Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rocky Bar

A Rocky Bar is not a place where Sylvester Stallone hangs out.  In Idaho, Rocky Bar has a unique place in history.  We've always been curious about Rocky Bar and Monday, May 24, we finally were able to go there.  Now, mind you, Rocky Bar today pretty much defines MOAN Country.  But "back in the day" Rocky Bar was almost the toast of Idaho.  For a short time, it was actually in the running for the Territorial Capitol!  From 1864 to 1882, Rocky Bar was the County Seat of Idaho's fabled Alturas County.  At that time, Idaho only had four counties and Alturas was bigger than Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware combined.  Some say Rocky Bar's population peaked at 2,500 but a figure of 1,500 is probably more reasonable.

Today, Rocky Bar is nothing more than your typical ghost town.  On our visit there was nary a soul in sight, ghost or otherwise.  The road from Featherville to Rocky Bar was totally empty save for two furtive illegal wood cutters who spooked when they saw our forest-service-green truck.

There's precious little in today's remnant of Rocky Bar to hint at its heady heyday.  Four buildings are all that's left of the once bustling prosperous, up-and-coming town.  Back in 2007, the half-owner of Rocky Bar tried to sell it for $250,000.  When we returned home, we found a lot of information online about Rocky Bar, including these great photos attached here.  The old photos are all quite large so click on the small thumbs to see the big versions.  We've also posted a few photos we took May 24.

It's always an impressive sight to see such a ghost town and try to imagine just how "hot" the place once was.  Rocky Bar was THE place to be for a huge chunk of the rugged Central Idaho mountains.  All of the legal business of a giant area was conducted right here amid these steep gulches in the middle of absolute nowhere.  Big dreams were spawned here, too, no doubt.  On June 6, we will be down near Oakley, Idaho along a piece of the historic Kelton Road.  Kelton was a whistle stop on the transcontinental railroad.  All of Rocky Bar's supplies were offloaded at Kelton and carried by wagon from Utah to this desolate location.  Take a close look at the group photo of the miners.  These were the people who populated places like Rocky Bar in the 1860's clear through the turn of the century decades later.

Visiting a place such as Rocky Bar is always one of the great bonuses of the NVUM process.  It takes you out into places you simply wouldn't go otherwise. (Click here to see a Google Map of Rocky Bar.)

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