LEWISTON TRIBUNE - September 3, 1933

Why They Call It Elk City

When the gold rush to Idaho Territory began along in the early '60's, it was mainly into the Pierce City section, based on a discovery by Capt. E.D. Pierce, but it was not long afterward before prospectors directed their attention to the riches hidden in the hills of the mountainous regions along the east bank of Elk Creek, one and one-half miles above its junction with the American River.

Joining with the intrepid prospectors of that day were adventurers and not a few tenderfeet, men who came from the east to find their wealth in the hills and then return whence they came and revel in riches for their remaining days.

Reports were emanating from the Thunder mountain section that gold was being dug everywhere, and then the rush started.

Resting Place First

Several gamblers located their tent on sloping ground along Elk Creek and there waited for the unwary.  It was not long before the country began filling up.  A party of easterners beat their way through a wild country and finally came to the settlement of gamesters, by this time the resting place for possibly 75 people.

The gamblers held forth in a tent beneath a great pine tree, which they envied for its shade and beauty.  No sooner had the easterners pitched their tent than one of their number armed with an axe commended to chop the tree so respected by the gambling fraternity to secure some fire wood.

A man stepped to the entrance of the tent where gaming was going on and seeing large chunks being hewn from the tree went back into the tent and reappeared with a rifle.  A few seconds later the man damaging the tree was a corpse.

Many Antlers in Trees

Hanging from the limbs of several smaller trees nearby were sets of elks' antlers, treasured trophies of the hunt.

The victim of the rifle ball was picked from the ground and carried into a tent and then a jury of miners was summoned to hold an inquest in order that a proper and legal report of the shooting could be forwarded to territorial officers.  After the verdict of "justifiable homicide" was rendered, within a minute or so after the "jury" was empanelled, the presiding officer at the inquest said:  "Let's see, we've got to name some place where this occurred."

One of the gamblers spoke up so the story goes, saying: 'Oh, call it Elk City." pointing as he spoke to the many sets of antlers hanging from trees.  The verdict was filed in as the man suggested, and Elk City was born.

Center of Vast Wealth

It is an historic place.  It has been the scene of great excitement many times.  Its hills have produced untold wealth and indications at this time are that it bids fair to return to its former place of  importance.

 

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