Near DeSmet in Benewah County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
Giver of Parks
Virgil was born on October 5, 1876 in Rockville, Tennessee. He was not yet three when his family journeyed out west, eventually settling on a farm near Colfax, Washington. Here, working on his father's farm, he learned a great love for the outdoors, especially trees and wildflowers. As a boy, Virgil could gaze east from their farm at the base of Steptoe Butte across the fields to this forested ridge in Idaho. Later he would buy both and then donate them to the states of Washington and Idaho for the purpose of becoming state park areas.
As a young man Virgil endeavored upon many undertakings. In 1898 he received diplomas fro Washington State University in pharmacy, economics and history. Virgil practiced pharmacy from 1903 to 1920 in Walla Walla, Waitsburg and Colfax. He also
Virgil grew tired of the confinement of the pharmacy and missed the outdoors. After his father's death in 1910 he inherited the family farm and worked hard to maintain its stature. Although he loved to work on his land, he realized that after he was gone there would be no one left to continue the land's preservation. That is what made him decide to see the family farm, and buy Steptoe Butte and Skyline Ridge with the idea of donating them as state parks. He hoped this would ensure preservation of his labors for others to enjoy for many years to come.
In 1946, after much persuasion on Virgil's part, he donated 120 acres to the State of Washington, thus creating Steptoe Butte State Park. Virgil also wanted to donate his Skyline Ridge to the State of Idaho, but was having a hard time convincing the legislature that this ridge could cost any sort of tourism. This did not discourage Virgil however; as he continued to struggle for the acceptance of his project. He enhanced his offer by agreeing to perform all maintenance of the park for the first 15 years and provide $500 per year for park operating expenses. Finally his aspirations came true as the legislature voted for the acceptance of his gift in 1955, thus creating what is now Idaho's second oldest state park. Virgill
Erected by Idaho State Parks and Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Parks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical date for this entry is October 5, 1876.
Location. 47° 4.812′ N, 116° 55.044′ W. Marker is near DeSmet, Idaho, in Benewah County. Marker is on Skyline Drive near U.S. 95, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Desmet ID 83824, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. It These Walls Could Talk (approx. 2.4 miles away); DeSmet Mission (approx. 4.8 miles away); McCroskey Park (approx. 4.8 miles away); White Pine Scenic Byway (approx. 10.4 miles away); Company Town (approx. 10.8 miles away); World's Largest Mill (approx. 10.8 miles away).
More about this marker. This marker in beside the picnic shelter about 5 miles from the Skyline Drive/Highway 95 intersection.
Also see . . . McCroskey State Park - Wikipedia. McCroskey State Park occupies the rocky slopes of Skyline Ridge on Mineral Mountain, in a transitional zone between the Palouse prairie to the west (and south) and the Rocky Mountains to the east. The park's chief attraction is a narrow unimproved road called Skyline Drive, which winds for 18 miles (30 km) along a steep ridge, climbing through dense cedar forest that gives way to stands of ponderosa pine and, eventually, to prairie. (Submitted on August 18, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2018. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 211 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 18, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.