Stibnite 1949 Radio Script
(Valley County, Idaho)
Radio Script and Photo Collections shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series
Peffer CBS Radio Station KGDM Stockton, California 1140 on Dial
From Mr and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer
This is the first in s series of three stories on Stibnite, the world’s most unique mining community. The village of nine hundred population, located in a primitive area of the Salmon River Mountains in Idaho, grew up around the Yellow Pine Mine, operated by the Bradley Mining Company of Idaho and San Francisco. The Mine, in some months of World War II, produced more tungsten than all the rest of the mines in the world combined. It is credited, by those who know, with having shortened the war by many months.
This broadcast, which comes from the Peffer CBS Station in Stockton, California, was compiled and written especially for Idaho listeners by Elsie Flower, KGDM script writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer-home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes. This broadcast, September 22, 1949, is voiced by Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho, speaking from the home studio of KGDM, Stockton, Calif.
We describe Stibnite as being unique – – – as being without like or equal in the world. We do not think we are over-reaching the facts in our estimate. The history of the mine itself, and of the man, Frederick Worthen Bradley, who developed it, would give Stibnite a valid claim to that distinction. But, there are qualities, other than the historical, which make Stibnite an outstanding community.
Of these qualities we will give first place to the youth of the population. Of approximately 900 residents, sixty per cent is between the ages of 19 years and 39. Thirty-five percent of the population is under 19 years. Less than five percent is older than 39. There is not a member of the Yellow Pine Mining Staff over forty.
We give second place to the superior type of individual who makes up the Stibnite population. The intellectual and educational level is high.
Third place is given to the advanced social and civic concept of community life in Stibnite. By this, we mean that people living there do not accumulate a lot of cancelled checks for rent of their houses, and they do not know the meaning of fear at the sight of the doctor’s bill, rent is free; doctor’s bills, the minimum.
In fourth place, we put the stability of family life, prevailing in the village. Two hundred and fifty families, average from two to three children each, and the year 1948 brought 46 new-born babies into the population.
We give fifth place, to what, we as a Californian, dream, the most important of all. Every child of the 137 enrollee in the Stibnite School, was ABLE TO READ AT THE END OF THE FIRST GRADE. By the time the second and third grades are finished the child is a proficient reader. Much of this enlightened community atmosphere emanates from conditions created by the Bradley Mining Company, now carried on by the three sons of the late Frederick Bradley, and their mother. But, even the most considerate regard for the welfare of others will fail unless there is reciprocity. The people of Stibnite reciprocate.
We have now outlined to you why we think Stibnite a remarkable community. We shall now tell you how we happened to make the pilgrimage there. When we arrived in McCall, the latter part of August, one of the first plans made for us by our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Edward F Peffer, was a flight into Stibnite. Forest fires were raging at the time and all commercial airplanes were requisitioned by the Payette National Forest Service. Stibnite could he reached by automobile, in some three hours time, but the Peffers had their hearts set on the twenty-minute trip by air, over mountain peaks, 18,000 feet above sea level, as the fitting approach to the town.
It was through the influence of Mrs. Carl F. Brown of McCall that planes and pilots of the Bradley Mining Company were made available to us, going and coming. We took off from McCall airfield at 5:20 o’clock last Friday afternoon in a 550 horse-power twin-engine Sesna [sic], Glenn Higby, Chief-pilot of Aircraft Services at Bradley Field in Boise, was at the controls, The plane, flying at 110 miles and hour, climbed steeply to surmount the ten thousand feet elevation which arises somewhat abruptly from the floor of Long Valley. Our pilot sang or whistled. We ventured an occasional question or comment, but we were mainly concerned with the feeling of the plane as it climbed toward the towering mountains ahead. We could feel its power pitted against the ascent, and curiously enough, we were reminded of the great mule-teams of our childhood which strained and pulled at the load up-grade or over heavy roads. We soon made the climb, and the plane leveled off to cross sixty miles of magnificent mountain-peak and gorge. Beautiful lakes, sparkling like precious stones, were set in the hollows of the mountains, thousands of feet below. Our pilot told us that many of these lakes had never been seen except from the air. We gradually came lower, and turned into the narrow approach to Stibnite.
It seemed that the mountains on either side, allowed little freedom to the plane as the pilot reconnoitered to if the landing field below were free and clear. The pits, which have yielded a half million tons of tungsten ore and more than three million tons of antimony ore, stretched below us in walls and terraces like a miniature Grand Canyon.
The village of Stibnite looked like a collection of white painted toy houses set in a miniature forest. Our pilot set the plane down on the field as gently as a Mother lays her child on its pillow — and we were greeted by Robert James McRae, mill and smelter superintendent of the Yellow Pine.
A short drive brought us to a white-painted two-story Dutch colonial house, which was about the last architectural style we expected to see in a mining town. We were greeted at the door by a Great Dane, a magnificent dog of seventeen months, who stood more than three feet high and, we were told, had not yet reached full growth.
Mrs. McRae, slender and blonde, attired in T-shirt and pedal-pushers, followed at the dog’s heels; and pretty soon, the children came in. Robin Stewart McRae is the ten-year-old son, and Lorna, is the five-year-old daughter. The children have the blonde hair and skin of their mother, with the dark eyes-of their father. They are attractive and interesting, despite the fact that their well behaved and courteous reserve with strangers, guards them from quick acquaintance.
We were soon seated with the family at the dinner table, which was set at a large window, looking out toward the Mill, the Smelter and the airfield. Planes flew by, seemingly opposite the window, moving as casually as the automobile on the road below them. The McRaes told us that in addition to the two company planes, maintained by the Bradley Mining Co. at Stibnite for official use, there are seven privately owned planes in the village.
After dinner, Mr. McRae took us on a tour of the mill, which covers two acres, and the newly built electric smelter which stands on an acre-site. The holdings of the Bradley Mining Company in the Stibnite area exceed five thousand acres. Our acquaintance with mining had been limited to the simple stamp-Mill operation for extracting gold from quartz, a method common in the California Mother Lode country, – and, during World War I, we had seen the equally simple flotation process to get copper from the ore at Copperopolis, in Calaveras County. But this ore, now being mined at the Yellow Pine is such a tight combination of antimony, gold and silver that a most gigantic milling, chemical, and smelting operation is necessary to separate the valuable metals from the base elements imprisoning them.
We shall make no attempt.to describe the great mill and smelter, which are in operation twenty-four hours, the day and night through, and which have a record to date of three million tons of milled ore and half a million tons of tungsten ore. We make no effort to describe what is past our power to describe and our complete comprehension, but we will narrate to you the history of the Yellow Pine Mine and the Bradley Mining Company, as Bob McRae told it to us.
Outcroppings of antimony ore in the Stibnite area were discovered as early as 1880. Prospectors mistook it for lead ore and submitted samples to assayers at Coeur d’Alene, When antimony was found instead of lead, there was no interest. Antimony had little or no value at the time, and metallurgically could not be treated. In the late Nineties prospectors, going to the famous Thunder Mountain Gold boom, re-discovered the outcroppings and some shallow prospecting was done. Activity in the region was sustained by an appreciable discovery of quick silver, but for the most part, antimony and gold ores were not greatly explored by reason of their base nature. That is, the ores were difficult to treat and no smelter, at the time, would accept a concentrate from them.
In 1920, Mr. J. J. Oberbillig, who still resides in Boise, prospected the present Stibnite holdings by driving underground workings. In 1927, after many failures to interest large mining companies he brought the properties to the attention of My Frederick Worthen Bradley, of San Francisco, One of the Greatest and most venturesome mining men of the West.
Oberbillig told Bradley of metallurgical difficulties which other big mining companies regarded as insurmountable, Frederick Bradley regarded the difficulty as a challenge to the ability of his organization, and in 1927, in association with Ogden Mills of New York and Washington, D. C. and William H. Crocker of San Francisco, he took over the development the properties. He had had the benefit of mining experience in the Grass Valley area of California. In the early 1890’s he became interested in the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district in Northern Idaho, and, as president and manager, for many years, built the mine up to become one of the largest load producers in the United States, complete with its own smelting plant.
Throughout his career, Frederick Bradley was interested in developing large low-grade gold mines. His outstanding achievement in this direction is the Alaska Juneau Mine at Juneau, Alaska. He developed the mine to a capacity of 10,000 tons a day on ore that ran less than a dollar a ton, and made it pay. He was associated in many other ventures in Canada and the United States, equally as spectacular from the mining point of view.
During World War One, Frederick Bradley and Bernard Baruch owned the Atolia Mine on the Mojave Desert in California. Under Bradley’s operation the Atolia was developed into one of the world’s largest tungsten mines supplying domestic tungsten during years of the first war. With this background of experience Frederick Bradley felt that the ores of Stibnite could be profitably mined and milled. His faith was justified in the development of 1927, ’28 and ’29. In 1930 the first milling unit was built with a capacity of 150 tons a day. The first milling operations on Stibnite properties were disappointing. No successful treatment of the concentrate could be worked out. The six-hundred mile truck and rail haul to the smelter at Salt Lake City cut down profit.
In 1933 some of these difficulties had been overcome. In June of that year, Frederick W. Bradley, the greatest mining man the West has ever known, died. His wife Mary, and their three sons, Worthen D. Bradley, James Bradley and John D. Bradley, succeeded him in the operation of the Yellow Pine properties, with John D. Bradley as executive vice-president of the Bradley Mining Company, in charge of Idaho Mining operations.
During the years of ‘World War Two, the three Bradley brothers repeated the tungsten history made by their father in the first war. Operating in Stibnite, one thousand miles away from the Atolia Mine in Mojave, Frederick Bradley’s three sons, more then thirty years later, supplied. the United States with tungsten which helped this country and its allies to win the grimmest war in world history.
[End Part 1]
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Stibnite photos c. 1951-1953
photo collection shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series Part 2
This is the second of the Stibnite stories compiled and Written by Elsie Flower, KGDM script-writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer-home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes in Idaho. The Stibnite stories are broadcast especially for Idaho listeners from the Peffer CBS Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho, at the microphone, September 23, 1949.
We concluded the first Stibnite story last night with the co-incidence of two generations of the Bradley family furnishing the bulk of the world’s tungsten supply in two world Wars. During the first war, the senior Bradley, Frederick W., in association with Bernard Baruch, dug the tungsten from California’s Mojave Desert deposits. In the second war, Bradley’s three sons mined half a million tons of tungsten ore from one huge deposit in the Yellow Pine Mine at Stibnite, Idaho.
The discovery of the Idaho tungsten deposit was made in 1941, eight years after the death of Frederick Bradley, the most heroic and adventurous figure in all Western mining. At his death in 1933, Bradley was associated financially in the development of the Yellow Pine Mine, with Ogden Mills of New York and Washington, D. C. and William H. Crocker of San Francisco. Bradley held a half interest, the other two each a fourth. In 1938, the Yellow Pine interests of the three men were held in their estates. It was in that year, that the youngest of the three Bradley brothers, John D. Bradley, Manager of Idaho operations of the Bradley Mining Company, went to heirs of the Mills and Crocker estates and purchased their interests in the Yellow Pine Mine at Stibnite. We shall now continue with the story of the mine as narrated to us by Robert McRae, mill and smelter superintendent.
The Yellow Pine Mine, under the operation of the Bradley Mining Company, dates from 1927. The original workings were on Meadow Creek. In 1937, under active direction of John D. Bradley, large deposits of antimony and gold ore were discovered two miles down-stream from the Meadow Creek development. Operations in that year were transferred to the new deposits of ore. Open-cut mining methods with power shovels reduced costs to a low figure. The ore bodies had had three years of mining, and the mill had been built up to 400 tons a day, when in 1940, the SPECTER OF ANOTHER WORLD WAR LOOMED IN THE NATION’S HORIZON.
The United States Bureau of Mines began exploring for additional antimony ores in the area worked by the Bradley Mining Company. In 1941 the Bureau of Mines’ drilling program had located large bodies of antimony ore. On close examination of the drill core under ultra-violet light, scheelite ore, rich in tungsten, was discovered. THIS WAS THE TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE YELLOW PINE MINE.
Up until this time the margin between profit and loss, had been exceedingly narrow. The three Bradley brothers, and their mother, Mary, who is now Mrs. Frank R. Girard of San Francisco, started a very active program involving great expenditure of money to place the mine in large-scale production. Their purpose was not only to recover antimony, but to mine the newly-discovered and highly strategic mineral, tungsten.
By the latter part of 1941, milling was well underway on antimony and tungsten ores. By 1942 the Yellow Pine Mine was one of the world’s greatest producers of both antimony and tungsten. Production, at the request of the Ore Production Board, continued to be increased, until by the end of 1943, the Yellow Pine Mine, in some months, produced more tungsten than all the rest of the mines in the world combined. High officials have many times credited the Bradley Mining Company and its employees with having shortened the War by many months by their high rate of tungsten production.
Tungsten enters into the manufacture of all high-class steel, which, during the war, was made into armor-piercing projectiles for naval and anti-tank defense. The Armed Forces used tremendous quantities of antimony. Its principal strategic use was as a flame-proofing agent to render fabrics fire-proof.
China was the world’s main source of antimony and tungsten until 1940, when the Japanese forces disrupted and isolated Chinese mining regions, and cut off the supply to the outside world. A small amount of antimony and tungsten was being flown over the Hump for the United States and the Allies, but the amount was negligible in comparison with the need. For lack of these two metals, the Nation found itself in a highly vulnerable position. The Allies were no better off. IT WAS AT THIS MOMENT IN 1941 and 1942 THAT THE YELLOW PINE MINE BEGAN TO POUR FORTH THE METALS TO FILL THE NEED, AND IT CONTINUED TO POUR FORTH, THROUGH THE YEARS OF ’43 and ’44 UNTIL THE EMERGENCY WAS PAST.
In these years the mill was handling 800 tons daily. In 1945, additional development went forward toward a 2500 ton daily milling production. This was accomplished by 1946, and since that time, production of antimony ore has been maintained at an annual output of 600,000 tone, This is 95 per cent of all domestic production of antimony. During these years, we have just reviewed, concentrate from the Yellow [Pine] Mine were shipped to distant points for refining. The tungsten concentrate, produced during war years, was shipped to Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah for refining.
Antimony concentrate, until last August, was shipped to Southern California for further treatment. Gold concentrate went to Utah. This was an expensive process. Charges for transportation, freight rates and refining costs left the Bradley Mining Company with only 60 per cent of the actual value of the ore.
In 1948 the company decided to build its own smelter for production of antimony, both as metal and an oxide, and also for gold and silver bullion. Metallurgical research had been under way for several years in preparation for this step. The Stibnite staff of Metallurgists collaborated with the Bunker Hill staff In solving the smelting problems presented by the ore,
The men who pooled brains, knowledge and experience in this effort were Harold Lee, research metallurgist for the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine and Robert McRae, mill superintendent and metallurgist for the Yellow Pine. These two men worked on all test work in close association with Harold D, Bailey, general manager of the Yellow Pine, and Silas Doo Foo, a young Chinese graduate of the Colorado School of mines, who has been assistant metallurgist at Yellow Pine for seven years.
Some of the major problems connected with treatment of the Yellow Pine concentrates were their high ‘arsenic content’ and their extreme fineness as they came from the mill. All antimony smelters, before the installation of the electric smelter at Stibnite, treated ores in lump form. The lump ore smelter could not adapt its method to the fine concentrate of the Yellow Pine Mill. The smelter at Stibnite was designed to overcome difficulties presented by the fine concentrate. Another problem to be solved was the transportation cost of fuel, used in the conventional antimony smelter for melting down the concentrate.
This problem was overcome by the use of an electric smelting furnace, which draws up to 2000 kilowatt hours or 3000 horsepower, This is converted into the heat which does the smelting. Power is derived from the 110 mile transmission line built during the war by the Idaho Power Company for the Yellow Pine Mine, The project involved the expenditure of one and a half million dollars for the smelter, and in addition, a half-million dollars to erect new houses for the accommodation of smelter employees and their families.
The smelter, which went into operation in August of this year was dedicated by Governor C. A. Robins of Idaho at Stibnite’s sixth annual barbecue held on the Saturday of August 20th. At that time, Governor Robins said, and we quote ‘The accomplishment of bringing the machinery and the building equipment to this isolated mountain community over forest roads is a tribute to initiative that would have been impossible under any system but the free enterprise system’. (end quote)
The smelter, designed to process the precious metals of gold and silver, as well as antimony and antimony oxide, is the only smelter of its kind in the United States, It is designed with a flexible capacity. In times of extreme need for antimony, it can process up to 600 tons of metallic antimony per month. In slack times, antimony production can be adjusted to suit the needs of the country, and gold ores substituted.
The Bradley brothers are following in the footsteps of their father, in extracting every iota of value from ore, whether of high grade or low-grade. The smelter is making the antimony yield outstanding and is putting gold production on a paying basis. It is prolonging the life of the Yellow Pine Mine and the Village of Stibnite, the world’s most unique community.
[End Part 2]
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1942 Stibnite School
(click image for source size)
source: Idaho State Historical Society Stibnite Photo Collection
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1951 Stibnite School
photo from Sandy McRae
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1943 Stibnite Hospital
(click image for source size)
source: Idaho State Historical Society Stibnite Photo Collection
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Rec Hall (left) and School (center)
probably mid 1940s
(click here for larger source size)
source w/more photos: The Mike Fritz Collection courtesy Heather Heber Callahan
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Yellow Pine Pit (circa 1946)
Photograph courtesy Robin McRae
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Antimony Smelter under Construction (circa 1948)
Completed Antimony Smelter (circa 1949-50)
photos from “History of the Stibnite Mining Area, Valley County, Idaho”, from a report prepared by Victoria E. Mitchell of Idaho Geological Survey, dated April 2000 (27 meg)
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series Part 3
This is the third and the concluding story in the Stibnite series compiled and written by Elsie Flower, KGDM script-writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes in Idaho. The Stibnite stories are broadcast especially for Idaho listeners from the Peffer CBS Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho is at the microphone, Sept. 24, 1949.
Stibnite, Idaho, as a community, has no counterpart. Its people are young. More than 95 per cent of the 900 population is under the age of forty years. A high percentage of the adult population, both men and women, hold university degrees. There is no rent to pay. The amount of money invested by each employee in the house in which he and his family live, depends upon the degree of respect he has for property and also on his standard of living. Medical care is no problem in Stibnite. Children in the Stibnite Grade school, read with proficiency at the end of the first year in school. These are the reasons we set Stibnite apart as a community in a class by itself.
There are 130 modern houses in Stibnite, equipped with every convenience. Forty additional houses are classified as `not modern’. All of them are rent free and are available to employees on a seniority basis. Occupants of modern houses pay $12.50 per month into a maintenance fund until a total of $150 is built up. Payments then stop until such time as the maintenance fund is depleted to one-half. It is then again built up to the $150 total. The plan prevails in the occupancy of the unmodern house with $5 monthly payments and a $60 total. The the occupancy of the unmodern house with $5 monthly payments and a $60 total.
The maintenance fund is used only for interior finish and woodwork, so it may be seen that the more careful a family is of its dwelling the less it pays in upkeep. There is a dollar a month asked for outside painting, but the company maintains roofs and foundations. The cost per month to the average employee is approximately $5, providing his family is careful and uses the house lightly. On termination of residence, the balance in the fund is returned.
Water is free. From November until the end of April, 400 kilowatts of electricity may be consumed free of charge, thus providing for the normal lighting of a house. Power used in excess is one cent per kilowatt hour. During the balance of the year 250 kilowatts may be consumed free to take care of the difference between daylight and darkness.
Dr. J. D. Mortensen is in charge of the Stibnite Clinic and Hospital. This is a modern one-story building with six private rooms and two wards of five beds each. It has a completely equipped modern surgery, X-ray department, laboratory, consultation rooms, maternity department and pharmacy. Dr. Mortensen, who is a native of Arizona, is a young man with three years active Army service and one year of practice in Boise Idaho. He has been in charge of the Stibnite Clinic and hospital for the past seventeen months. Hospital record show that in that time, 2143 persons have been treated or have availed themselves of the services of the hospital, such as free physical checkups.
In 1948, the birth total at the hospital was 46. The Bradley Mining Company sees to it that medical and hospital care is no problem to the employee and his family. Dr. Mortensen told us that bills sent out from the hospital are made out in two columns. One column gives the cost of such treatment if given in the outside world. The second column is headed ‘COST TO YOU’. This amount is one-half the charge prevalent in other places. If that one-half charge is over $25 it is again cut in half by funds from the Employees’ Voluntary Contribution and Benefit Plan. By this method, the employee or his dependents is given a bill which is one-fourth of the usual doctor and hospital bill.
Dr. Mortensen said that, in the past year, the company had made possible routine physical examinations, X-rays, and uri-analysis, free of charge in the interest of tuberculosis and cancer prevention. One hundred one fifty persons, who considered themselves well were improved in health, efficiency and comfort through the check-up. The company, we were told, has invested approximately $150,000 in the hospital and equipment, and spends $50,000 a year in operation. A staff of three registered and three practical nursed is headed by Registered Nurse Juanita Justus.
During our brief excursion into Stibnite we made it a point to talk to two of the teachers in the Stibnite Grade School. They were Mrs. Opal Sargent, principal, and Mrs. Grace McRae, teacher of the 4th and 5th grades. Mrs. Sargent is the wife of Harry Sargent, junior metallurgist under McRae, and now smelter foreman, who is credited with having done a lot of research on the million and a half dollar smelter. Opal Sargent, young, pretty and blonde, has been editor of the village newspaper The Stibnite Miner; she has been a nurse; and she taught in the Stibnite School when it was a one-roomed building. Mrs. Grace McRae is the wife of Idaho’s pioneer of the Thunder Mountain District, Daniel McRae, and the mother of Robert McRae, our personal guide on the Stibnite Tour.
The Stibnite school enrolls 137 pupils from the first through the 8th grades. Each of the four rooms of the school has from two to three grades under one teacher, averaging around 30 to 39 pupils per teacher. Mrs. Sargent and Mrs. McRae told us that the Stibnite School accents reading from the very beginning of a child’s education. All activities in art and mental periods are related to reading. At the end of the first grade, a child of six years can read. He also has some experience in number work, such as counting, learning to recognize amounts, and the meaning of numbers, By the time he is promoted from the first grade, he knows how to handle easy combinations of numbers in addition and subtraction. By the time he has progressed through the second and third grades, he is proficient in reading,
In California we had encountered eight-year-old children, who had reached the third grade, and were unable to read an ice-cream parlor billboard posted with the names of such flavors as orange, lemon and vanilla. It, therefore, seemed quite remarkable to us that the children of Stibnite are taught to read as the first and the essential step in their education.
We were told that the Three R’s are stressed in Stibnite and ‘Work’ is the motto of teachers and the keynote for children. School keeps five-days a week from 9A.M. until 4P.M. Primary children are dismissed earlier in the afternoon.
The nearest approach to California’s activity program in education, is what Stibnite calls ‘socialized recitations’. In these recitations the child dramatizes the lessen to be learned. For instance, Mrs. McRae’s fifth grade dramatized a history lesson with each child representing a Colony of the first thirteen; they formed a Continental Congress, made motions and seconded them and delivered speeches.
The school, however, sticks to the formal type of training and stresses the foundation of ‘reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, although it does give the child the advantages of music, art gymnasium and square dancing. There are always the annual Christmas entertainment, the school picnic, and the Junior Ski meet.
The recreation Hall provides motion pictures, and auditorium and stage and a bowling alley. Stibnite’s winter climate is rugged and severe. The ground is under snow almost five months a year. The floating type of employee does not go to Stibnite, as a rule, by reason of the isolation and the climate. Mr. McRae told us, that while the Company has done everything possible to make living conditions pleasant and reasonable in cost, the fact remains that only those employees who are interested in the operation and like the locations, are permanent. Their love of their work and of the environment, makes for a high class of steady employee and rather an intense community spirit and interest among the residents.
We said ‘Good Bye’ to Stibnite and the charming people we met there, and were flown to McCall in a two-place, 85 Horse Power motored, aluminum Luscom plane. It was piloted by Harry Sargent who is one of the Stibnite Villagers who owns and flies his own plane. Airplane travel and transportation form an important part of Bradley Mining Company activity in Idaho.
In December of 1946, Bradley Field at Boise was dedicated to the memory of Frederick W. Bradley, one of the pioneers in air transportation. The three Bradley brothers, their mother and the Bradley Mining company invested a half million dollars in the Bradley Field installation which includes a complete repair shop, training facilities for pilots; a restaurant and a Sky-Tel for aircraft travelers. Beautiful grounds surround the buildings and in Summer, meals are served in the patio of the Sky-Tel.
The Aircraft Service which operates out of Bradley Field, has twenty planes with Glenn Higby as chief pilot; J. I. Mayes, manager, and Les Randolph, assistant manager. Much of the service is between Boise and Stibnite. Bradley Field and Air Craft Service won the Haire award this year – a bronze plaque given in recognition of the country’s finest private airfield serving air travelers.
John D. Bradley, recalling the memory of his Father’s first travel by air into Alaska and the Yukon in the late twenties, says that he’ll always remember how thrilled his father was at the saving of time – the journey by land that consumed weeks was only a few hours by air.
In the year 1946 and ’47 the people of Stibnite published a booklet of information about their village. We quote a paragraph from the foreword: `To Mr. F. W. Bradley, his sons, John, Worthen, and James, the Yellow Pine Mine Staff and the Yellow Pine Mine employees, all of whom played a part in making Stibnite the outstanding operation and community it is today, this book is dedicated. Some time, someone will write a book telling far more completely the story of Stibnite.’ (end quote)
This broadcast concludes the Stibnite Story, compiled and written by Elsie Flower, who was flown into Stibnite as the guest of the Bradley Mining Company, and conducted on a tour of the Yellow Pine Mine’s Mill and smelter by Superintendent Robert J. McRae, to whom she is indebted for much of the material used in this story. This special broadcast for Idaho listeners comes to you through the courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer of Payette Lakes, Idaho and the Peffer C. B. S. Radio Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for the Idaho broadcasts, at the microphone.
source: J Collord and S McRae (personal correspondence.)
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Stibnite Photos c. 1959-1960
photo collection shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord