Silver Valley Girl's Top 13 Silver Valley Books

Our current sibling assignment by Raymond Pert at Kellogg Bloggin' is to ponder on the number 13, since my daughter Z2 just turned 13. One way of looking at this number was talking about 13 of something. I am going to share a bit of information about 13 of my favorite books I have read about the Silver Valley. Here is Raymond Pert's post here, and Inland Empire Girl's post here.

1. "Beneath These Mountains" by Russell A. Bankson and Lester S. Harrison

This is a collecton of stories from the early days of the development of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District. There are stories about some of the developers in the first part, then the second part is full of "Vignettes", or short stories that may be true or not about this area. This is the book I got the story about Floyd "Dream" Davis who named Dream Gulch by Murray that I based my play on at the Sixth Street Melodrama.

2. "Coeur d' Alene Diary: The First Ten Years of Hardrock Mining in North Idaho" by Richard G. Magnuson

This is about the first 10 years of mining in the Coeur d'Alene Distirct. Magnuson researched old newspapers to come up with an historical account of the first 10 years of Hardrock Mining. It is very intersting and full of great information.

3. "Fire in the Hole" by Mary Cronk Farrell

This book was published about two years ago, and deals with the families whose men were put in the "bull pens" following the mining war of 1899 when a group of miners traveled to Kellogg and blew up the Bunker Hill Mining Mill. The author lives in Spokane, and I was able to meet her at a conference two years ago. It makes you think about how the families survived during this time without someone making the money. But it did bug me that she had a few inconsistencies in the book. It makes me realize how important those little details are when I am writing my book.

4. "From Hell to Heaven, Death-Related Mining Accidents in North Idaho" by Gene Hyde

Hyde, a former resident of Wallace, researched and wrote an account of men who died in the mines in the Silver Valley. It gives the reader a good picture of the horrible way men died, especially in the early days of the development of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District.

5. "Liberated Woman" by James Montgomery

This is a book about Mae Awkwright Hutton, and it also includes her "fictional" account of what happened regarding the Mining War of 1899. I confess, I haven't read this book yet, but have heard it is a wonderful book.

6. "Mining Town: The Photographic Record of T.N. Barnard and Nellie Stockbridge from the Coeur d'Alenes" by Patricia Hart and Ivar Nelson

When I was a student at the University of Idaho, Hart and Nelson were some instructors I had, and they were talking about publishing this book. It is a wonderful pictorial peak into the early days of the Silver Valley, and has some wonderful narratives explaining the pictures.

7. "North Idaho Then and Now" published by Nostalgia Magazine

This book takes old pictures from around North Idaho, including towns in the Silver Valley, and then taking the same shot during contemporary times, and comparing the two shots. It is very interesting to see how some things change, and how some things stay the same.

8. "Red Thunder" by David Matheson

Matheson is a former leader of the Coeur d'Alene Indians, and wrote this fictional account of how the Coeur d'Alene Tribe lived in the late 1700's, based on stories passed down to him through the tribe. Not the best written book, but the stories are a wonderful way to learn more about the Coeur d'Alene Indian culture.

9. "Saga of the Coeur d'Alene Indians" by Joseph Seltice

I found this book in the gift shop at the Coeur d'Alene Casino. It is a published journal Joseph Seltice kept, including his view of the things that happened during the Indian Wars around Spokane. His view of the events is much different than what children typically learned in their history books. I think it good to get the Native American perspective this books gives me.

10. "Silver Strike: The True Story of Silver Mining in the Coeur d'Alenes" by William T. Stoll

Stole was one of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District lawyers who came to town. He was involved in the Noah Kellogg case. His account of events seem a little slanted, but it is entertaining and informative reading.

11. "Big Trouble" by J. Anthony Lukas

I have tried to read this book a couple of different times, but have never succeeded in finishing it. Lukas likes to thoroughly explain each aspect of the events surrounding the Mining Wars of 1899, and how that event directly contributed to the assisination of Idaho Govennor Stunenberg.

12. "The Deep Dark" by Gregg Olson

Olson spent two or three years interviewing survivors, widows and other players who lived through the Sunshine Mine Disaster in 1972. He did a wonderful job of telling this tragic story whose effects still resonate through the Silver Valley. I met Olson when he came to interview my mom, who was a school teacher at the time of the fire in the mine. He has encouraged me in my own writing, and I also have enjoyed some of his true crime novels he has written as well. He was gracious enough to come and do a book signing at the Shoshone Mining and Smelting Museum here in Kellogg when "The Deep Dark" was released when I was the museum's president. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him for a few hours and it was fascinating listening to the people who he had interviewed come up and share more stories of how this book helped them heal and how it changed their life. It is a very powerful book.

13. "The Year of Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910" by Stephen Pyne

Pyne writes about the events leading of to the Great Fires of 1910, and how the policies of the newly formed Forest Service contributed to the fire. He came to Wallace one summer and did a talk on this topic. This is a very scholarly book, and not an easy read, but, as my brother can attest, a very informative account of this event in Silver Valley history.

So, here are some of the books I have read or hope to read about his area, all 13 of them. I encourage you to try one or two of them out if you want to learn more fascinating stories about the Silver Valley.


Phil said...

I bought The Deep Dark a few months ago, but haven't read it yet... Will have to move it to the top of my book pile!

Silver Valley Girl said...

Phil, it is a very powerful book, giving a glimpse not only into the tragedy but into the culture of the people who worked in the mine. Let me know your thoughts on the book once you complete it!

Inland Empire Girl said...

Great list! If I read even one these for our next assignment I will know more than I knew as a lifetime Kellogian child. :(

Gregg Olsen said...

SGV, thanks so much for mentioning The Deep Dark in your amazing list of books. People like you keep the story alive!


Silver Valley Girl said...

IEG--Tell me about it!!

Gregg--Of course your book would be a mention!! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. Drop in any time.

Jennifer said...

You sound like a real history buff!

Silver Valley Girl said...

Yes, especially about the Silver Valley. I have been writing an historical fiction novel about this area, and hope to get back and focus on this project soon. Many of these books are good research material for my book.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

I really enjoyed "The Deep Dark." Well written and researched.

Inland Empire Girl and I were going to discuss the bus trip home from the Post Falls track meet. The book says the buses returned to the High School, but we were both on the bus that was pulled over, and the police removed L Johnson from the bus and took her with them. I was let off at Pinehurst, not at the Kellogg High school, and first heard about the fire.

When I got home and discovered my dad was safe, we listened to the radio and found out that Paul Johnson was one of the first men identified, who had died.

Silver Valley Girl said...

PIMD--That is how I remember IEG always telling the story as well.