Monday, January 21, 2013

Blast from the Past - Mackay Miner Mid Summer Edition 1908 Page 4 of 9



Among other things that Mackay has to be proud of is a City Hall. A large front room that is used for different purposes, while in the rear of the building the city council have a room elegantly furnished, where that body meets to lay down the municipal laws that govern our fair town. The town is very fortunate in having for its council men that are determined that nothing shall be laid aside that is for the welfare of our town, and insist that everything that is within their power to have done, must be done that will tend to beautify the town. This, we say again, is a reason why Mackay must still go forward until it becomes one of the largest cities of the West.

On the first page is shown the picture of the present councilmen. The town is incorporated and every two years the people elect a set of officers. The present officers are all business and professional men of the city, who have made a success of their own business and are making a success of conducting the affairs of the city.


To what man, be he Wall street banker, Hindoo priest or Kaffir warrior, does not the excitement of the chase appeal? White or red, black or yellow, it is in the blood to pursue and slay the fleet-footed deer, or elk, or antelope; to shoot the ferocious bear or cougar, and to snare the wily trout from the swirling pool. Nature endowed man with the instinct and then supplied the incentive. It is here in Central Idaho in such quantities as to delight the small or big game hunter of international experience.

Long before other western states where game abounded in the days of ox team emigrants had taken precautionary measures, the legislature of the state of Idaho passed laws protecting the birds, animals and fish and at the present time, the state contains as good hunting as can be found in any part of North America. Nearly every species of deer and bear are found in the mountains of Central Idaho, while the valleys are thickly populated with sage hen, prairie chickens, grouse, etc., and the streams offer the best fishing in the world. The laws are so framed as to make hunting desirable only for residents of the state and these always have a vacation awaiting them that is filled with the keenest pleasures.

Antelope are frequently seen in bands within gun shot of the town of Mackay. They are now protected for a term of years but when the open season commences the hunting will be all the better. Deer are plentiful and elk are frequently brought down. Brown and black bears, silver-tipped bears, grizzlies and mountain lions or cougars live in the upper ranges, and bounties are offered by the state for the pelts of some of these animals. In the valleys and along the rivers, all kinds of ducks and geese and other water fowl are plentiful, besides the toothsome prairie chickens.

The Big Lost river, as well as all the tributary streams are well stocked with native trout and other kinds brought form the state fish hatchery. The speckled, rainbow, bull, brook and various other kinds offer the best kind of sport. It is not a country that has been “fished out” or in which the big game has been wantonly destroyed, but a section that will always offer the wonderful attractions of the fast-disappearing “boundless west.”


A dusty prospector, tired from his long jaunt across sage and sand, cam to the cooling banks of the Big Lost river and paused momentarily to watch the swift swirling of the water before him. The shadow of the old willows was soothing; it prompted reminiscence and reverie. To the seeker of ore, gold as losing its romance, the chase becoming less exciting. The toiling and moiling after yellow metal made this rest doubly pleasant, so by the stream he camped for the night.

Next morning, the miner had found a tree upon which to hang his hat. Eating deer, birds and trout – the food prepared by the Almighty for the pioneer – the while, the prospector built his cabin, cleared a space of land, dug his ditches and having obtained grain from travelers, sowed his little space and farming was commenced in Lost River

History records that Rome was founded no less unpretentiously. Next year there were neighbors and more of the precious and unfailing water was diverted to cool the parched bosom of the desert valley. Another season and the handful of grain had grown into sacksful and the magic wand of irrigation commenced in earnest to bring into its own the vast expance of rich, though arid, earth.

The quarter century just passed has demonstrated the wisdom of the lone prospector who blazed by way for those who have followed his course. Big Lost river, branching out as it does today in scores of ditches and canals to spread over the valley like a mystic network, was the key forged when the mountains were new, - the key to unlock and bring to the farmer and homeseeker the treasures that lay in the desert valley.

The millions that have been taken from the mines have been made possible by this steadier industry. Grain and hay from this valley, augmented by every kid of garden vegetable, keep man and beast alive. Agriculture has made Central Idaho what it is and the unknown prospector should be eulogized and revered. The section will double its available farm land in another three years and by that time will more than support the ranchers, miners and stockmen, leaving much produce to be shipped to the outside world.

Experiments in cultivation have proven the soil to be of the best and actual results from all the ranches in the valley prompt only the most sanguine statements. From thirty yields as high as forty and forty-five bushels to the acre and oats are also prolific in their growth. Of hay, the alfalfa yields two crops annually and then leaves a fine pasturage with which to fatten winter stock. Barley and rye also grow well. Fall wheat is the banner crop to put in, as the winter is not too severe for it and when early spring comes, the grain has a good start and needs very little water.

Of vegetables and garden truck, including berries and small fruits, practically every variety than can be grown in any other section of the country can be produced in the Lost River valley. Potatoes are raised as a staple product to be sold to the frequently mining camps. Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, Peas, beets, carrots, turnips , cabbage, strawberries, etc., are abundant and cheap during the summer months. Gardening requires very little care and especially the growing of potatoes is profitable in the extreme.

Below Mackay thirty-five miles is Arco, a town situated just at the southern boundary of the irrigated district. It is in the center of a community of over three hundred inhabitants . A few miles north is Moore, or Lost River, where several hundred ranchers come for their mail and to market their goods. Darlington and Leslie are located along the railroad line between Moore and Mackay and are both communities with flattering prospects from an agricultural point of view. Above Mackay, Barton, Chilly and Dickey are the the central points of a rich farming region.

Such is Lost River farming today. It is proving more than profitable; it is bringing a comfortable living to hundreds of families. The residents in the valley are of the best class of people. Many easterners, attracted by the exceptional opportunities offered, have settled here and their enterprise and achievements are marked steps toward success. George H. Clark, owner and proprietor of the Hoosier ranch, twelve miles south of Mackay is a good example of this type. Mr. Clark, who is a college bred man, being a graduate of Cornell University came to Idaho from Indiana a half dozen years ago and purchased about nine hundred acres of the best land in the section. His ranch is a model from every standpoint, good buildings, modern farm machinery, blooded horses and imported seed being some of the factors that have made it a success. It is a country that requires energy, but is is an energy that can always see and realize its profits.

The “tomorrow” of the Big Lost River valley as a farming section is painted in roseate hues on the canvas of fact. Within another three years, an enormous reservoir will be completed that will store water sufficient to reclaim 125,000 acres of valuable, fertile land and the farming population of the valley is expected to more than double. Work has already commenced on the mammoth dam that is to back up the spring floods in Lost river and seventy-five men are at work on the excavations three miles above Mackay. What this means can be told in a few figures.

The site of the proposed dam is between two giant walls of rock, the

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