Rocky Bar is a ghost town once famous as a mining community that rivaled the population and size of Boise around the 1860’s with 2,500 souls, but Rocky Bar has little now except a few abandoned buildings worth wandering through and thinking about what it must have been like to live there when the mining was booming. Or if you’re like me– wondering how much real estate prices are for a future slice of solitude in the beautiful mountains of Idaho. Here is a photo of the town before a large fire and a loss of mining work left the town nearly empty.
Many small homes were built by Chinese workers along the nearby rivers, but their remnants are gone or fenced off. Now the once thriving Rocky Bar is home to only 4 people, or so the sign says along with “Caution: Cat’s, dog’s, kid’s, and Old people with guns!” “Take only pictures, Leave only footprints”.
My partners Jackie and Meeko were ready to sniff around (especially Meeko, the dog) into Idaho’s mining history. What we found was simple enough, even though this place was a contender for being the state capitol in the 1860’s.
The warehouse below, I believe, is where Peg Leg Annie sold whiskey with a shotgun across her lap. Peg Leg Annie is famous in the nearby communities, and her full story was told to me by Miles in Atlanta. She lost her legs while carrying a friend, who died, in a blizzard. She kept bottles of whiskey hidden until payment was received.
A story I found here tells of the last full-time resident, Charles Sprittles, who died trying to travel five miles by snowshoe to Rocky Bar in 1964. Reports came out that he might be in trouble and an unsuccessful search and rescue team found that the snow had covered up all traces of Charles. Later in the Spring when the snow melted, the search team discovered Charles within 2.5 miles of Rocky Bar. Orange peels laid around his body. The original search and rescue team had eaten lunch right on top of his snow-covered body.
I hope that last story gave you some creepy-crawlies. Rocky Bar is not much of a destination as it is a cool stopping place on the way to the Sawtooth Wilderness or Atlanta, but it is worth the stop to explore these abandoned ruins yourself.