Idaho January 12, 2018
This City In Idaho Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In The Nation In The 1880s
From looking at it, you never would expect that this city in Idaho was once considered one of the country’s most dangerous places. Coeur d’Alene is actually one of the most thriving towns in the Gem State today. People are flocking to this beautiful lake town like never before. However, few people are aware of the town’s violent past. Back when the Wild West was alive and well, Coeur d’Alene was a scary place to be.
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Coeur d'Alene is one of Idaho's most bustling cities today. Many people are moving to Coeur d'Alene for a
variety of reasons, including the fact that it was just named one of the cleanest cities in the country.
However, Coeur d'Alene wasn't always considered such a clean, safe, and vibrant place to live. Back during the town's beginnings, it was actually considered the most dangerous place between Portland and Minnesota.
Coeur d'Alene was a quintessential Wild West town back in the day. Crime went unpunished and robberies and murders were actually quite common.
In between Tubb's Hill and the Coeur d'Alene Resort is where a saloon called Carroll's Variety once stood. This saloon was the town's most notorious site of debauchery and raucousness. The owner, Fatty Carroll, let prostitution, drugs, and gambling run rampant in his establishment. And you definitely didn't want to get on Fatty's bad side. He had a reputation for "getting rid" of people he didn't like or who seemed richer than him. Rumor has it he hid the bodies in secret tunnels beneath his different businesses.
By the 1880s, the discovery of silver, lead, and zinc mines brought a whole other set of dangers to the community.
Not only were the working conditions horrendous, but things began to escalate between mining corporations and the labor unions. The relationship between these two entities became more and more strained and violence eventually erupted. An 1892 incident resulted in a blown up mill and a gun battle between union members and guards. Several men died during the incident. By the end of the 1890s, it had gotten so bad that the Idaho governor declared Martial Law in the area.
This was certainly not a great place to live or raise a family at the time. Law enforcement was scarce, although the famous Wyatt Earp did serve as deputy sheriff in 1884.
During his time as sheriff, Earp had to settle several disputes surrounding mining claims and property rights. It seemed that there were always some sort of disagreement occurring in the town, many of which ended in violence.
The soldiers stationed at the nearby Fort Sherman were not a lot of help. They were often unruly and their duties were dealing with military matters, not civilian issues.
There were several instances of soldiers leaving the fort to hang out in the town and never making their way back. Their disappearances were chalked up to desertion, and it wasn't until much later that murder was considered the cause of their disappearance.
Not much remains to remind us of Coeur d'Alene's interesting past. A few 19th century buildings still stand, but overall you would never guess that this touristy city was once plagued by such violence.
The days of the Wild West began to come to an end as Idaho became a state in 1890. Law enforcement was becoming more strict and new technologies made life easier. Slowly, Coeur d'Alene was making steps to become the city it is today.
Did you know this about Coeur d’Alene? Idaho is one of the safest places in the nation, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had a few violent instances. Did you know about this
unsolved murder which occurred in a north Idaho town?