I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ghost Town: Ruby City, Idaho

After silver and gold was discovered in 1863 along what is now Jordan Creek in Idaho's Owyhee Mountains, a mining boom erupted in southwest Idaho, creating several towns in rapid succession. Ruby City was one of them.

In fact, Ruby City was Owyhee County's first official city and its county seat. As such, it boasted a sheriff, lawyers, a post office, a newspaper (the Avalanche), mercantiles, smiths, and miners--possibly thousands of them, working in the lodes on on War Eagle Mountain.

Men outnumbered women by 200 to 1 at one point, so one can only imagine the number of saloons in town, too. Anyone interested in making money off the miners (including a traveling circus) made the journey to Ruby City and its neighboring mining towns.

The town thrived despite the high costs of living there: it wasn't easy to haul goods to Ruby City, and some of the paths to reach it were toll roads. Nevertheless, residents who could afford more than a tent built wood homes and businesses. 

One of them was the Idaho Hotel, build in 1863. In 1866, a third story wing was added to accommodate more guests.

In 1864, however, a new town was laid out a mile away: Silver City. It was closer to the mines and out of the wind that sometimes swept through Ruby City. By the end of 1866, the decision was made to transfer the county seat from Ruby City to Silver City in the New Year.

Folks started to move from Ruby City and bring their homes and businesses with them. The Idaho Hotel was dismantled in December of '66, and its pieces were loaded onto sleds, pulled by oxen through the snow to its new home in Silver City, where it stands today. While Silver City is now a ghost town, visitors can still stay at the Idaho Hotel during warmer months.

Since so much of Ruby City was dismantled and moved, nothing really remains there today beyond some white stone markers in the cemetery. In fact, the site of the town has all but disappeared since the area was used for hydraulic placer mining.

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