Rescuing a Pioneer Cemetery

By Mychel Matthews (view original article here)

HAGERMAN — The oldest graves around here are 165 years old, under a cairn along the Old Oregon Trail near Salmon Falls. Others graves are closer to town.

Johnny Smalley was bitten by a rattlesnake. And Harry Cline, aka outlaw Bronco Pete, was killed by a posse in 1898 when he crossed the river to say goodbye to his girlfriend at Kanaka Flats.

Smalley and Cline and some 90 or so others are buried in Hagerman’s Pioneer Cemetery, among the dozen graveyards in Gooding County.

The Pioneer Cemetery, with only a few dozen marked graves, has been all but forgotten.

“I bet half the town doesn’t even know it’s here,” said Tom Smith, Hagerman Cemetery District sexton.

But one man has taken it upon himself to change that.

“My goal is to get it cleaned up and presentable,” said Hagerman resident Stan Bartlett. Those interred here “deserve more respect than they are getting.”

Why now?

Bartlett has spinal cancer, and he wants to devote the rest of his life to doing something meaningful.

The graveyard hasn’t been used in decades. Some of the graves may never have had markers; others were made of wood and have disintegrated over the years. Few pioneers could afford etched headstones.

“I got out of treatment in the middle of July and started working on it,” the 78-year-old Bartlett said Thursday. “I just went down there and went to work.”

Thomas Jasper Ayres drowned in the Snake River in 1900 at the age of 23. Billy Wilson and Samuel Baker were murdered in 1892 by James Cross.

Some of those buried in the Pioneer Cemetery were moved from a cemetery in Bliss decades ago when the interstate came through the area.

Jimmy Rickert and T.J. Allison are also buried here. Rickert was gathering coal along the railroad tracks in 1908 and was hit by a train. Allison, a 75-year-old gold miner, died in his camp wagon in 1910.

Finding out who lies where has been a challenge.

“I’d like to find a map of all the plots,” Bartlett said. As of Thursday, he didn’t know a map existed.

“He’s going to be thrilled to know I found a map,” Smith said.

Bartlett has cut down encroaching trees and repaired broken headstones. The work is slow and never ending, he said, as he demonstrated how he makes 7-foot swaths through pin grass and crested wheat with his weed-eater.

He carefully traversed the rough cemetery ground, resting occasionally against the broken branch of a tree.

“This place,” he said, “has given me a purpose.”

Idaho’s Historical Markers

By Mychel Matthews (view original article here)

Salmon Falls

Milepost 186.9 U.S. 30 near Hagerman

In 1812, Joseph Miller found 100 lodges of indians spearing thousands of salmon each afternoon at a cascade below here. Each summer, they dried a year’s supply. After 1842, they also traded salmon to Oregon Trail emigrants. Explorer John C. Fremont marveled at Salmon Falls’ 18-foot vertical drop, noting that the drop gave the scene “much picturesque beauty and make(s) it one of those places that the traveler turns again and again to fix in his memory.”

Thousand Springs

Milepost 186.9 U.S. 30 near Hagerman

A long series of lava flows buried old river channels in this area and created a multitude of famous springs here.

Payne’s Ferry

Milepost 190.4 U.S. 30

A scow powered by oarsmen let Oregon Trail wagons cross the Snake River here from 1852 to 1870.

Fishing Springs

Milepost 190.4 U.S. 30

As the Snake River’s highest salmon cascades, Fishing Falls was included on many early Western maps.

Magic Dam

Milepost 91 Idaho 75 near Shoshone

The $3 million Magic Dam stores up to 190,000 acre feet of irrigation water for 89,000 acres of farms near Shoshone and Richfield.

Wood River Mines

Milepost 112.8 Idaho 75

Rich strikes in 1879 precipitated a rush to the lead-silver mines of this valley. One mine alone, the famous Minnie Moore Mine, produced $8.4 million worth of ore.

Ski Lifts

Milepost 130.8 Idaho 75

When Sun Valley Lodge was built in 1936, Union Pacific engineers developed chair lifts to transport skiers uphill.

Starting with two modest ski slopes on Dollar Mountain and Proctor Mountain, chair lifts were used for all Sun Valley ski runs. Far superior to tow ropes and similar devices employed before 1936, they quickly became popular at ski resorts everywhere. New designs were adopted for additional Sun Valley ski runs, but one 1936-style chair lift still is preserved four miles up Trail Creek Road from here.


Milepost 151.8 Idaho 75

Warren P. Callahan found a rich lead-silver mine here in 1879, followed by thousands of miners into Wood River in 1880. Galena had a hotel, four general stores, a livery stable, several saloons and dining halls, a shoe store, and daily stage service to Hailey.

Hudspeth’s Cutoff

Milepost 2.8 Idaho 77 near Malta

This shortcut to the California gold fields, followed by most of the ‘49ers, came out of the hills to the east and joined the old California Trail just about here.

Diamondfield Jack

Milepost 18.4 on Idaho 77 at Albion Public Square

By far the most famous gunman of Idaho’s sheep and cattle wars, “Diamondfield Jack” Davis was tried here for shooting two sheepherders in 1896. Twice he narrowly escaped hanging, before the pardon board turned him loose in 1902.

Salmon Dam

Milepost 11.2 U.S. 93 near Rogerson

Intended to create a large reservoir to irrigate desert lands north of here, the Salmon Dam was only a partial success.

Shoshone Falls

Visitors center at 2015 Neilsen Point Place in Twin Falls

Four miles east of here, the Snake River falls thunders 210 feet over a rocky ledge higher than the famous Niagara Falls.

College of Southern Idaho

Visitors center 2015 Neilsen Point Place in Twin Falls

In 1964, Twin Falls County voters established a community college, and Jerome County soon voted to join their college district. In 1968, a modern campus was born.

Shoshone Historic District

Milepost 72.9 U.S. 93

South-central Idaho’s rail center since 1882 when trains reached here, Shoshone has a historic district of unusual interest. Vast sheep grazing lands made this a major early center for Basque herders.

City of Rocks

Idaho 27 1 mile north of Oakley

A vast display of towering granite rocks that were miles southeast of here attracted emigrants on their way to California. A gold rush visitor on July 14, 1849, said “you can imagine among those massive piles, church domes, spires, pyramids … with a little fancying you can see (anything) from the Capitol at Washington to a lowly thatched cottage.”

Minidoka Dam

Milepost 10.6 Idaho 24 near Acequia

An important pioneer federal reclamation dam and power plant provides water and electricity for farms and cities nearby. Constructed five miles east of here between 1904 and 1906 at a cost of $675,000, Minidoka Dam diverts water into canals 86 feet above the Snake River.

Camp Rupert

Milepost 41 Idaho 25 west of Paul

From 1943 to 1946, Camp Rupert was the largest prisoner of war camp in Idaho, housing some 4,000 POWs. Most were German and Italian. The Camp was maintained by nearly 1,000 army personnel and civilians. The historical marker was the last erected in the Magic Valley.

Hagerman Museum: Ancient Fossils and an Explorer’s Map

By Mychel Matthews (view original article here)

HAGERMAN — The Hagerman Valley Historical Society is the unlikely owner of a valuable art collection, which has the group scrambling to raise money for a new building to display the paintings.

For now, 600 oil paintings by landscape impressionist Archie “Teton” Teater donated to the society are housed in a Twin Falls bank vault.

Other artifacts owned by the society have been housed since 1984 in a 1909 bank building at Hagerman’s State and Main streets. Prior to becoming what the historical society calls “the biggest little museum in Idaho,” the building was a post office for nearly a half-century. The historical society leases it from the city for a small fee.

To launch the fundraising campaign for the new museum building, the society will host a dinner from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 in City Park along with tours of Teater’s studio, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, overlooking the Snake River near Hagerman.

3 can’t-miss items

At the museum, be sure to look for these:

A full replica of the 3 million-year-old Hagerman Horse fossil on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.

An original lithograph map of Capt. John C. Fremont’s 1843 expedition from St. Louis to Oregon, one of five copies known to exist.

Teater’s oil painting of Custer’s Last Stand.