~ Blaine County
Blaine County was created by the state legislature on March 5,
1895, by combining Alturas and Logan
counties. Its present boundaries were set on February 8, 1917, when a western
portion became Camas
The county is named after former congressman
and 1884 Republican presidential nominee James G. Blaine (1830-93). Born in Pennsylvania and a resident of Maine,
Blaine had served as Secretary of State, U.S.
Senator, and Speaker of the House. The county seat and largest city is Hailey.
The county is home to the Sun Valley ski
resort, adjacent to Ketchum.
The Wood River Valley
in present-day Blaine County was organized as part of Alturas County
by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1864. By the 1880s the area became
noted for its mining economy. In 1882 the county seat of Alturas
County was moved from Rocky Bar in
present-day Elmore County to Hailey, in response to a population shift
from Rocky Bar – which would eventually become a ghost town – to the Wood River
After Idaho statehood in 1890, as in the rest of the state,
mining gradually decreased in significance in Blaine County.
At its creation in March 1895, Blaine
County included five
other present-day counties. Less than two weeks later, Lincoln County
was carved from it and later partitioned into Gooding (1913), Minidoka (1913),
and Jerome (1919) counties. Blaine County was further reduced in 1917 when Camas County
county began to recast itself as a tourism destination in 1936 with the opening
of the Sun Valley Resort, originally owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. The
area soon attracted celebrity visitors, and later residents, most notably Ernest Hemingway, who is buried in the Ketchum Cemetery.
Bellevue is located in
the Wood River
Valley, about 18 miles south of the
resort area of Ketchum and Sun Valley. The
city of Hailey and the airport are a few miles
north of Bellevue.
The Big Wood River
flows near downtown. The population was 2,287 at the 2010 census.
Carey is primarily an agricultural
city and is the location of the Blaine County Fairgrounds. Nearby recreational
destinations include the Craters of the
Moon National Monument, Carey Lake,
Silver Creek and the Little Wood River
Hailey is named after John
Hailey, a two-time Congressional delegate from the Idaho Territory.
Ketchum was originally the smelting center of
the Warm Springs mining district, the town was first named Leadville in 1880.
The postal department decided that was too common and renamed it for David
Ketchum, a local trapper and guide who had staked a claim in the basin a year
earlier. Smelters were built in the 1880s, with the Philadelphia
Smelter, located on Warm Springs Road, processing large
amounts of lead and silver for about a decade.
mining boom subsided in the 1890s, sheepmen from the
south drove their herds north through Ketchum in the summer, to graze in the
upper elevation areas of the Pioneer, Boulder,
Mountains. By 1920, Ketchum had become the largest
sheep-shipping center in the West. In the fall, massive herds of sheep flowed
south into the town's livestock corrals at the Union Pacific Railroad's railhead,
which connected to the main line at Shoshone.
development of Sun Valley by the Union Pacific
Railroad in 1936, Ketchum became popular with celebrities, including Gary
Cooper and Ernest Hemingway.
Bald Mountain (9150 feet), "Baldy" is the
primary ski mountain of the Sun Valley ski
resort, renowned for its lengthy runs of constant gradient, at varying levels
of difficulty, with absence of wind.
Photos from Wikipedia
Sun Valley is a
resort city with a population of about 1,406. The first destination winter
resort in the U.S.
was developed by W. Averell Harriman, the chairman of
the Union Pacific Railroad, primarily to increase ridership on U.P. passenger
trains in the West. The success of the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New
York, spurred an increase in participation in winter
sports (and alpine skiing in particular). A lifelong skier, Harriman determined
that America would embrace a
destination mountain resort, similar to those he enjoyed in the Swiss Alps,
such as St. Moritz
and Davos. During the winter of 1935–36, Harriman
enlisted the services of an Austrian count, Felix Schaffgotsch,
to travel across the western U.S.
to locate an ideal site for a winter resort. The Count toured Mount Rainier,
Mount Hood, Yosemite, the San Bernardino Mountains, Zion, Rocky
Park, the Wasatch Mountains, Pocatello, Jackson Hole, and Grand Targhee
areas. Late in his trip and on the verge of abandoning his search for an ideal
location for a mountain resort development, he backtracked toward the Ketchum
area in central Idaho.
A U.P. employee in Boise
had casually mentioned that the rail spur to Ketchum cost the company more
money for snow removal than any other branch line and the Count went to
Schaffgotsch was impressed by the combination of Bald Mountain
and its surrounding mountains, adequate snowfall, abundant sunshine, moderate
elevation, and absence of wind, and selected it as the site. Harriman visited
several weeks later and agreed. The 3,888-acre Brass Ranch was purchased for
about $4 per acre and construction commenced that spring; it was built in seven
months for $1.5 million.
Pioneering publicist Steve Hannigan, who had
successfully promoted Miami Beach, Florida, was hired and named the resort "Sun Valley." (Count Schaffgotsch
returned to Austria
and was killed on the Eastern Front during World War II.) The centerpiece of
the new resort was the Sun Valley
Lodge, which opened in December 1936. The 220-room, X-shaped
lodge's exterior was constructed of concrete, poured inside rough-sawn forms.
The wood grain was impressed on the concrete finish, which was acid-stained
brown to imitate wood.
Historic Ski School
Sign. Photo by Chalmers Butterfield
Swiss-style Sun Valley Inn (formerly the "Challenger Inn")
and village were also part of the initial resort, opening in 1937. Hannigan wanted swimming pools at the resort, "so
people won't think skiing is too cold." Both the Lodge and the Inn have heated outdoor swimming pools, circular in
shape. Hannigan had the pools designed this way,
unique at the time, in the hope they would be widely photographed, providing
free publicity, and it worked.
to Sun Valley are relatively close to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, accessed
over Galena Summit on Highway 75, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway.
the heavens open up and shine down upon us. While the Aspens were sparse, the
God Rays electrified a small grove on them in the distance. Located
in the Sawtooth Valley of Sawtooth
National Recreation Area, Idaho. Photo from Wikipedia
Unincorporated communities: Picabo, Triumph,
City. Ghost towns: Boulder
City and Vienna
Picabo is an unincorporated
community. The community is surrounded by large ranches and irrigated fields.
The name "Picabo" supposedly derives from a
Native American term translated as "silver water". The name “Picabo” was made familiar by Picabo Street,
an Olympic skier who grew up in nearby Triumph.
(an unincorporated community) was founded as a mining camp after a mine was
opened in the area on July 2, 1878; discoveries in the Sawtooth City area grew out of discoveries to the
south. Its peak was between the years 1880 and 1886. A community cemetery is
located northeast of central Sawtooth City.
Sawtooth City sits at an altitude of 7,342 feet, along Beaver
Creek near its confluence with the Salmon River
in the Sawtooth Valley of Sawtooth
National Recreation Area.
the entire community was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a
Triumph is an unincorporated village in
the East Fork of Big Wood River. Triumph was the location of the famous Triumph
Mine, which closed in 1957 after a history of producing millions of dollars in
silver and lead since its discovery in the late 19th century. It is located
approximately 12 miles north of Hailey. Population is less than 50 full-time
Triumph mine was first discovered in 1883 with the recording of the North Star
claim. Additional claims were grouped together over the next 20 years and
operated as 14 separate mining companies. All the ore was processed by the
Philadelphia Mining and Smelting Company in Ketchum. The North Star mill was
built in 1889 by the Freedman's of The Philadelphia Company. They were bought
out by George Hurst around 1927 and his San Louise Mining Company. In 1933,
fire destroyed the stamp mill works and ore was stockpiled. Around 1937 the
Department of the interior, under the contro; of The
War Department, expanded the Triumph Mine. Federal money built a modern sink
float mill, new offices, warehouses and a Main Tunnel that went straight into
the mountain for a mile and a half. The small companies were joined to form
"The Triumph Mining Co" who, at its WW2 peak, employed 200 men, 24
hours a day, and held the world record for zinc. By 1959, lead, silver, and
zinc prices had fallen to half of the WW2 price while union labour
was demanding higher wages. The mine was shut down in 1959 and sold to the
Forman. Rupert House formed the Triumph Mineral Company in 1964 and began
mining again in 1970. In 1982 the mine was leased to The Getty Mining Company
and they did an extensive drilling and exploration of both the Mine and the
Tailings. Company records show about $45,000,000 in gold left in the Tailings
but the gold was not a strategic metal and was not of interest to the War
Department. In 1988 the EPA listed Triumph as a Potencial
Hazard so in the next 10 years they spent millions on a bureaucratic boondoggle
(Clean up). The EPA and State, instead of recovering the gold to pay for the
cleanup, buried it. In 2007 the Triumph Mine was purchased by Carl Massaro. The goal was to build a small solar village on the
mill site and a large solar collector as suggested by the new EPA's "Mine
Scarred Program". This solar project met with public criticism and
ultimately failed. The mountain was sold to Denovo in
2008 but "The Triumph Mineral Co" holds the tailings with plans for a
solar project in the works for that site. The Denovo
Company has cleaned the site and plans additional land uses. Although the mine
sill has resources, and agreement was reached by State and Local authorities,
to never mine again.
base of the Sawtooth
Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Headwaters of the Salmon River northwest side of Galena Summit. The Sawtooth Mountains in the background. Photo El-Wyhee Hi-Lites / Ed Walter
Source: Wikipedia, Blaine County, El-Wyhee
Hi-Lites, Elmore County Press, City of Ketchum, City of Bellevue, & City of