|College of Idaho, ca. 1900. College of Idaho photo.|
Classes for the first students – 19 of them to start with – were taught in the basement of the Caldwell Presbyterian Church. The institution lays claimed to being the oldest college in Idaho: Although the land-grant University of Idaho was formally authorized earlier, it did not begin classes until 1892. In common with the University, none of the College’s first students were prepared for college-level classes.
That year, College of Idaho moved to its own building in downtown Caldwell. In 1893, Reverend Boone resigned his pastorate to become full-time President of the College, a job he would hold for the rest of his life.
The college grew steadily and, in 1910, moved to a larger campus at what is basically its current location. This privately-supported liberal arts college now has over a thousand students.
On October 7, 1862, miners who had returned to the Boise Basin founded Pioneer City, today’s Pioneerville, on Grimes Creek. George Grimes had led a small band of prospectors into the mountains about two months earlier, chasing a story told by one man’s Indian friend. They did find gold, in considerable quantities, but then Grimes was killed in a skirmish with Indians.
The band of less than a dozen men had seen signs of many Indians in the area, so they fled the mountains. They returned in force – fifty to sixty strong – in October and began laying out Pioneer City and recording claims.
By then, word of the discovery had spread, and before winter blocked travel, hundreds of hopeful miners had rushed into the area. In no time at all, other camps sprang into being: Placerville, Centerville, and West Bannock (today’s Idaho City).
|Placerville, Lithograph. History of Idaho Territory.|
Miners continued to extract major amounts of gold from the Basin for another eighty years. Over that time, the region yielded over $2 billion worth of gold (using today’s prices). Nor is the area totally played out: Prospectors still find isolated pockets of the precious metal.
|References: [French], [Illust-State]|
|Louie W. Attebery, The College of Idaho, 1891-1991: A Centennial History. © The College of Idaho, Caldwell (1991).|
|“Census of 1863,” Reference Series No. 129, Idaho State Historical Society.|
|“J. Marion More: Idaho Mining Pioneer (1830-1868),” Reference Series No. 455, Idaho State Historical Society (July 1994).|
|Merle W. Wells, Gold Camps & Silver Cities, 2nd Edition, Bulletin 22, Idaho Department of Lands, Bureau of Mines and Geology, Moscow, Idaho (1983).|