Arriving in Atlanta Idaho is like discovering a lost town from the early 1900’s complete with old wooden cabins, lodges, and shops. As I drove through, the town was surprising alive and active. People outside worked on their small homes, in their gardens, and sat outside of the The Beaver Lodge talking and drinking. This is the perfect town to wander around, meet locals, and view unique and historical structures.
A program called The Atlanta School (www.theatlantaschool.org/) has come to Atlanta, offering classes in writing, crafts, and carpentry (www.theatlantaschool.org). We ran into a few of these artists at “The Hub”, which is an old lodge that’s been converted into a meeting place for the community. They work and learn with locals while drawing support and tourism to the community.
Atlanta was founded in 1864 when gold and silver were found, but no real mining has taken place there since 1953. While browsing inside the Atlanta Library, I met a local named Miles. He told us about his family history in Atlanta. He descended from miners, and began mining soon after dropping out of school at the age of 16 (the library used to be his school). At age 25, Miles is the youngest person in the community.
He took us on a tour of Atlanta, and told us his version of Peg Leg Annie, a famous local character who ran establishments in Atlanta and Rocky Bar. Miles’s version went like this: “Peg Leg Annie was the finest whore in Atlanta. She owned a few brothels and shops, but in 1896 on a trip from Rocky Bar, she and her friend got caught in a blizzard. She tried carrying her friend back, but her friend died and Annie got frostbite on both of her legs, and, well, you can figure out were the nickname “Peg Leg Annie” came from.”
We stayed at the Atlanta Cabin in the old Guard Station for the Boise National Forest. I highly recommend this cabin if you plan on visiting, but there are also local campgrounds and rustic cabins for rent through The Atlanta School.
There’s a local hot springs, cabins to look into, an old jailhouse, and the Beaver Lodge where locals and visitors hang-out. Come check it out if you want to dip in the past and spend some time away from modernization. For more information about activities and the town, visit: http://www.atlantaidaho.net/