Gold was a large draw that brought people to Idaho and it caused Idaho to be one of the first states on the western side of the country. It was such a large part of history that it dictated the current capital of the state. This decision created a lot of competition within the state as Lewiston was the first capital but due to the amount of gold and wealth that was in Boise, it took the title of capital. Gold was a big find in Idaho in 1860 when ten men sought out to dig for gold. When Wilber Basset struck some near Canal Gulch his findings set off one of the largest migrations in America. As people came swarming in more and more people were announcing that they had found gold. This only attracted more and more people to the area. They looked near the Columbia and Snake River as well as Canal Gluch. In two years more than $600,000 (converted to modern prices) worth of gold was found a day. Within that same year, miners discover the most prominent gold mining area, the Boise Basin. As time went on and history developed people became wealthy in the areas that were rich in gold and later silver as well. Idaho gets its first railroad to transfer people’s findings, mines begin to form and other types of mines being to form.
The gold and silver that was mined when the state was first formed is a very key part of the development of the state and it affects the lives of Idaho’s inhabitants today. There is a lot of history that we learn about and there are places that you can go to learn how to pan handle and they teach you about Idaho’s history with gold and silver. There are still rivers that are full of gold such as the Boise River, the Salmon River. The Payette River, the Clearwater River, the Red River, the American River and the Snake River. These rivers can be several hundred miles long and they can split in different directions. The gold will not be evenly dispersed throughout this area and if you are looking for gold or silver it will require time, patience, some knowledge of the state and a little bit of luck. It can be a fun pastime to go and look for gold or it can be a hobby for you and your friends or loved ones. There are also a lot of resources on the history of mining to help you in your search for gold. If you are interested in learning about the history of mining and what brought people here there are websites, books, journals and more all on that very topic and it is very interesting to learn more about the history and culture of the mining days.
Interestingly enough, gold and silver were not discovered at the same time in Idaho. Gold was the first metal of worth that was found and then silver was discovered. There are places now that are near the Snake River that you can visit and you can learn how to panhandle like the men that first came to Idaho for the purpose of striking it rich. These men were not the first ones to make their way to Idaho. They were beaten by the fur traders that made big money trapping beavers and selling their fur. These trappers are the ones that had a lot of information about the land and they knew where the resources were and how to get them. There were some rivalries and competition but they soon realized that there was plenty of resources to go around if they were careful. The miners stuck to what they were good at and they were successful in finding great riches for a while. The mines also helped us discover that you can find nearly every precious stone that you can find on earth in Idaho. This is also the only state in the United States that you can find a substantially sized star garnet and that is how Idaho got it as the state gem. These mines are still in use and they bring money into the state. You can also visit certain areas and learn how to search for precious gems. You learn about the conditions the earth has to be in for certain gems as opposed to others and it can be very interesting to learn about.
The gold and silver rush was a great way to catapult the state into settling. Towns were built and people made lives here. We now have journals, pictures, old tools and the mines that are still standing to remember these times by. These men risked their lives and some even lost theirs trying to make some money and find the treasure buried within the earth. There were mishaps that happened and it is so amazing that we have a record of a lot of what happened during these times from the journals that people wrote while working in the mines. There were a lot of men that left their families in hopes of making money and finding some amazing riches and some really struggled to find anything but as time went on and word spread around about the various places that were full of gold and other precious materials people were more prone to finding the right places to look. There are places now that still have some gold and silver and there are also areas that have precious gemstones. There are museums and articles and sites that you can research to find more information about the gold and silver that was found in Idaho and you can get more insight into those people’s lives. You have a great opportunity to find more stories and feel like you can connect to the people that lived through the mining days and how that brought the present to where it is now. Where would we be without the mining era? How different would the west be without the riches that were secretly stored with in the earth? Luckily, we will never know.