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Silver City, Idaho

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Settled: 1864
Status: Near Ghost Town
Current Population: small seasonal pop
Peak Population: 4,000
Elevation: 6168
Primary Mineral: Silver


Silver City was founded in 1864 soon after silver was discovered at nearby War Eagle Mountain. The settlement grew quickly and was soon considered one of the major cities in Idaho Territory. The first daily newspaper and telegraph office in Idaho Territory were established in Silver City. The town was also among the first places in present-day Idaho to receive electric and telephone service.

After the placer and quartz vein mines were played out around the time Idaho became a state in 1890 - and due in part to its extremely remote location - Silver City began a slow decline but was never completely abandoned. Small-scale mining continued off and on until World War II; the last mine to be operated all year round in Silver City was the Potossi managed by Ned Williams. The Idaho Hotel in Silver City was restored and re-opened in 1972.

Today, the town has about 70 standing buildings, all of which are privately owned. Many of the owners are third or fourth generation descendants of the original miners. There are a handful of small businesses, but no gas or service stations.