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Silver City, high in the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho, became an important gold and silver mining center after prospectors struck it rich near the headwaters of Jordan Creek in 1862. A 500-pound solid silver crystal from the nearby Poorman mine on War Eagle Mountain won a prize at the 1866 exposition in Paris.
Mining remained a force until 1912, then continued sporadically through the 1930s. In its heyday Silver City boasted a courthouse, hotels, Idaho's first daily newspaper and a population of 3,000. By 1920 its population had fallen to 100.
A walk down Silver City's unpaved streets is a living-history tour. Some 75 buildings remain of this once boisterous mining town. The 1892 schoolhouse and drugstore are now museums. On the knoll near the school is Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church. The 20-bedroom Idaho Hotel, which is also a museum, dominates Main Street and was once the finest in the territory. Several historic cemeteries are in the community.
Note: The 21-mile road leading to Silver City from SR 78 south of Murphy is paved for only the first 8 miles (the rest is graveled) and is not recommended for oversize vehicles. The road is not maintained in winter and is normally closed early October to late May. Phone (208) 583-4104 (Idaho Hotel) or write P.O. Box 75, Murphy, ID 83650-0075, for weather and road conditions.
The first 8 miles of the 25-mile road leading west from Silver City to Jordan Valley, Ore., are rough, winding and narrow. There are no automobile service facilities in the vicinity.
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Current Location: Silver City, Idaho