There’s no denying the mining industry’s important role in Idaho history. In some ways, Idaho was born because of the mining industry and there’s no telling what our state would look like without it. Located in northern Idaho, the Silver Valley is considered the most notable mining region in the Gem State. Encompassing towns such as Wallace, Mullan, Kellogg, and Pinehurst, this region was responsible for incredible amounts of zinc, lead, and silver. Total quantities of these mined metals is estimated to total over $6 million, making the Silver Valley one of the richest mining districts in the entire world. The valley contained several prosperous mines, but by far the largest and richest was the Sunshine Mine.
The Sunshine Mine produced a whopping 360 million ounces over its lifespan. Hundreds of men went to work in the mine every single day since the mine opened in 1884 through when it closed in 2001. However, the mine is also known for being the site of one of Idaho’s most terrible tragedies.
Did you know this terrible tragedy took place? It may have happened almost 50 years ago, but the lives of those 91 men will never be forgotten. If there’s one good thing that came out of the Sunshine Mine Disaster, it’s the fact that safety standards were upped all over the country.