|During the summer of 1866 a Chinese placer
miner, of whom there were then hundreds in central Idaho, arrived at Warren in
an excited frame of mind. While prospecting in the wild country about 15
miles to the northwest he had chanced upon a geyser of steam from out of a
side-hill and a spring of hot water with a peculiar odor.
When the Chinese arrived at Warren among those who heard
his story was Fred C. Burgdorf, a native of Germany, who had been shipwrecked
near China and brought to San Francisco by the American steamer which picked him
up. Burgdorf had come to Warren in 1864, where he was engaged for three
years in gold mining.
Burgdorf was a thrifty man and he always had an eye to
business. After the Chinese finished his tale Burgdorf left camp and
located the flow of hot water and realized its value. Further, he saw
before him a beautiful flat meadow with mountains in the distance; plenty of
water and all that would make an ideal home site.
Burgdorf secured from the government a deed to 160 acres of
land, including the spring site, and there he determined to establish his
home. He erected a hotel and started to work for a post office, naming the
town Burgdorf, in his own honor. The post office was established, the
hotel enlarged, a fine residence erected for Burgdorf and his family, which
still is among the showplaces of the northwest. Near the Burgdorf home,
high in the mountains, nature worded one of its oddest fancies. The trees
over a comparatively large area are knotted.
Burgdorf was fascinated with what he found in
the timber country and he arranged to have trees containing the most peculiar
knots cut and made into furniture for his home; also, for balustrades and other
appurtenances and there he lived for many years. He was a royal host,
old-timers relate. He was married in 1902 to Janette Foronsard of Denver,
a singer of note.
Burgdorf is near the southern border of Idaho
County and probably is central Idaho's oldest resort. The old trail from
Lewiston to Warren passed near the hotel, and it is still plainly visible, dug
into the earth by the hoofs of thousands of pack horses carrying supplies into
the mining camps and gold dust back to Lewiston.
The resort is still a favorite summer
playground for central Idaho and is connected by a surfaced forest service
highway with McCall. The settlement also receives considerable business
from the surrounding mines.