The Stibnite Mine is located about 13 miles from Yellow Pine. Stibnite was a “company” town of several thousand people, with its own hospital and school. There was also a bowling alley, a theater, a ski team and a high school football team! Because of the discovery of tungsten, Stibnite’s importance to the war effort in the 1940’s vastly overshadowed that of other mining communities in Idaho.
“Yellow Pine is in existence as a result of the activity up at Stibnite,” says geologist Nancy Richter. “The miners came from Warren, over the mountain to Thunder Mountain, where they heard there was a gold rush, and eventually made their way to this area where they did find gold. Yellow Pine was a staging stop for supplies, as well as a night time activity spot for the guys.”
According to geologist Richter, the Stibnite mine went through three phases of operation. First, it was a gold mine; then during World War Two it was a supplier of tungsten, which is an alloy of steel; and then in the 1980’s, when the price of gold skyrocketed, it was a gold mine again.
The most important phase of Stibnite’s mining activity was during the 1940’s and early 1950’s, when Stibnite produced nearly 80% of America’s tungsten. Tungsten is a hardener of steel and therefore important in a country’s war efforts. The reason tungsten was found at Stibnite, according to Richter, is because of the Idaho batholith.
Link to Stibnite History (road, travel)
Link to History of the Stibnite Mining District
Link to Fern Creek Cinnabar District
“History of the Stibnite Mining Valley County, Idaho”, by Victoria Mitchell for the Idaho Geology Survey 2000 (27 meg)
page updated June 28, 2018