 for a two-horse wagon or buggy, one way; 50 cents for each additional span; 50 cents for a saddle horse; and 50 cents a head for pack animals. The toll road began at Mud Flats, where it joined the Overland Road, and proceeded southeast to Canyon Creek; thence northeast to Tollgate. From there it closely followed the current grade of Highway 20 to Dixie summit; thence near the old highway grade down to Dixie and over the summit to Little Camas Prairie, where it connected with the South Boise toll road.

On March 18, 1870, Rice sold his interest in the toll road to James A. Porter for $4,000.
(Alturas County Deed Book D, p. 111.)

Four days after selling his road, Rice took ill while visiting a friend and died. He was forty-two years old and a native of Oswego County, New York.
(Capital Chronicle, March 30, 1870, p. 3, c. 1)

Rice had also owned a one-half interest in the South Boise toll road, which he and B. F. Nichols had purchased from Newberg in 1868. Nichols purchased Rice’s interest at his estate sale on April 6, 1871, for $500 and with his son S. N. Nichols continued to operate the road until the charter expired in 1887.
(Alturas County Records, Miscellaneous Records Affecting Real Estate, Book 1, pp. 90-91.)

After he became the sole owner of the road, Porter continued to improve the road and the facilities at his tollgate station. His residence became a favorite stopping place for persons going and coming from the South Boise area. A Capital Chronicle correspondent in October of 1869 noted,

“Our next stopping place was at Mr. Porter’s where, for a good supper, fine breakfast and comfortable lodging, the treatment was perhaps quite as well as we deserved.”
(Capital Chronicle, October 6, 1869, p. 1, c. 4)

W. C. Tatro utilized Porter’s as a halfway station when he started a stage line to Rocky Bar in 1870. At that time, Porter extended a portion of his road down Rattlesnake Creek to intersect the Overland Road at Rattlesnake Station.

In September of 1874, William A. Goulder, the traveling correspondent of the Statesman, remarked:

“With a fresh team we soon sped ’20 miles away’ to Porter’s where we arrive sometime before sundown. No better accommodations can be found anywhere than at Porter’s. Mr. Porter owns the toll road from the Overland to Little Camas, and keeps it in splendid condition. They keep a Dairy and make butter, have utilized a water power to do their churning and washing. The reputation of their butter is not unsurpassed in any country.”
(September 8, 1874, p. 2, c. 1)

In 1875, Tatro changed his overnight stop to Rattlesnake Station in order to better meet the needs of Overland travelers desiring to take his stage to South Boise. The move meant a loss of business for Porter, but his popularity and reputation as a congenial host lessened the impact of Tatro’s move and he continued to receive the patronage of knowledgeable travelers.

In October of 1875, after spending an uncomfortable night at Rattlesnake Station, a correspondent for the Owyhee Avalanche wrote:

“After passing an uncomfortable night at the station where the stage is taken for Rocky Bar, it is pleasant to make even a brief stay at Porter’s, five miles beyond where everything externally and internally betokens home comforts.”
(Owyhee Avalanche, October 16, 1875, p. 2, c. 1)

The Avalanche correspondent expanded his description on October 23. 1875.

“Porter’s Station. This station, located about five miles from the Overland Road on the Rocky Bar route, is a very pleasant resort and is kept in tip-top shape by Mr. and Mrs. Porter. Owing to the fact that the newly christened ‘Bedbug Station,’ at the nearest point on the Overland, is not kept in such condition as to warrant public patronage, travelers in this direction frequently walk to Porter’s for the purpose of sojourning overnight and luxuriating in a comfortable bed. Besides the man who keeps the ‘Bedbug’ inn is totally unfitted for his business and deserving the contempt of all decent men.”
(p. 2, c. 2)

Apparently the correspondent and the station-keeper, Marion Daniels, did not strike up a lasting friendship during the former’s stay at Rattlesnake station.

The Statesman, on October 21, 1875 (p. 2, c. 2), called the description a gross misstatement and defended the capabilities of Mr. and Mrs. Daniels. Nevertheless, many travelers did opt to walk the five miles and stay at Porter’s.

In 1879, William A. Goulder once again passed the station on his way to Rocky Bar and noted:

“A morning’s drive of five miles brought us to Mr. Porter’s place where we noticed some important changes and improvements since our former visit. Mr. Porter has a good location on the route of the daily stage line between Mountain Home and Rocky Bar, surrounded by the finest stock range in the country, with many fertile spots along the little creek that flows past his house, which he has fenced and where he raises grain, hay and vegetables.”
(September 16, 1879, p. 2, c. 2)

Tragedy struck the Porter household in the summer of 1882.

“Robert Porter, 10 years old, son of the keeper of Porter’s station, near Mountain Home, was run over by a heavily loaded wagon last Wednesday [June 21] sustaining injuries which it is feared will result fatally. He was on the wagon with a companion his own age. They disputed as to who should drive, and in their struggle for possession of the reins, Robert was pushed, or fell from the wagon. One of the hind wheels passed over his body. No bones were broken, but internal injuries of the most dangerous nature must have been caused . . . .”
(June 27, 1883, p. 3, c. 2)

The young man’s injuries did prove fatal and the Statesman reported his succumbing on June 25, 1882. (June 29, 1882, p. 3, c. 3) Shortly after the death of their son, Mr. and Mrs. Porter sold the toll road and their station to Captain George W. Hill.

On April 10, 1886, D. B. Ethell represented Hill and wrote the following letter to the Altruas County Commissioners:

Gentlemen Mr Hill requested me to write you in regard to the purchase of his toll road he as I understand offers to sell his road for twenty five hundred dollars and agrees to keep the road in repair for two years. In regard to your purchasing his road and the price he asks I do not feel like offering any advice yet I would like to see some arrangement made with him to make it a free road. Should you do so I think Mr Hill would be a good man to appoint to take charge of the road as he lives about the center of the line of the road that is from Mountain Home to the east end of the road and it would be better to make one district of the whole of it.
Another matter allow me to call your attention too. There is a piece of road lying between the Hill and South Boise Roads that gets very bad in the Spring and requiring some work and two small bridges across Camas and Cat Creeks The Hill road terminates at Little Camas Creek according to the original charter but Nichols only claims and works to the northern end of Camas leaving about seven miles of Road that he does not work and it is pretty bad travailing over it in the Spring for the want of a little work and from Camas Creek to Hills Road is about one mile making in all 8 miles that requires some work in the Spring.
I would suggest that you make a Road District there and appoint Fred Cooper who lives on Little Camas Road Supervisor he is a good man and there is timber not a great ways off that can be got to put in the bridges which can be built at a small cost and are badly needed in the Spring and also in the fall after they begin to freeze.
I would respectfully ask of your honorable body to give the Road matter due consideration the whole road from Rocky Bar to Mountain Home If you can consistently do anything for us we would like it very much.
(2, folder 3, Incoming Letters to the County Commissioners, (Box Alturas County, Idaho State Archives, Boise.)

Within the next two years the county commissioners purchased both the Hill and the Nichols road and made the route between Mountain Home and Rocky Bar a free public thoroughfare. Hill retained the ownership of his station and resided there until leasing the operation to Matt Casey in the fall of 1892. Casey continued the tradition of offering excellent service to the traveling public until moving with his family to a farm outside Boise in December of 1893.
(Elmore Bulletin [Rocky Bar], October 30, 1892, p. 3, c. 1 and December 23, 1893, p. 3, c. 3)

In 1894 Hill sold the property to Will Calloway, who continued to run the station for a number of years. After selling his holdings, Hill lived for a time in both California and Boise before retiring to a ranch located seven miles east of Mountain Home. In the summer of 1897, he constructed a new dwelling on his ranch and resided there until his death on June 30, 1898.
(Elmore Bulletin, April 14, 1897, p. 3, c. 2)

Andrew Baker, the road supervisor between Mountain Home and Dixie from 1908 to 1912, put in a new grade above Tollgate and improved the road at Devil’s Dive. This latter section of road can still be viewed by the passing motorist. It is located about four miles above Tollgate, just north of Highway 20. Another section of the original toll road, situated west of Tollgate, can still be traveled to its junction with a county road east of Canyon Creek. Fruit trees and a vegetable garden continue to flourish along Rattlesnake Creek, and a rustic way-station, known as Tollgate, operates at the site of the original station. The proprietors of Tollgate dispense food and drink to modern-day travelers with the same hospitality that made it such a popular stop over a hundred years ago.

Recent highway construction has greatly improved the grade between Rattlesnake Station and Little Camas Prairie, but the scenic qualities of the route remain much the same as those viewed by nineteenth- and twentieth-century stage coach patrons.

source: Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 95 1983,
Publications-450 N. 4th Street, Boise, ID 83702-208.334.3428
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1880 Rocky Bar Idaho Stage Line

1880RockyBarIdahoStageLine-aAugust 26th, 1880

Rocky Bar Stage Line!

Coaches run daily, making direct connections with the Overland at Rattle Snake. Leave Rattlesnake and Rocky Bar each way at 6am, and Atlanta at 6am, carrying U.S. Mail, W.C. Tatro’s Express and passengers and fast freight. Will also connect with Scott & Hutchin’s Saddle Train at Atlanta for Lake District and Bonanza city. Through tickets can be procured at the stage office in Boise city and at Rattle Snake.

Passenger Rates:
Boise City to Rocky Bar … $18.00
Rattle Snake to Rocky Bar … $10.00
Rattle Snake to Atlanta … $14.00

Forty pounds of Baggage allowed each passenger. Tickets for sale at Boise City and at principal Stations.

WM. Redway … Boise City
J.D. Campbell … Rattle Snake
Mrs. C.L. Meyers … Atlanta
I.H. Bingham, Genl Agt … Rocky Bar

I also have a mammoth barn and coral for the accommodation of teamsters, where hay and grain can be had at the lowest market rates. In connection with the barn is 400 feet of sheds with good mangers, that teamsters can use free of charge.

W.C Tatro, Proprietor

shared by Leiana Rogers Knight‎
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Rattlesnake Station


Horse team on the Overland Trail

Rattlesnake Station

Rattlesnake Station was a stagecoach station northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho, and the original site of the Mountain Home post office. Approximately seven miles from exit 95 on Interstate 84 in present-day Elmore County, a historical marker located at milepost 102.7 on U.S. Route 20 commemorates its location. The highway follows Rattlesnake Creek and the elevation of the site at the base of the grade is 3,820 feet (1,164 m) above sea level.


Rattlesnake Station was established in 1864 by Ben Holladay as a stop on his new Overland Stage Line between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Walla Walla, Washington.

The Overland line was acquired by the Northwestern Stage Company in 1870, which made the station a stop for its weekly stage line from Boise to the South Boise mines and an overnight stop in 1875.

A post office named “Mountain Home” was established in 1876 at Rattlesnake Station. Fire destroyed several station buildings on October 12, 1878, but were rebuilt and continued to serve stages until 1914, when the route was abandoned. The post office was moved, dragged by mule teams, to the present location of Mountain Home in 1883, about 8 miles (13 km) southwest, to be closer to the recently completed Oregon Short Line Railroad.

Opened 1864
Closed 1914

The reason Rattlesnake Station is now just a memory is a familiar one: When the railroad came in 1883, the place had to move. Some of the buildings at Rattlesnake were dragged by mules and oxen to the new Oregon Short Line Railroad a few miles to the south.”

Hart, Arthur (2007-11-13) “Idaho History: Where are all of those once-bustling Idaho towns?”. Idaho Statesman.

source: Wikipedia
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1879 Map Rocky Bar, Rattlesnake Cr, Salmon Falls

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Rocky Bar, Idaho Ghost town

source: Wikipedia, Taken 11-3-2012 by J. Day Photography
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link to Rocky Bar Photos Idaho State Historical Society

link to Johnny Behind-The-Rocks McKeown
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 1 general)
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 2 mining)
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 4 Newspaper clippings)
link to Alturas County, Idaho 1864 to 1895
Link to Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow (part 1)
Link to Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow (part 2)
link to Idaho Stage Coach History (part 1)

page updated Aug 27, 2020