• 208.726.3493 (map)
  • 415 Spruce Ave
  • Ketchum, ID, 83353

This Power Point presentation uses old photographs and historic materials to discuss the Philadelphia Smelter, which was built in 1881 on the bench where Warm Springs Creek goes into the Big Wood River. It was financed by wealthy Philadelphia businessmen who invested over $1 million in the mining industry in the Wood River Region. A related company built a smelter in Muldoon in the Little Wood River basin. With the arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad at Hailey in 1883, the smelter was significantly expanded, and the company purchased a number of local mines, including the Muldoon, North Star, Silver Star in Little Smoky Mining District over Dollarhide Summit, several along Warm Springs Creek, and others. A related company owned 1,000 acres of property north of Ketchum. The Oregon Short Line expanded its Wood River Branch to Ketchum in 1884, because of the Philadelphia smelter, and its depot was located near the smelter so ore could be transported directly from there out of the valley to outside markets. in 1884, H.C. Lewis built the Trail Creek Toll Road over Trail Creek Summit to bring ore from the mines around Challis to the Philadelphia smelter for processing. New roads were also built over Dollarhide Summit and Galena Pass to bring ore to the smelter from mines located west and north of Ketchum. The Philadelphia smelter processed most of the ore mined in the entire region, was one of the largest enterprises in Idaho, and was the Valley’s largest employer. The Philadelphia Smelter was closed in 1892, along with most of the Valley’s mines, because of the International Silver Depression that lasted from 1888 to 1898, which ended the halcyon days of the Wood River Mining Era.