Murray, Idaho, in the Historic Silver Valley


Diana GI have been wanting to do a few of my blogs on historic towns, but have neglected to do so until this month. Since moving back to Idaho, I have become increasingly aware of the rich history of the area I always considered home. Since my husband and I travel around northern Idaho and eastern Washington doing craft fairs, gun shows, and the occasional flea market here and there, this is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at some of the tiny towns that dot our neck of the woods. For the Fourth of July this year, we were in the tiny town of Murray, Idaho. Murray has a population of between 25 to 50 people depending on who you talk to, but people come "home" from Arizona or drive in from Montana and Washington for the towns annual events.

Murray itself is a sleepy little near-ghost town in the northern panhandle of Idaho. Located in the historic Silver Valley east of Coeur d’Alene, it has seen its share of colorful characters come and go. From 1886 to 1887 it was actually the county seat for Shoshone County, Idaho. At one point in its heyday, the tiny town boasted 44 bars along its main street. Below is a picture of Murray Circa 1900 —  one site has the photo dated to 1888. Below it is another photo that was colorized and made into a penny postcard. As with everything else, we will probably never know the exact date the picture was taken. There is still a plethora of information available online about the town, but you do need to be a little cautious about what you read, as I have found some of it to be very outdated now.


Penny Postcard of Murray Idaho

In 1882 or 1883, A. J. Prichard discovered gold on Prichard Creek and the rush for gold in Idaho was on. According to some accounts, more 10,000 people made their way into the northern panhandle of Idaho hoping to strike it rich, and the central point for these little towns was Murray.

In 1884, Adam Aulbach decided to start up a newspaper. As with everything else, there are differing accounts on how this came about. In one story it says he established a newspaper in Belknap, Montana, a Northern Pacific Railway station along the Clark Fork River. Since most of his stories centered around the mining boom in the Coeur d’Alene area of Idaho, he decided to move the paper, and during the summer of 1884 he tore down the presses and hauled the whole outfit into Murray on the backs of 45 mules. The town, located on Prichard Creek about 12 miles north of Wallace, was then only a few months old. He published the first issue of the Idaho Sun on July 8, 1864 (1884). I am thinking the year of 1864 was a typo since he didn’t even move his paper to Murray until 1884. The following year he changed the name to the Coeur d'Alene Sun. The other story says he moved the newspaper on the backs of 45 mules from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and The Idaho Sun was born.

12/17/2017 9:15:57 PM

In 1888 in Eagle City two men resolved to settle their boundary disputes by shooting at each other, taking cover behind snow drifts. The noise and stray bullets annoyed bystander Wyatt Earp, who walked right between them and told them there would be hell to pay if they didn't cease and desist. They did what they were told.

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