It wasn’t long after Lewis and Clark made their expedition through Idaho that gold became being reported. Franklin, Idaho’s first permanent settlement, was founded just after Gold was discovered on Orofino Creek (orofino meaning “fine gold”). It could in fact be said that Idaho became a state in many ways because of gold.
In 1862 George Grimes and Moses Splawn found gold on what came to be known as “Grimes Creek” after hearing legends from the natives of the area. George himself died just a few days ( reportedly killed by Indians ) after making the big gold fine that set off the largest gold rush in history!
The influx of miners quickly changed the area from a wilderness inhabited mainly by Native Americans to a booming mining community. Cities of thousands like Placerville, Idaho City, and Atlanta sprang up – and faded away – almost overnight!
More Gold Than Alaska
According to many more gold came from the Boise Basin area than Alaska, so much so that many buildings in these old boom towns were raised up so that the areas underneath them could be mined. This in fact explains and is proven by the fact that one of the stone buildings in Idaho City, which used to house a bank, also has its own mine shaft.
In a little more than a century of mining, Idaho has produced an estimated $2,920,000,000 worth of minerals, mostly in metals. Many of these rich areas are still as of yet fully explored using modern mining methods available to us, the recreational prospector. Some say the BIG strike in Idaho is truly yet to be found and there’s just one way to find out!