I often refer to my home state as the blank spot between Wyoming and Oregon. Idaho has an incredible diversity of resources, climates, terrains, and population—even so, people think I’m from Iowa. Or Ohio. They get those two mixed up. Well... neither.
Earnest Hemingway, one of our greatest fiction writers, wrote " ... a lot of state, this Idaho, that I didn't know about." You can see the mountains of Sun Valley in the background behind his typewriter.
Owyhee County Idaho exemplifies his pronouncement. I grew up in the desert, in the shadow of the beautiful Owyhee Mountains.
Our dairy farm was six miles from the biggest city in the county, Homedale Idaho, population 2610 (1381 when I was in school). To me, it was the big city!
Even though it is by far the largest city, it is not the county seat. That honor belongs to Murphy, population 97, including the Owyhee County sheriff, deputies, and one parking meter—the only parking meter in Owyhee County. You can see it just to the left of the flag pole. Yes, you’ll get a ticket if you don’t feed the meter.
Even though Owyhee County is a desert (annual rainfall about 8 inches, including snow), the northern area was brought into bloom by irrigation water, much of it courtesy of the 400 foot-high Owyhee dam just across the border in eastern Oregon, which was the prototype for the great Hoover dam. It was the first dam ever built to use refrigeration to cool the concrete as it cured.
Owyhee County has the Bruno sand dunes, the tallest free-standing sand dunes in North America. A wonderful state park, that as Hemingway said, nobody knows about.
Most of my books are set in Owyhee County, especially in the area of Silver City. Once home to many huge silver mines, it had a population of over 2,500 in 1869 (over 10,000 if you include itinerant miners and mules), making it the largest city in Idaho at the time.
Silver City was the first with telegraph service, and a daily newspaper. The newspaper is still published weekly in Homedale, as The Owyhee Avalanche, and the staff are great friends and do a wonderful job! So many small towns (and even some larger ones) have lost their newspapers.
Silver City was also the one of the first cities in Idaho to be wired for telephones and electricity, although both are gone now. But the municipal water supply still survives and serves the summertime population of a few dozen, who strive to preserve the history and surviving buildings of town. Just don’t call if a ghost town, the locals will flatly declare “we are not ghosts!”
One of the surviving buildings, and a real treasure is the Idaho Hotel. It has been partially restored, and actually reopened for business. In fact, we are havin’ a doin’s there this summer, be sure to check it out on http://jacquierogersreadersevents.blogspot.com.
Mercy: Bride of Idaho is set in Henderson Flats, called Marsing, which hugs the Snake River. Across the river is Lizard Butte. His legs are eroded now but when I was a kid, the eroded volcano looked just like a lizard sunning himself on the hill.
I am very proud to be from Owyhee County, and Idaho, and hope you enjoy my Hearts of Owyhee series, as well as my other stories set there.
My latest release is a non-traditional Western that starts off in Wyoming, Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch (Honey Beaulieu – Man Hunter #1), but the second book (May, 2016) will be set in Silver City, so we’re back in Idaho! And—I’m giving away one ECOPY of my newest, Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch! Just comment here and I’ll pick a winner. Leave your contact info!
Website: http://www.jacquierogers.com (sign up for the Pickle Barrel Gazette!)
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jacquierogers
Pickle Barrel Bar & Books on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JacquieRogers/
(All info provided by Jacquie Rogers)