IDAHO CITY, Idaho — Gold was first discovered in North Idaho, near present-day Pierce, Idaho in 1860, and miners seeking their fortune flooded into the Idaho Territory from across the world. But that wasn't the only place in the Gem State that experienced a gold rush at the time.
As the story goes, George Grimes and Moses Splawn were the first to discover gold in the Boise Basin. Splawn was apparently told by a Native American that there was so much gold just laying around it could be picked up by the fistfuls.
They went to the area and eventually found it on August 2, 1862, along creeks that would later be known as the Grimes and Mores.
The discovery of gold led to the establishment of Idaho City, which became one of the most populated places in the Northwest.
Within a couple of years, it was the largest town between St Louis and San Francisco and the largest city in the Northwest at the time, with more than 7,000 residents.
However, it wasn't always known as Idaho City.
In 1863, Idaho officially became a U.S. territory and experienced a sudden population boom. At the center of the territory's growth was Bannock City, which had its own newspaper that published its first edition on Sept. 29, 1893.
Papers from across the country were soon singing high praises about the gold found in the Boise Basin. On Dec. 23, 1863, the North Iowa Times republished a letter dated October of 1863 from the Leavenworth Times in Kansas, which called the Boise Basin the next El Dorado. However, the letter also called it one of the most desolate places on the globe.
The Smoky Hill and Republican Union in Junction City, Kansas wrote on Dec. 1, 1863, that a Dr. Lovejoy arrived in St Joesph from Bannock City with 300 pounds of gold in tow.
In 1863, 300 pounds of gold were worth roughly $82,000. In today's money, that would be worth about $8,712,000.
Bannock City was established in 1863 and during that September., the Butler brothers began the Boise News. It took only a couple of months to change the name of the town to avoid cofusion with Bannack, Montana.
The Boise news wrote on Feb. 20, 1864, "The good people of Bannock were astonished on Sunday morning, to wake and find themselves in a new city, but not among strangers--by some transmutation, the whole population, houses and all, were in Idaho City."
Bannock City only existed a mere few months but it certainly left its mark around the country.
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