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COMMENTS FROM HISTORIANS

Carlos Schwantes
Author/History professor
Comments on the first gold discovery in Idaho

"Pierce was one of these individuals who roamed the West looking for better fortune than they had. And he happened to be up on some of the Nez Perce land there, very quietly because a treaty had been signed a few years earlier setting aside this land for the Nez Perce, and he found gold…. And so he went back to Walla Walla and gathered up some men to come up to what's now Pierce, Idaho. And that was the beginning of the greatest gold rush after the California gold rush in the history of the Pacific Northwest.
And E.D. Pierce really sparked it."

 

photo of Dr. Katherine AikenDr. Katherine Aiken
History professor University of Idaho
Comments on the longevity of mining in Coeur D'Alene area

"Well it was certainly the longest lasting mining district in United States history. It produced much more than, I think, some mining districts that are more famous like the Comstock Load and Nevada and that. The Silver Valley produced much more than that."

 

photo of Byron JohnsonByron Johnson
Local Historian from Idaho City

"If gold hadn't been discovered in the Boise Basin on August the 2nd of 1862 then there wouldn't have been this tremendous rush of people in to what's now southern Idaho. In fact, there wouldn't have been a Boise, at least in 1863 when it was established. And it wouldn't have become the capitol in 1864. And the territory of Idaho and eventually the state of Idaho wouldn't have had same configuration, the population wouldn't have been based primarily in southern Idaho. And the whole history of the territory and the state would have been different."

 

photo of Faye CoinerFaye Coiner
Local Historian from Leesburg area

"By learning about how they did it you have a new respect for these early pioneers.
And sometimes when things get going tough I think, well but it wasn't as tough as it was then. So I think it is important for us to know where we come from, what the roots were."

 

photo of Dick MollDick Moll
Gilmore Resident Historian

"Sometimes you go out at night you can almost feel it. You can almost hear the ore wagons coming down the hill and stuff like that. I would say it's an important part of this history of the country, certainly in Idaho it is. And I don't think it should be lost, a lot of people lived here, a lot of people worked here."