Students navigate through an interactive map about old mining towns in Idaho. Students learn the impact gold had on the state and compare population and census information from 1863 to 2010.
This lesson is part Great States: Idaho | Unit 6: Settling Idaho which examines the resources, opportunities and freedoms that lured different groups to Idaho. Emphasis will be placed on how the arrival of newcomers presented challenges to those already settled in territory.
4.SS.1.2.2: Describe the role of fur trading and the discovery of gold and other minerals silver in the settlement of Idaho.
Boise District 413.17: Describe the role of the discovery of gold and other minerals in the settlement of Idaho.
- Computer Lab
- Resource: Idaho Ghost Town Map
- Projector or map handout
- Map: Modern-day Idaho
- Class set of Mining Towns – Then and Now worksheet
Have them read about the history of mining and the towns that sprang up to support mining all across Idaho in the mid and late 1800’s.
Project or handout this modern-day map of Idaho's major cities.
Compare this map to the mining towns map.
Ask if they see any of the mining town names on the modern map.
(Make sure students look within the “Region” boxes on the Interactive Maps) Answer: [Kellogg, Wallace, Idaho City, Ketchum, Hailey]
Point out that just because towns don’t appear on the modern map doesn’t necessarily mean that they no longer exist.
4. Hand out the Mining Town—Then and Now worksheet to students. Have them compare the population numbers and details of Pierce and Idaho City from 1863 to 2010. Give students ten minutes to complete the worksheet, and then reconvene the class to go over the answers.
The populations of both Pierce and Idaho City have grown since 1863, while Florence has been abandoned. Idaho City’s population has grown much more than Pierce’s population.
About 9 times
Pierce: 269 men vs. 5 women in 1863. Idaho City 5,691 men vs. 360 women; Florence: 575 men vs. 0 women. This is probably because the towns were almost completely populated by miners that were looking for gold, and the large majority of miners were men.
Miner towns sprung up around where gold was found. Many times, this meant the town was mostly made up of just the miners, no families or communities. Once the resource of gold was exhausted from the region, there was no reason for people to stay, and the towns became deserted.