|Warren, one of the most famous and enduring
of central Idaho's gold camps, was named for the discoverer of the precious
yellow metal in that region, James Warren, of Lewiston. Described by the
historian H.H. Bancroft as a "shiftless individual, a petty gambler, miner,
James Warren made up a prospecting party which left
Lewiston on August 1, 1862, for an expedition into the Salmon river basin.
Within less than a month he had discovered the rich gold deposits in the Warren
meadows and returned here with news of the new and wealthy diggings.
Unlike the other placer mines discovered during the hectic
'60's, the Warren diggings were deep as well as rich. The mining ground
extended about 16 miles north and south along the creek, and the gold assayed
from $12 to $17 an ounce. When the placers were exhausted on the creek
bottoms, the gravel still yields returns nearly as rich by hydraulic
treatment. Within the last two years hydraulic operations have been
resumed over the old grounds, with two large dredges now in operation and
several small outfits.
Rise and Fall
Warren - known for many years as Warren's
Diggings - developed into a hurly-burly mining camp almost overnight. By
November, 1862, more than 400 men were mining there and within three years the
population was 1,500, which dwindled soon to about 500. When the mines had
been worked for about a decade many of them were sold to Chinese miners, some of
whom became wealthy with their cheap, persistent labor.
Warren was the seat of Idaho county from 1869
to 1875, when the territorial legislature moved it to Mount Idaho. It
later being changed to Grangeville.
Until the development of airplane
transportation, Warren has been isolated from the rest of the world during the
winter, with the exception of slow travel by dog sleds or on snowshoes. A
contract was let last month, however, for construction of a surfaced forest
service highway from Burgdorff to Warren, which will give it a passable road
during most of the year to the outside by way of McCall.
The 1930 census credited Warren precinct with
a population of only 70. Revival of gold mining since then has
considerably increased the number of inhabitants.