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Historic Silver City Idaho
A Short History of the Idaho Hotel
After rich gold and silver deposits were discovered in the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho,
dozens of mining camps sprang into existence; one being Ruby City, where the Idaho Hotel was originally
established in 1863. In July of 1866 a large three-story wing was added. However, that same year Ruby City
lost the county seat to its two-year-old rival, Silver City, a mile up Jordan Creek. Soon, many homes
and store buildings were moved from Ruby City to Silver City in order to capitalize on the business generated
in the new county seat. Later that year, the hotel's new wing was dismantled, loaded piece-by-piece onto
sleds and skids, and pulled up the snow and ice covered road by oxen to its new site in Silver City.
It was reassembled, and a three-story addition was built, the frozen-fingered carpenters finishing in
time for the owners to host a 'first-class' Christmas Eve Ball. Spring water was piped to the hotel by 1868.
A bar room and 'piazza' were added in 1871. A commodious new kitchen was built in the basement 'containing
all the modern improvements and conveniences', and a 'new set of bathrooms were built so that hot or cold baths
could be had at all hours everyday. The bar room was 'ornamented with the costliest and handsomest mirror ever brought
to Silver City' in 1874, all of the interior woodwork was hand-grained in 1882, and a billiards
parlor-gambling room was added in 1889. In front of the icehouse, 'A fine stone cellar' for storage of food
and drink was completed in 1890. A five-story addition containing a new dining room with two stories of bedrooms
above was finished in 1898, and a storage tunnel connecting the cellar with a mine tunnel beneath the street in front of the hotel was excavated in 1901. Numerous businesses had offices
in the hotel through the years: stagecoach lines, telegraph and telephone companies, doctors, dentists, lawyers and a jeweler.A 'sample room' provided display space for the wares of visiting salesmen called 'drummers'.
A great many functions were held in the hotel, including balls, weddings, funerals, musicals, literary club meetings, socials and banquets.
Functions of an 'unsocial nature' also occurred, mostly in the form of verbal altercations, fistfights and shootings, the most famous of which was the fatal J. Marion Moore - Samuel Lockhart shooting that occurred in front of the hotel in 1868.
The hotel was closed around 1942, then fell into disrepair. In the spring of 1972, Edward Jagels purchased the building and the creaking old front doors once more swung open for business. The Idaho Hotel became Ed's personal crusade and he dedicated the rest of his life, nearly 30 years, to restoring this grand hotel and preserving it's place in history. The hotel was sold again to its current owners in 2001. Their dream is to continue Ed's legacy and preserve the old hotel as he had intended for future generations to enjoy. Many sections are still closed to the public though, as they have yet to be restored.
P.O.Box 75, Murphy, Idaho 83650