Tuesday, June 25, 2013


June 24, 2013 - Yankee Fork Idaho - nine miles down a gravel/dirt road off State Highway 75, thirteen miles east of Stanley


The dredge was brought in by the Snake River Mining Company in 1940 to mechanically recover gold left behind by early prospectors.  The  Gold Dredge operated for about twelve years. There is huge mounds of gravel and rock alongside the road that you drive  to where the dredge currently rests. The dredge recovered an estimated $1,200,000 in gold.  The Yankee Fork Gold Dredge remains the largest self-powered dredge ever to operate in Idaho.


Couldn't help ourselves, we saw a perfect spot.  Ray's first and second casts hooked fish.   The sunk was off...at least for Ray.  Unfortunately, the camera was in the car.  It started raining and fish were jumping but not biting.  

WELCOME TO CUSTER (excerpts about Custer)

Custer, was founded in early 1879 by speculators who laid the town out right below the General Custer mill site. During the 1880's it was second in importance to nearby Bonanza, reaching a peak population of only 300. In the 1890's however, Custer superseded Bonanza as the most important town of the Yankee Fork. Economically supported by the operations of the Lucky Boy and Black mines, Custer reached its peak population of 600 in 1896.

Custer was (and still is)  a one street town. The town extended for half a mile from the Centaurs Dairy and the General Custer mill at the upper end, to the Nevada Hotel and the Miners Union Hall at the lower end. Chinatown, with about thirty residents, was situated right below the lower end of Custer.  

Nearby Bonanza was a sister city and the business and social center until fires in 1889 and 1897 destroyed much of the town. Many merchants re-established their businesses in Custer, gradually making it the new business and social center for Yankee Fork area. Custer sported a new school house, jail, Miner's Union Hall, post office, and baseball team.

By 1903, the glory days of mining were slipping away as the mines played out one by one. Business slumped and by 1910 Custer had become a ghost town.  


Bonanza was established in 1876.  By 1881, it's population was 600.  The town was established in a grid fashion and had tree lined main street. When you drive up to Bonanza, you notice there is not much left of the town.  Bonanza has only two remaining buildings.  But a half-mile drive up the hill behind Bonanza is the cemetery and well worth a stop.

The cemetery has tombstones made of wood as well as the granite and marble.  There are stones of young children, multigenerational family plots, and unknowns.  Most graves have a picket fence around the plot.  Some have iron fences.  One has a fence that looks like a baby carriage.

One person buried here is Agnes "Lizzie" King who ran Bonanza's Arcade Saloon and Yankee Fork Dance Hall. She is buried between her two husbands. Lizzie and her second husband were mysteriously murdered just a week after their wedding. Following that tragic event, the original founder of Bonanza City, Charles Franklin, was found dead, clutching a gold locket containing Lizzie's photo. 

On top of hill is a large tombstone that had a masonic emblem decorating the stone.  The man was only 41 years old.

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