Silver City - A Snapshot of Idaho History
Founded in 1864 with the discovery of rich ore deposits in the surrounding mountains, Silver City epitomizes the rough and tumble existence of the townspeople determined to carve out a living in the rugged landscape.
Silver city was the first place in Idaho where a daily newspaper and telegraph office were established. At the height of the mining boom, the town boasted a population around 2500 hardy souls. Winters were harsh, but that did not deter the establishment of numerous businesses and residences, many which still stand to this day and are privately owned.
The Idaho Standard School opened in 1892 and filled educational needs all the way through High School and has been recently renovated. Lower grades received instruction on the first floor while the upper classes occupied the second floor. Annual meetings are still held on the first floor while the second floor now houses a private museum.
Among the structures remaining are the Idaho Hotel, Knapp Drug Store, the Stoddard House, Masonic Hall, Hawes Bazaar, Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church and the Silver Slipper Saloon. Dotted around the outskirts of Silver City are a handful of cemeteries which, through their weathered headstones, relate how brief life could be during this time.
Located in the mountains West of Murphy, the town is accessible by dirt road from mid-May to early October. As the road has rough sections, a vehicle with clearance like an SUV or pickup truck is advisable. The second weekend after Labor Day, Silver City property owners host an Annual Open House where select residences are open to the public and, for a fee, can be toured with many of them outfitted as they were at the end of the 1800s. Silver City is approximately two hours from Boise and makes an excellent day trip from there or Mountain Home. There is also another dirt road in from Jordan Valley, OR.