Silver City is Idaho’s premier ghost town. Although not actually deserted as there are a number of private owners of homes and cabins, the town still retains its ghost town feel and appeal. Much of the architecture is original and has the good ole western feel.
The main picture on this page is simply an oversite of Silver City.
The Masonic Hall, First built for the purpose of planning mill with the addition of a social room on the second floor, was a multi-purpose building. The building was purchased from Tom Jones, the owner of the mill, in the middle 1870’s by the Masonic Lodge. It was later remodeled in 1892. The Catholic Church of Our Lady of Tears was first built in 1896 by the Episcopal Church and finished in 1898. The building was used by the Episcopal Church for about a year and a half and then services were held whenever it was convenient. There are seventeen windows in the main part of the church which were from Chicago, and were made of rolled Cathedral glass. In 1928 the building was given to the Catholic Diocese of Boise. In 1930, the statues and bell from the church were taken to the Joyce Ranch on Stinker Creek to prevent further vandalism, and all but the bell were washed away in a flood in 1943. The bell was later found, repaired and hung in the Oreana Church of Our Lady, where it is still in use.
The Idaho Standard School, built in 1892, was utilized for all grades up through high school. The school began with three teachers, one for each level (i.e. elementary, intermediate, and high school). The school was supported by tax revenue from local saloons. Numerous notable Idahoans attended school at the Idaho Standard School. The upstairs of the building is inherently used as an annual meeting place for the Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association. While the downstairs is utilized as a museum. The Sommercamp Saloon was first built in 1866 to be a saloon and brewery. It had many uses over the years as a candy store, saloon, and even apartments. On Christmas Day in 1907 it burned down due to a fire. The building was later rebuilt in 1908 and was first used as a furniture store and later as a storage place for a grocery store. It is now a private residence. Hawes Bazaar was bought in 1885 by Richard S. Hawes and was first utilized as a restaurant. Richard Hawes moved to DeLamar in 1894 and later returned to Silver City in 1899 and reopened the store. After Richard Hawes died in 1932 his two sons carried on the business until the store closed in 1942. After WWII ended Mrs. Lillie Hawes Leonard moved to Silver City and turned the store into a souvenir shop. The building is now owned by Mrs. Leonard’s granddaughter and family and is used as a private residence.
The Silver Slipper was first the office of a dentist named Randall. Around 1900 one side became a candy store which was owned by E. Francis Gray, and the other side was a jewelry store run by John W. Rowett. The building later became the Owyhee Abstract Office of John St. Clair and was used partly for an office by J.E Dickens. The office later moved down the street and John and Myrtle Shea bought the building and sold office supplies there. The building was later sold to Robert Nelson and it was turned into a Saloon called the “Mint Bar.” It was again sold in the 1930’s and became the “Silver Slipper, a saloon which was only open for a short period of time. It was reopened in the 1960’s as a small restaurant and gift store and was operated by the Floyd Tegnell family before becoming a private residence. In 1889 Meserve M. Gretchell took over the Gretchell drug store and post office from his uncle. In 1898 he became a partner in the firm Shea as a proprietor of the Idaho Hotel while managing the drug store at the same time. The building is inherently owned by Ed Jagels and is open at times as a shop and a museum.The Odd Fellows Hall, built in the 1870s, was first designed to be an apartment house. It was bought out by Dave Adams in 1880 and was known as the Adams Building. In 1901 it became a telephone office until 1905 when it was moved to the Model Pharmacy. The Odd Fellows Hall was bought by the I.O.O.F and the Knights of Pythias, and was turned into a dance Hall with a stage for the orchestra. The lodge was later removed and it became the sole property of the I.O.O.F. In 1967 this Lodge was declared as “Historical” and has held meetings there twice a year ever since.
The Knapp Drug Story was first owned by Charles Knapp and his son Arthur and was used as the Model Pharmacy. It was known as one of the finest drug stores in Idaho at the time, in 1896. The building became the telephone office in 1905 and joined Idaho City and Jordan Valley in 1893. To this day, there are still a few phones in Silver City listed on the Melba Exchange. Next is the Idaho Hotel. It was built in 1866 by J.K Eastman with three stories and a bath house. Later in 1869, running water was piped into the hotel. An addition to the building occurred in 1871, adding a bar and fixed up rooms in the Old Idaho Exchange. A porch and offices were added with other improvements. In 1873 after a cannon was shot off in the town one-third of the windows in the hotel broke, more remodeling began with additional improvements and additions. The hotel was sold to Tim Regan in 1875 who later sold it to S.T.N. Smith in 1889. In 1970 the building was purchased by Ed Jagels and reopened for business. And finally, the County Office Building. In 1873 the editor of the Owyhee Avalanche, W.J. Hill, lived in the building. The first daily paper in Idaho was issued in this building in 1874. The building was later sold with the newspaper as living quarters for successive editors. The building was later used for offices of the county judge and the superintendent of schools and the county assessor until 1917. The building later was owned by Tom and Lillian Mock and became a saloon. It was purchased by Paul and Pat Nettleton in 1974 and was transformed into a private residence and gift shop.
Reference from “Interesting Buildings in Silver City, Idaho”. By: Helen Nettleton
Further is the Stoddard House. A man named John (Jack) Stoddard moved to Owyhee county after the Civil War, and found his fortune by kicking a rock and discovering the first rich lode near DeLamar. This house was later built by him and his wife. This house was built using very expensive resources in order to reflect the wealth and luxury that the Stoddard’s laid hold of. Some of these luxuries included fancy wooden trim, wall-to-wall carpeting, and wallpaper in the master bedroom and on the second floor. Around 1940 William, Stoddard’s son sold the house to an owner who removed and sold the furnishings and decorations. A few years ago the house was once again sold to its present owner. There is also a picture of an old outhouse which is merely supported by random boards, and is protected by a metal roof. The third picture is of a recently built building behind the Masons Hall.
Then there is the Brewery Vat. It was first set up by Will Hawes and was utilized as one of the huge vats used in the brewery which stood in front of the ice house down the street. Will Hawes, the builder of the Brewery Vat died later on in 1968.
There is a picture of the grave of Oliver Hazard Purdy who was born on September 12, 1824 and died on June 8, 1878.
Reference from “Interesting Buildings in Silver City, Idaho”.