If you’ve ever visited the remote Owyhee County community of Silver City, then you know that it represents possibly the best collection of intact early Idaho architecture representing the state?s legacy of mining. But until just a few years ago, one of the town’s landmarks was in danger of disintegration bit by bit.
Built in 1892, the Silver City School House was used for the education of the town’s children until the outbreak of World War II. This important example of Victorian-era educational architecture was unused for many years before becoming home to the Owyhee Cattleman’s Association annual summer meeting. But one hundred years of severe mountain weather, long winters, and limited maintenance and upkeep left this once stately building in desperate need of stabilization and repair.
In response to these needs, the Historic Silver City Foundation was formed, taking ownership of the building, raising approximately $325,000, and undertaking the restoration with the assistance of the Idaho Heritage Trust. Structural repairs underneath the building provided a stable foundation, while windows were removed, repaired, repainted and re-hung. Exterior doors were replicated, interior doors were repaired and re-hung, and the original, decorative, sheet metal window pediments were repaired and repainted.
The Silver City School House can once again hold its head up high, and Preservation Idaho is proud to honor this project with a 2012 Orchid Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.