Go off the grid and visit a ghost town that comes alive every summer.
Norma Russell explores the dusty streets of Silver City, Idaho.
AS SOON AS THE SNOW melts, yesteryear prevails in Silver City, once a booming mining town about 75 miles southwest of Boise in the Owyhee Mountains.
To go back in time, simply walk Silver City’s dusty streets. Explore its historic buildings and try to imagine what life was like in the 1860s when there were some 400 houses and 125 businesses (including 12 ore-processing mills).
About 65 houses and a few businesses remain. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the town is in a bit of a revival. The school has pressed metal above its windows and Greek revival motifs; Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church, dedicated in 1868, has new stained-glass windows and front doors custom-built to match the originals.
The town hasn’t had electricity since transmission lines were removed in the 1940s. But Silver City had the territory’s first telegraph and daily newspaper, with phone service arriving by 1880.
Silver City is open to the public from Memorial Day until early October. During the annual Open House, held the second weekend after Labor Day, most of the town’s buildings are open for tours. The fee to wander is $10.
THE DISCOVERY OF SILVER in the Owyhee Mountains gave rise to Silver City (above left). Continuing clockwise: the school, ruins of the old jail and Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church.