Welcome to Custer County!

Custer County was indirectly named for General George A. Custer. The Custer Mine was named for the ill-fated general, along with the now ghost town of Custer, and the county was given that name on its creation by the legislature. The county lies almost in the center of the state. Fur traders with the Donald Mackenzie expedition were the first in the county in 1818, and Michel Bourdon discovered the Challis area in 1822. Mining became the county's chief industry in the late 1870's and 1880's, with the discovery of rich placer mines and silver-lead and silver-copper ores. Mackay was founded in 1901. After the mines played out, livestock raising and eventually tourism and recreation became the principal industries. Most of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is within the county's boundaries." - "The Idaho Almanac, 1977 Edition", published by the State of Idaho.

Custer County contains Mount Borah (header photo), the state's highest peak (12,668 feet) as well as portions of the Sawtooth, Salmon River, White Cloud, Pioneer, Lost River, and White Knob Mountains.

1895 Rand McNally map     Almanac Map    ISU Digital Atlas, topo map    Neighboring Counties

Post Office History
Hawley's History of Custer Co., 1920
Stanley Historic Walking Tour, by Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association

1891, Bodies of Samuel A. Clemons & George E. Nodine Found, killed in snowslide
1893, Apr., C. W. Pratt use scrip to light cigars
1896 ad in Silver Messenger for Mitchell's Horse Restaurant in Houston
1902, Jan: Challis Route to Thunder Mountain
1902, April: Challis Route to Thunder Mountain, Thunder Mountain route - from Mackay to Challis by stage, 50 miles; from Challis to Singiser by wagon road, 40 miles; from Singiser or Three Forks to Thunder Mountain, by good trail, 50 miles. total 140 miles. (Thunder Mountain Routes - Thanks Sue!)
1902, May 26: George McGowan within three miles of Thunder Mountain, his pack train the first to reach the new Eldorado
1903, Stage Line, Challis, Mackay, Three Forks, C. V. Hansen, Mgr.
1903. May: Grace Phelan, Weiser, leased Jack Shaffer's ranch to conduct hotel
1903, May: New Specie of Fish, Montana Grayling
1903, May: Red Fish - Red Fish Lake
1914, ad for Mackay Stage, automobiles in summer season
Martial Law, 1931, "to prevent incenciarism;" in Idaho, Boise, Gem, Valley, Adams, Custer and Lemhi Counties


Mackay, c.1909, from Library of Congress
Mackay to Ketchum, Trail Creek Freight Train, Sun Valley, C. A. Gregory image ~  Trail Creek Freight Train, from National Stagecoach & Freight Wagon Assoc.
1915, Grand View Canyon, Warm Springs Creek
Sawtooths, c.1936, C. A. Gregory image, from Library of Congress
Goat Lake, 1950's, "Charles Gregory photograph. He was an awesome landscape Photographer who lived many years in Stanley." - FB comment
Redfish Lake Lodge, 1950's
Redfish Lake Lodge, 1950's, view

Off-Site Links

History of Custer County, 1900, by Jesse R. Black, written when he was a high school senior
Custer County at westernmininghistory.com
History of the Mines on Estes Mountain, Custer County, Idaho, by Victoria E. Mitchell
Historical Register
Challis-Yankee Fork Ranger District' - Custer Walking Tour Map
Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association
Custer Co., IDGenWeb
Custer Co. USGenweb Archives


Green, Roberta H. They Followed the Glory Trail. ("Stories about people who lived in the ghost town of Custer").

1895 Rand McNally map

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Copyright © 2013 - Sharon McConnel. All Rights Reserved.