Most People Have No Idea This Underwater City In Idaho Even Exists
Many of us are familiar with the story of Atlantis: the mysterious and ancient city that has long since disappeared underwater. But did you know that Idaho has its very own legend of a forgotten underwater city? We’ve told you the tale of
Idaho’s most famous underwater ghost town, which was the largest concentrated relocation of an entire city during its time. Roosevelt’s story is entirely different, however.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the ghost town of Roosevelt is that it still stands in all of its mining glory at the bottom of Monumental and Mule Creeks. Despite being a once-thriving town in the heart of Valley County, its existence today is little more than a ramshackle castle at the bottom of a watery goldfish bowl, as it were. But the story is undeniably intriguing.
You wouldn't know it today, but hidden in the depths of Roosevelt Lake are the remnants of an old mining town of the same name.
Accessible only by determined hikers, the old townsite is tucked away in the most obscure location possible (or so it seems).
The lake and its sunken town (both of which are unnamed on most maps) sit nestled at the remote intersection of what is now five different national forests: the Boise, Salmon-Challis, Payette, Bitterroot, and Nex Perce-Clearwater.
But Roosevelt was much more than a stereotypical "Boom Town" in its 1890s heyday.
Roosevelt, which is said to have been named after President Theodore Roosevelt, was officially designated in 1901. The bustling community was a relatively late addition to the mining and development landscape of the Gem State at the time, which peaked around the time Idaho became a state back in 1890. But unlike most of Idaho's other ghost towns -- many of which are so shrouded in time that they don't even make state-publicized lists -- this roaring city boasted a vibrant population of over 7,000 at its peak.
The big rush to Thunder Mountain in 1902 also saw the nearby towns of Yellow Pine and Yellowjacket crop up.
Thunder Mountain was rumored to be the biggest gold producer in the country, and thousands of men poured into the area to stake their claim around Roosevelt and the Monumental Creek. Sadly, actual production never lived up to the hype.
But then disaster struck.
A surprisingly wet spring season led to a series of small landslides nearby. But despite the imminent danger, the town stood firm... until it was too late.
Reportedly aided by years of hydraulic mining damage, an unprecedented landslide over the course of two days caused thousands of tons of mud to slough off of nearby Thunder Mountain and into Monumental and Mule Creeks. The town was adamant in its inaction.
It didn't take long before the waters had backed up into and finally submerged Roosevelt in its entirety.
The slide created what is now known as Roosevelt Lake, and on a calm day, one can see the building structures still looming darkly beneath the surface of the water. Over the past century, various artifacts and resident belongings have floated up, but today little remains other than a pile of broken logs to remind curious visitors of the town that once was.
Roosevelt is yet another Idaho town with a truly fascinating history – but this tale is unique enough to have garnered a reputation as “the town that committed suicide.” What do you think?
Water has always played a key role in Idaho’s history. To see more of Idaho’s underwater secrets, check out the
incredible footage of this underwater ghost town, if you haven’t already. You can also learn more about Idaho’s Underwater “Area 51.“
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