Tucked into the green Boise
Basin northeast of
state capital and its urbanity behind, head southeast on Interstate 84, and
exit at EXIT 57, dropping onto State Highway 21. Only 34 miles from the Interstate, old wooden
false fronts and brick buildings welcome you to
Centerville, at mile 4.6, is a road junction.
The left fork continues towards Horseshoe Bend, which is a small town on
State Highway 55, about 30 miles north of
circuit of the square, I backed into a flat spot between the City Hall and the
Boise Basin Mercantile. This little town
was a real find. To say I was pleased is
an understatement. The official 1990
Most all the standing buildings are in a good state of repair, but at the time of our visit, none were open. I peeked in windows and glass doors, noting only a couple that may still be in use, or at least were until quite recently (summer 1999).
Off to the southwest
towards the cemetery, weekend and summer cabins are beginning to fill in among
the trees. Even so, the
The Boise Basin is fertile ground for exploration, and if you have a vehicle capable of traversing rough roads, you have a much better chance of getting into the back country and finding the ruins of places like “Old” CENTERVILLE and PIONEERVILLE, as well as BOSTON, BUENA VISTA BAR, ELKHORN, GABRINUS MINE, GRANITE CITY, MAMMOTH MINE & MILL, MAYFLOWER MINE, MOORSTOWN, PINE GROVE and POMONA, among others.
From 1862 to 1870 every grain of soil was panned, sluiced and washed for gold. The entire basin was a placer mining bonanza, with finds as rich as $100 per day, or $20 for a flour sack full of dirt. However, a summer-time lack of water created hardship, but within a year or two even that minor inconvenience was licked by means of ditches from streams to the diggings. Later, dredges worked the deeper placer deposits, and hard-rock mining followed by the early 1870s. The future of mining in the Basin was assured ... until 1942 when the federal government required most mines to close for the duration of the war.
· Ctr Sec 14, T7N, R4E, Boise Meridian & Baseline
· Latitude: 43.9432267 / 43° 56’ 36” N
· Longitude: -115.9470600 / 115° 56’ 49” W
This was our GHOST TOWN OF THE MONTH for May 2003.
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FIRST POSTED: May 03, 2003
LAST UPDATED: August 24, 2009
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