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        Silver Linings: The Development of Mining Towns in Idaho's Silver Valley

        Stretching 40 miles through the heart of northern Idaho, Silver Valley is a time capsule of the West. Deep within its valley walls, empires rose...and sometimes fell. The KSPS documetnary Silver Linings: The Early Days of Idaho's Silver Valley explores how the region's past has shaped what the Silver Valley is today.

        Help students explore the development of the mining towns in Silver Valley and analyze the cultural, economic, and political impacts of mining in this region with these video segments and accompanying learning guide. Visit KSPS Education for additional educator resources.

        Silver Linings #1 - Introduction

        Over less than 30 square miles, Idaho’s Silver Valley encompasses industrial empires like railroads, logging, and mining.

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        Silver Linings #2 - Early Gold Rushes

        In the early 1860’s, The Union Pacific Railway came through the Silver Valley. Even though the residents tried to keep the rush a secret. Within a year, 5000 people poured into the Murray Prichard Area.

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        Silver Linings #3 - Murray and its Civilization

        By late summer of 1884, the population of Murray had increased to 2,500. With its Saloon establishments and hard rock mining, the sense of community expanded.

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        Silver Linings #4 - Glitter not Gold

        In May 1884, John Cartun and Almeda Seymour, two prospectors, found galena in Tiger Mine. Galena put Coeur D'Alene on the map as the richest mining area in the U.S.

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        Silver Linings #5 - Noah Kellogg and Other Entrepreneurs

        Noah Kellogg, James Wardner, May Arkwright Hutton, and Maggie Hall (Molly Be Dam) were entrepreneurs who contributed to the district and discovery of Bunker Hill Mine.

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        Silver Linings #6 - Diversity and Prejudice

        Despite the diversity in the west, there was a hierarchy and prejudice against Scandinavians, Italians, and Chinese in the Silver Valley.

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        Silver Linings #7 - Working Conditions and Nature’s Wrath

        In the early 1860’s, Without protection or insurance, laborers had to face the most dangerous conditions to earn $3.50 per day. Nature made a contribution to the region’s difficult living conditions in the form of snow, floods, and fires.

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        Silver Linings #8 - Mining War of 1892

        By 1890 there was a clear separation between the miners’ and the owners’ unions. Factors like closing mines in the winter, reducing wages, and having non-union workers sparked conflict between the miners’ and owners’ organizations in 1892.

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        Silver Linings #9 - Innovations

        Driven by a need to improve mining operations, the transportation system changed from wagons and steamboats like the Kootenai and Georgie Oakes to the use of train tracks, high wires, and electric power.

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        Silver Linings #10 - Mining war of 1899 and Assassination

        The mining wars in 1899 between the Western Federation of Miners and the Bunker Hill manager was sparked by an issue of managerial control. Steunenberg, who believed that the Western Federation of Miners should be stopped, was assassinated by Harry Orchard.

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