Valley County

Valley County is named for Long Valley, a natural feature. Fur trappers were the first white men in the area, but permanent settlements did not take place until the 1880's when livestock ranchers moved into Long Valley. The Sheepeater Indians, against whom the last Indian "war" in Idaho was waged by a military force in 1879, ranged through the county's wilderness. Self reliant, but unorganized, the Sheepeaters had several small skirmishes with the military in adjacent Idaho County until 51 members of the tribe surrendered on September 20, 1879. A large section of the Idaho Primitive Area is in the county. Discovery of gold at Thunder Mountain in 1894 brought hundreds of miners to the county. First permanent communities were Van Wyck and Crawford (1882), and Lardo (1886), later to become McCall. Cascade absorbed the population of Van Wyck and Crawford when it became a station on the railroad line in 1913. Principal industries are agriculture, lumbering and mining."

"The Idaho Northern branch of the Oregon Short Line railway system runs through the valley and provides good transportation facilities. The principal towns of the county are located along this line of railroad, viz: Arling, Cascade, which was made the permanent county seat by popular vote at the election in November, 1918, Donnelly, McCall, Norwood, Roseberry and Van Wyck. Near the center of the valley, but off from the railroad, is the Village of Alpha, and Brewer, Comfort, Logan, Profile, Roosevelt and Yellow Pine are trading centers for the mining districts." - Hawley, 1920

ISU topo map   Neighboring counties   1917 Atlas Map

History Index

Historic Post Offices and Post Masters

McCall and Roseberry in 1910
First County Officals, 1917
1918 The Red Cross Work, Statement of Receipts and Expenditures of the Valley County Branch; people named: Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Weant, Mrs. Hill, W. H. Taylor, Mrs. Kelley, Mrs. Hite, Mrs Osborn, Mrs. Burr, Mrs. J. H. Hill, Chairman; Mrs. J. H. Madden, Tres. (courtesy of Kitchen family)
Valley County by Hawley, 1920
Martial Law, 1931, "to prevent incenciarism"
Cascade Dam Construction, 1947
Historical Register and Century Farms
1999 Yellow Pine Walking Tour, prepared by your webmaster, spring 1999: Community Hall, Little Cabins, Tavern, Hotel, Corner Store, Dan's Place (later Chapel), Stumble Inn/Silver Dollar, General Store
1999 Yellow Pine Walking Tour, back: original Behne residence, Library, residence, School, cemetery
Cabarton, MacGregor, Logging Company Towns


Cascade, the county seat of Valley County, is situated in the western part of the county on the Idaho Northern branch of the Oregon Short Line railway system and the north fork of the Payette River. It was made the temporary county seat when Valley County was created in 1917 and became the permanent county seat at the general election in 1918, defeating both Donnelly and Lakeport for the honor. A system of waterworks and a sewer system were installed in the summer of 1918 at a cost of $21,000, and an electric light plant was also established. Cascade has a bank, a weekly newspaper, a new $20,000 school building, a number of mercantile establishments, large lumbering interests, and an estimated population of 500 in 1918. Hawley, 1920

Long Valley Ambush, 1878; "Inscription at site of murder known as the Long Valley Ambush", 1940, Archival Idaho Photograph Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections

1940 Cascade Street scene, from Idaho State Archives - many more great Cascade photos on archives site


"The Idaho Northern Railroad, a part of the Oregon Shortline and a subsidiary of the union Pacific, completed a rail line all the way to McCall by 1914. The first train arrived in McCall on June 20 and regular service from the Treasure Valley to MCall began July 19th of that year." - Duane L. Petersen1

The terminus was called Lake Port 1914, The Idaho Statesman, courtesy of Sarah Liggett
1916, Ad, Emmett, Lakeport
1919, Lakeport renamed McCall
1920, Lakeport renamed McCall

Van Wyck

"The first postmaster here was Levi Kimball (1888) who was also one of the founders. He laid out the town and named it after an old friend in Nebraska. By 1912 the population was 220 and businesses included a banking center in Crawford, a Baptist Church, a Catholic Church, L, S. Kimball Times Newspaper, the daily stage to Emmett, the Tri Weekly to Meadows, J. H. Emmery postmaster, two general stores, a dentist, two saloons, a livery stable, meat store, a hotel, a confectionary, a blacksmith, a barber, a clothing store, a doctor, a veterinary, a sawmill, a drug store, a furniture store and a buildings material store. The town was disincorporated in 1917. - Duane L. Petersen, "Valley County, the Way it Was." (Now the townsite is under Cascade Reservoir.)

1909 USGS map showing location  ~  1940 Metsker map showing relationship to Cascade

Van Wyck Street; source and more history
Van Wyck Saloon; source and more history
1910 Carter's Saloon, source and more history

   ~ Valley county includes seven Mining Districts

map: Big Creek, Edwardsburg, Deadwood, Profile, Thunder Mountain, Warm Lake, Yellow Pine.

Historic Value of Metal Production for Idaho, 1860-1980 Cumulative Totals by Mining Area ,
Extracted from "Gold Camps & Silver Cities (Nineteenth Century Mining in Central and Southern Idaho)," by Merle W. Wells, 1983
"Mining in Idaho" (map), p. 235, "The Idaho Almanac," 1977 Edition, State of Idaho
Mining Districts of the State of Idaho 1987, available for download at Idaho Geological Survey

   ~ Thunder Mountain District

1903 Postal Route map to Thunder Mountain, 148 miles
1976 Boise Nat'l Forest Map
Leacock's Station, the route from Salmon to Thunder Mountain
Women in Thunder Mountain, 1902
1903, Roosevelt Second-Hand-Store, c. by W. W. Saunders; Library of Congress photo
1903, Our Special Artist, c. by W. W. Saunders; Library of Congress photo
1903, Dewey Mine, Roosevelt
1905, Roosevelt
1905 Marble Creek Homestead, Marble Creek region homesteads at this time were often part of a homesteads fraud being documented by the US Forest Service.
1905 ads from Thunder Mountain News
"The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News" from yellowpinetimes.wordpress  ::  images  :: November 1904  :: February 1905  :: March 1905  :: April 1 & 8, 1905  :: April 15 & 22, 1905
1910 census, Roosevelt precinct
Thunder Mountain/The Ghosts Walk Under the Water, Scenic Idaho 1954
"Thunder Mountain 'Tome Up,' The Thunder Mountain Story," Earl Willson, 1963
Historic Metal Production. Extracted from "Gold Camps & Silver Cities (Nineteenth Century Mining in Central and Southern Idaho)," by Merle W. Wells
Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series, includes articles on Stibnite, Roosevelt and Thunder Mountain

Geography, geology and map links

1895 Atlas
Idaho State University Digital Atlas
Idaho Geological Survey
USGS index of Geographic Names
1904 Annual report of the mining industry of Idaho, by Robert Bell, Inspector of Mines, at google books (includes mining districts and Thunder Mountain Road)
Tungsten, Cinnabar, Manganese, Molybdeum and Tin Deposits of Idaho, University of Idaho, School of Mines, (includes Valley County); 1918
you-tube slide show of Cinnabar
Western Mining History

News Items

Star News on-line
Library of Congress, Chronicling America, includes Valley County items

1885, July: Merve Gill and Dick Williams have about 1000 head of cattle in High Valley.
1890, May: Lowe, Four Days to Idaho City, S. M. Sisk's return, creeks are booming, Mr. Lefenwell started in with 40 head of cattle
1897, Pioneer Sketches, Three-Fingered Smith, "Lewiston Teller;" obit; Story of "Three Finger" Smith at Payette National Forest, Learning Center
1897, St. Clair Kills John Decker
1905, Crushed 180 Tons at the Sunnyside
1904, December 15, McNish, logs ready for Emmett; 35,000 lbs. of freight passed for Roosevelt, Harley McConnel injured
1904-1905, "The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News" at yellowpinetimes.wordpress; images
1905, Thunder Mountain News, Thousands of Pounds of Freight Hauled in over Snow
1905 Local News, Mrs. J. A. Taylor, G. E. Ritter, H. F. Erwin, Chas. Close, Dawse & Ted McCall, Mel Davis and son Willie, L. H. Heacock, L. C. Cooper, S. F. Southard
1905, May - Teams disappear in mud in High Valley
1905, Mary Koskela and Matt N. Hill admitted as citizens
1906, Al Hennessey, mail sub-contractor, supposed to have lost live in snow, Ben Francis and mail carrier caught in a snowslide
1906, No Saloons on Reserve, Roosevelt, Knox, Morrison, wagon road affected
1906 Precincts, Abstracted and shared by Sue at Yellow Pine Times
1907, Assessor McConnel enthusiastic about Long Valley
1914, sheep and lambs bringing from 50 to 75 cents more
1911, "Long Valley Conspirators." 1911, Sept: 32 ranchers charged with conspiring to defraud the United States out of valuable lands and to deprive entrymen out of their rights to file on public domain. :: Charges quashed :: Six charged with conspiracy :: 1912, Feb-Blackwell, Close, Hardin, Wookie and Kopenhauer confess
1915: Record of the Deadwood Mining District to State Historical Society
1917, Nov.: Remarkable Growth in Cascade, Eight New Business Buildings, 52 residences and $20,000 Schoolhouse
1917, Annual Report of the Farm Market Dept.
1920, County Commissioners appointed Carl Kitchen auditor to succeed Tracey
1921, Frank Spencer, Aged Trapper, drags broken leg 13 miles
Early Long Valley History, by Dr. G. E. Noggle, 1922
1922, Game Fish for Lake, Land Locked Salmon to be planted in Payette Lake
1933, Inez Shaver Meets Tragic Death on Snow Trail
New Life to Yellow Pine, 1962 Idaho Statesman

Biographies and Obituaries

The Story of Mollie Kesler (1870-1951)
Gordon MacGregor (1916-1987)
Roy McConnel and family, homesteading in High Valley
"Cougar" Dave Lewis (1844-1936)
Daniel C. McRae and Grace Carrie Turner McRae
Jeanne H. Rowe (1916-1998)
Smith, Sylvester S. "Three-Fingered" (at Payette National Forest Learning Center/History & Culture) obit;
Simeon A. Willey (1859 - 1939)

Isolated Burials
Heikkila Funeral Chapel, McCall for obituaries
VA Gravesite Locator
Legacy Obituary Finder
Find A Grave

Off-site Links

McCall Public Library Collection, A collection of family history folders and subject files
"A Historical Summary and Cultural Resource Study of Yellow Pine, Stibnite and Cinnabar, Valley County, Idaho, Stibnite Mining Project" by Arthur Hart, 1979
"Boise National Forest (N.F.), Landmark Planning Unit Proposed Land Management Plan." at google books
The Yellow Pine Times blog
Stonebraker Photograph Collection at University of Idaho (1900-1931)
Founding of McCall, by Frank Rowland
McCall Public Library Collection
What was life like in the early days of Valley County?, Rosemary Hoff. A couple of my favorites - Smith's Ferry Hotel, 1910; Payette River before the dam
100 Years Valley County and the City of Cascade, Centennial Magazine
Walter Cole's Riordan Lake by Horse and Wagon, 1907. Starts in Meridan, goes thru Box Springs (Ada County), Dry Buck, Thunder City, Knox, down to Trout Creek, up Johnson Creek. Names mentioned include Peterson a stage man, Doc Alllen, "Poker Jack's" Cabin, Snow's Cabin, Art Ballard and Charley Cantwell.
Loon Lake, includes story of the B-23 that crash landed in 1943
see also Payette National Forest, Heritage Program, story by Richard Holm
history at Valley County government site
Payette National Forest, History & Culture
Warm Lake Users Association, includes history

Long Valley Finnish Structures at National Park Service
Preservation Idaho, Frank Eld
Natural Disasters (at
Valley Co.IDGenWeb
Valley Co. USGenweb Archives

Photos and Postcards
1903. Cabin North end of Long Valley, c. by W. W. Saunders; Library of Congress
1903, Roosevelt Second-Hand-Store, c. by W. W. Saunders; Library of Congress photo
1903, Our Special Artist, c. by W. W. Saunders; Library of Congress photo
1903, Dewey Mine, Roosevelt
1905, Roosevelt
1905, Knox
1905, Pack train in meadow near head of Johnson Creek
1906, Sheepeaters Monument. See also 1902, Sheepeater Monument near Thunder Mountain, Sheepeater Monument stands ten miles down Monumental Creek from the town of Roosevelt near Thunder Mountain. "Sheepeater Monument Rock, 95 feet high." - Stonebraker Photograph Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Initiatives. "The USGS quad map "Monument" shows the monument near Milk Creek, T20N R11E S28" - facebook - "Idaho History Group, 1805-1850"
Camping at Payette Lake, Lulu Tonkin, Wickersham, Evelyn Hughes, Ethel Tonkin - Idaho State Archives
1912, McCall-Warren U.S. Mail Dog Sled Route
"1918, Club House Payette Idaho", "The Payette Lakes Inn built in 1914 by Fenton C. Cottingham, was located on the stage road overlooking Payette lake. The chalet-style Inn featured dormers white railed balconies, flower boxes, 3 big fireplaces, 50 rooms, a sun parlor, and a 300-foot esplanade connecting with the lake. It was a very large establishment for dancing and dining in 1914 and is a significant part of the history of recreation in McCall. During the summer of 1939, the cast and crew filming Northwest Passage stayed at the inn. The Idaho Heritage Trust is providing a building condition assessment for the Historic Preservation Commission of McCall." - Idaho Heritage Trust, facebook
1920, McCall Lake Front,
McCall Business Block
McCall Log Pond
1929-06-22, Smith's Ferry Bridge, "A view across the Payette River from the Smith's Ferry Bridge looking at a gas station and other buildings at the base of a heavily wooded hillside." - Idaho State Archives
1930, Deadwood Dam Construction
1930, Deadwood Dam
1932, Twin Bridges on Johnson Creek, "Beginning of the grade up Thunder Mountain Road"
1932, Carl and Georgia Kitchen at the Jakey Camp place on Johnson Creek
1932, Yellow Pine
1933, Gil McCoy with packstring,"(illegible) Creek Road." "Payette Lakes Star, June 27, 1919. Gil McCoy of Big Creek was a visitor in Warren this week, taking back a load of supplies. He has over 200 head of horses ranging in that district." (Helmers)
Ice Harvest on Johnson Creek. "Pete Drake, Bill and Lynn Richardson and unknown at top of bank. Harry Withers took the picture. Ice was hauled to town and buried in sawdust in sawdust-walled storage buildings for summer use. One ice house was behind Murph Earl's Bar, the other up at the lodge on the hill (Call's, later owned by Murph Earl) and the other at the Carpenter Ranch, (Eigurens'). When I was young out in Long Valley I used to ride the ice wagon driven by Dr. Hurd (veterinarian who lived by Old Crawford). He took ice out of sawdust and had a delivery route around Cascade. I remember well the ice went below back porches in trap doors - one reward was a 'swig' Dr. Hurd took out of the moonshine bottle also stored there. Dr. Hurd was accidentally shot by Les Whitson (drug store) in a hunting accident." --- Carl K. Kitchen, 26 September 1983
Lafe Cox (1914-2002) and Al Hennesy (Hennessey) (1875-1956), headed for Buck Creek
1935, McCall Wharf Wesley Andrews, photographer (
1935, Among the Islands of Payette Lake, Wesley Andrews, photographer (
1942, Tom McCall Ranch and Thomas Creek Airport, Middle Fork
1945, Warm Lake, near Cascade,(
1950's Yellow Pine
Cascade, Valley County Court House
Payette River at Smith's Ferry
1950's, Cascade Dam,
"Wintertime at Cougar Mountain Lodge, Smith's Ferry"
1940's, Payette Lake
Rainbow Bridge
McCall, Payette Lake
Aerial McCall
1950's, Warm Lake Railbirds
1960's, Cox Dude Ranch1960's, Cox V.O. Dude Ranch, Located on edge of Idah's most primitive area, 52 miles from Cascade and 63 miles from McCall. Ranch has been operating as a dude ranch under the same family for 43 years, the year around. Fishing and Big Game hunting; accommodations in Lodge and modern housekeeping cottages. Available in winter by snowmobiles and air.
1975, Cascade
Yellow Pine

1Duane L. Petersen, Valley County, The Way it Was, D & D Books, Cascade, Idaho, 2002.

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updated October 19, 2023

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