Thursday, June 23, 2016

10 things I Discovered at the Idaho Hotel by Paty Jager

A historical author exploring an old mining town is like a child visiting Disneyland for the first time.

This past weekend I attended an author reader event in Silver City, Idaho. The event was held in the Idaho Hotel. The building was built in 1863 in Ruby City a mile down the Jordan Creek from Silver City. When Ruby City lost the county seat, businesses started moving to Silver City. The Idaho Hotel addition was taken down board by board and hauled to Silver City by sled and skids in the winter. It was put back together on the current site and additions were made to the hotel over the years. In 1898 five stories of new addition were added giving two
Back side of the Idaho Hotel, showing the 5 stories
more floors of rooms and a dining room. The hotel closed down in 1942. It fell into disrepair over the years and in 1972 it was purchased and slowly enough life was breathed back into it to be used as a hotel, restaurant, and bar. The current owners are trying to keep it up and make improvements, but it has many years of neglect to patch up.

Silver City, Idaho is approx. 73 miles from Boise, ID. Take hwy 78 south passing by Murphy, which by the way has an excellent museum of Owyhee County, then turn onto Silver City Road and follow the pavement, then one lane gravel road for 28 miles.

While I had visited this town several years earlier on my own as I gathered information for a book, I didn't stay in the hotel or have access to the tours we had during this event. 

These are the 10 things I discovered at the Idaho Hotel.

1. While standing on the front porch of the hotel, I could hear people talking in the front rooms on the second floor- without a window open.

2. Walking down the narrow hall in the middle of the night with uneven floors made me feel like I didn't actually awake before taking that stroll. Every step was accentuated by creaking boards.

3. LED bulbs run by solar panels and a generator cast about the same glow as a kerosene lantern.

4. The stairway was narrow. Two people could barely pass and if the person was carrying anything besides a small bag you had to wait for them to ascend or descend.

Lanterns in the parlor of the Idaho Hotel
5. I experienced the cold of waking up in a room without heating. I can see why they dressed quickly in the morning.

6. The wonderful cast iron wall holders for the kerosene lamps and the beautiful painted globes of the lights in the restaurant and bar area.

7.  The hotel at one time had 40 rooms. These days they have 13. The upper/third floor isn't in use and is in need of work.

8. Back in the day, the parlor had a women's night, a men's night, a family night, and a mixed night when the residents could use the parlor.

9. The rooms were a mixture of small/adequate and a bit larger. I learned that an average room size allowed two to three steps to the end of the bed and only enough room on one side to walk between the bed and wall.  Others had a bit more room but they were the suites.

10. The most impressive aspect of the hotel for me was noting the heating sources and gathering places. Round wood stoves in the lobby, parlor, and restaurant were the sources of heat. All the places one would gather to visit or eat.

These are the 10 things I discovered about the Idaho Hotel. The whole experience will help to enrich my historical western romance books.


Maggie Holcomb said...

Sounds like a great time! I look forward to going there someday!

Paty Jager said...

Maggie, It was fun! And you would really enjoy it.