10 September 2009
Once again we decided to spend a day exploring history. So we packed an ice chest and headed out. Dressed in jeans and tennis shoes for walking and exploring; our mission was to visit some near by ghost towns. Our destination was Burke, Idaho.
Burke Idaho lays in ruins. What once was a thriving rich community, though in some ways inhospitable due to the lack of room and over population of the area, not to mention the harsh winter conditions, is now reduced to rubble and empty buildings.
I couldn't resist snapping a shot of the "Ghost Town Auto." Apparently someone had a sense of humor about the state of the town.
You might want to visit Ripley's Ghost Towns. The photos on their page were taken at a much earlier date then the ones here that I just took. For instance you can see the foundations of two buildings beside the green house in the top photo, but on Ripley's the buildings are still there. Slowly the last remaining pieces of this history will be gone.
I've read a few times about the Tiger Hotel. I wished I could have seen it. It's been gone for many years, but it was one of a kind. There has never been another hotel that had a rail, a road and stream running through it's lobby. This was necessary in Burke since the canyon is very narrow (about 300 ft at center). There wasn't room for a hotel to be built off the side of the road. So they threw tradition out the window and built it over the road and the stream, and later the railroad was ran through it as well.
As you look around Burke you eventually realized that not only are the building collapsing and being reduced to rubble but so are the retaining walls. As a way to build the necessary buildings to run the mine and housing for the miners, retaining walls were built up and down the canyon. This allowed for more level building ground on which to build. Now in many areas of the canyon all you see are logs sticking out of the side of the mountain as they decay in the summer sun and harsh winter snows of this area.
We first got side tracked in Wallace, Idaho before we went up to Burke. Though we have been here many times we had never gotten the chance to go through the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. It was well worth it. The children even enjoyed the history lesson on mining. On the tour the guide did point out the famous Nine Mile Cemetery outside of Wallace. Unfortunately we didn't have time to go back up the hill and see it later. It will have to be another trip and another excuse to go up there again.
You can see the whole family here in front of the Silver Mine and below is a photo of our fabulous tour guide. With a sense of humor he took us through the mine and showed us the harsh conditions and hard work these men and women go through to get our precious minerals and stones out of the earth. It certainly isn't a job I would want to do.
I couldn't resist sharing this photo of my husband and kids playing in the sand. I don't know who was having more fun him or her.