Bayhorse, ID High 88 Low 53
There is a buffalo jump on the road to Bayhorse. Before the miners were the Native Americans who roamed this land. The buffalo provided them with food, clothes and shelter.
If only these old buildings could talk. The stories they could tell. Jim and I love wandering through ghost towns, trying to put ourselves in the place of those who once walked the streets. What was it like to live there? I, for one, am glad I never did live back in those days. I like my indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, food at the grocery store, doctor's available with hospitals close by. Being able to order online and have stuff just show up on my doorstep. Not having to make my own clothes. And my list goes on and on. I admire the fortitude of our ancestors who settled new lands and started cities.
But most mining towns were started by the possibility of an easy payload. The ever elusive silver or gold that would bring fortunes to many. Then when the veins died out, the towns were deserted and left to rot.
Bayhorse, ID is one such town. But it is lucky because it has been preserved for those of us who want to explore the past.
road to Bayhorse is dirt and narrow in many places. We kept our fingers
crossed that we wouldn't meet a vehicle coming from the other
direction. We lucked out and didn't meet anyone coming up or down the mountain as we traveled back in time.
Jim checking out some of the equipment used at the mill and marveling at how they were able to transport and build these things.
In 1864 prospectors met a man with two bay horses who told them about a rich mining area in a canyon where two creeks merged This man's name is long forgotten but people remembered his two bay horses and thus one of the creek's became known as Bayhorse which led to the town that soon grew up near the creek being called Bayhorse.
It wasn't until 1872 that a lead-silver vein was discovered and the town of Bayhorse started to come alive. They were able to mine 10 million dollars worth of metals during it's heyday. 300 people called Bayhorse home at one time, but as the prices for silver fell, people moved away and Bayhorse became just another ghost mining town.
Sarah Vance owned both the Nevada Hotel and the Bayhorse Hotel. Quite an enterprising woman.
The Stone Building was owned by Jack Gilmer and Orange James Salisbury. They were the owners of a successful state company headquartered in Salt Lake City - Wells Fargo.
Jack and Orange also owned the Bayhorse Mill. The mill relied on gravity to move the rock through. It was built on a hillside and ore was brought to the top of the mill and moved down through the grizzly. Rocks too large went to the jaw crusher. After another fine crushing the ore moved across sluice boxes to settling tanks.
When you consider how far up into the mountains the mill was located and how harsh the winters were when the people were snowed in for months, it's amazing that they were able to survive for as long as they did.
Bayhorse is now a part of the Idaho State Park system and work is underway to preserve the heritage of the area.
Maybe we didn't meet any ghosts but their stories came alive for us as we walked in their footsteps.