A Ghost Town is a town or community that at one time had a commercial or population center, and is either wholly abandoned or faded greatly from its peak, and now is just a shadow of its former self.
The state of Idaho is rich in natural resources and scenery, and has been drawing people to its high mountains and wide rich river bottoms for nearly 200 years. Fur traders first discovered the Gem State in the 1830s and established fur trading enters here. When migration to Oregon began in the 1840s and the California Gold Rush after 1848, southeastern Idaho became an important traveling area, especially along the Snake River.
In the early 1860s gold was discovered in the mountains to the north of the Snake River basin, and all bets were off. Idaho then enjoyed boom after boom, and rush after rush as the rich deposits of gold, silver, copper and other minerals were discovered and exploited. Mining towns popped up overnight, boomed, and disappeared as the miners went off in search of another rainbow.
Today, because of the low population, and the ruggedness of some of the locations, Idaho has many remaining ghost towns and old mining camps still available for a visit. HOWEVER, many are located in the back-country and a four-wheel drive vehicle is required to visit them.
Agriculture also played an important role in development of a number of ghost towns. The southern part of the state has wide, rich river lands that are amenable to farming, and during the last few decades of the 19th century and the first couple in the 20th, many farming communities were established to serve these agrarian pursuits. However, as is typical in most farming areas (esp. seen in the Great Plains states), the advent of improved transportation and loss of the small “mom & pop” farms to agricultural conglomerates have doomed many of these towns to ghost hood.
Idaho is rich in ghost towns, and a lifetime could be spent pursuing all of them. Listed below are 30 locations to get you started.
All ghost towns can be categorized into five basic classes based on what remains at the site.
See sample photos by clicking on the “Class #”.
Class A…barren site
Class B…rubble and/or roofless building ruins
Class C…standing abandoned buildings (with roofs), no population, except maybe a caretaker.
Class D…semi/near ghost towns. A small resident population, many abandoned buildings.
Class E…busy historic community, yet still much smaller than in its boom years.
Class F…Not a stand-alone class, but is an addition to any of the above. This class usually designates a restored town, state park, or indicates some other “additional” status.
source: Ghost Town U.S.A