Photographs from the late 1800’s to the very early 1900’s are on display inside the main bar at Twin Springs, Idaho. Also on display are a full compliment of mining implements and relics from over 100 years of settlement and life in the back country of the Idaho mountains. Please feel free to inquire at the bar about the history of this beautiful land and when you’ve finished this short history primer, check out the story about the Last Chance Grocery, a tale of life in the old days as told by a former resident who lived along the Middle Fork of the Boise River in Twin Springs!
Mining operations took place in what became known as the “Glory Hole” It was basically a huge hole dug into the side of the mountain in an effort to get to the gold deposits that were known throughout the area. It’s name came from the immense amounts of gold taken out of it.You can still hike up to this spot today and see the hole and the efforts which the miners went through to get at the precious metal that drove the area economy until the mid 1900’s.
Many logging operations existed in these rugged Central Idaho mountains. These men worked with manual tools in a hard environment and rarely knew the comforts of city life. Yet, most of these men would have it no other way and often migrated from logging camp to logging camp throughout the Northwest.
The original cabin/store in Twin Springs served as a store, school, lodging, kitchen, and home for many generations. It was been expanded several times during it’s lifetime and the basis of the building still stands today. It served all of these functions for years while the road and civilization moved around it to accommodate, ceding to the pace of life in Twin Springs.
From a nearby mountain, above town, you can see the river’s course, which has not changed significantly, although most of the buildings are no longer here.
A sluice line that was built by the miners to carry water to the mines. It functioned as a giant wooden aqueduct. There were miles and miles of these sluices and they came at a very expensive cost. However, the price was offset by the fact that, at that time, the entire Central Idaho mountain region was the main gold producer in the US.
Take a hike up to the meadows above Twin Springs and you can still find the remains of this sluice line, the wooden timbers still in place. Often large spikes that were used to nail the wood together can be found lying on the ground around the line. These spikes were very heavy iron and a lot of manual labor was used to make these sluices and move massive quantities of water. It was an incredible effort, all to get to the gold under the mountain.
We have several projects going at Twin Springs at any given time. Currently we are continuing a major landscaping effort, as well as celebrating our success providing full time power! The water wheel is now a nice piece of art and our power is delivered through a high-tech system that converts water pressure to electricity and stores the excess in batteries for the heavy use times. This project took many years and will continue to be improved upon to provide a constant power source that is completely ecologically friendly.
Our intention is to participate in projects wherever possible that help us understand nature and preserve our resources. Whether it be fish, fowl, or the geological bounty of this place, we are blessed with Twin Springs and act as good stewards of the land. Other projects of note include a new trail system in the hills above us for hiking, biking, and snowshoeing, the completion of our cold storage cave, and the final cleanup and restoration of the greenhouses. For those of you who are curious about how this new power system works, check the Hydropower page for the links to PDF diagrams.