On May 31, 1806, Sgt. John Ordway and Pvts. Frazer and Weiser began the return trip from Lewis’s (sic) River (Snake River) with salmon for Camp Chopunnish (Kamiah). The men crossed the Camas Prairie near here on their way to rejoin the Corps . . . — — Map (db m121141) HM
Following the Battle at White Bird Canyon on July 4, 1877, U.S. cavalrymen, entrenched nearby at Cottonwood, resisted attacks by Nez Perce warriors.
East of here on July 5, 1877, Nez Perce warriors created a strategic diversion by surrounding . . . — — Map (db m121140) HM
“I will not hide anything. That part of the fight was not long.” Yellow Wolf, Nez Perce warrior.
On July 3, 1877, 2nd Lt. Sevier M. Rains, civilian scout William Foster, and ten 1st cavalrymen rode from Norton’s ranch . . . — — Map (db m121142) HM
Erected in memory of the seventeen volunteers who engaged in battle with the Indians 2000 feet East from this point with two killed and three wounded the 5th day of July 1877 during the Nez Perce Indian War. Captain D.B. Randall, C.M. Day, James . . . — — Map (db m121144) HM
An exceptionally large hydraulic pit, left by massive placer mining in this area, still can be seen 1 mile from here.
Buffalo company miners using hydraulic giants -- large metal hoses with nozzles that could direct a stream of water under . . . — — Map (db m121285) HM
Twenty-two prospectors from Pierce discovered the Elk City mines in May, 1861 and a gold rush followed that Summer.
Through July the houses were "nice and airy, being constructed of brush." with bars for doors "to keep out the cayuse horses." . . . — — Map (db m121287) HM
Elk City was the first mining town in Idaho County. The first miners saw a herd of at least 700 elk while camping on the hill east of the present townsite, hence the name Elk City. In September 1861, Elk City was established between Elk City and . . . — — Map (db m121316) HM
An old Indian trail connected Elk City with mines in Montana when Idaho's gold rush spread in 1862. Following a route developed by Nez Perce buffalo hunters, a host of miners and packers ascended a series of ridges overlooking deep Salmon and . . . — — Map (db m121289) HM
Named for the blue flowering camas -- an important root food for all interior Northwestern Indians -- Camas Prairie is a traditional Nez Perce cultural center. Tolo Lake -- visible below -- provided a campground for Joseph’s Wallowa band and . . . — — Map (db m121138) HM
(Three panels outline the history of Tolo Lake)
The Nez Perce name for this lake is Tipahxlee’whum (Tepahlewam or Split Rocks). In early June 1877, five bands of Nimiipuu gathered here for their last taste of freedom before . . . — — Map (db m121267) HM
Near the base of this hill, over 100 cavalrymen and volunteers met disaster in the opening battle of The Nez Perce War.
Rushing from Grangeville on the evening of June 16, 1877, Captain David Perry planned to stop the Indians from crossing Salmon . . . — — Map (db m4643) HM
For thousands of years, Nimiipuu, or Nez Perce ancestors migrated between forest, river, and prairie environments, harvesting the resources as they came available with the passing seasons.
The Nimiipuu daily rhythms and . . . — — Map (db m121270) HM
The steam engine before you saw many years of service to agriculture and lumbering here on the Camas Prairie at the turn of the 20th century.
In the 1920s the City of Grangeville used a steam engine like this with a roller in front instead of . . . — — Map (db m121269) HM
A scenic 1895 wagon road from Harpster to Elk City gave freighters and travelers better access across high ridges and rugged terrain to isolated mining camps
Sections of the steep, narrow road run close to a much older Nez Perce trail that . . . — — Map (db m123511) HM
During the mining boom Harpster boasted a hotel, a livery barn, a harness shop, four saloons, two general stores, a a drug store, and a blacksmith shop.
William Jackson built a toll bridge here across the South Fork of the Clearwater to meet . . . — — Map (db m121318) HM
Coming here May 10, 1839 to study with Lawyer, an important Nez Perce leader, he stayed to work on an Indian dictionary and to hold daily religious classes each spring and winter.
After spending six months in a “mere hovel,” he finished . . . — — Map (db m109774) HM
In May and June, they camped across the river from present-day Kamiah near the railroad bridge.
With their Nez Perce friends, they hunted, traded and played games.
They showed the Nez Perce “the power of magnetism, the spye glass, compass, . . . — — Map (db m109771) HM
Look north to the ridgeline behind you and see what Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery faced on the morning of September 15, 1805. At 7 a.m. the Corps left their Colt Killed Camp near what is now the Powell Ranger Station.
Hoping for a . . . — — Map (db m123161) HM
President Thomas Jefferson, driven by a life-long passion for scientific exploration and study, instructed Meriwether Lewis to record details about the flora, fauna, geology and people of the land between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. As . . . — — Map (db m123162) HM
In September of 1805 and again in June of 1806, Lewis and Clark traveled and mapped this area.
Their purpose was to explore the land, communicate with the Indians and establish the claim of the United States to the vast Pacific Northwest.
. . . — — Map (db m110304) HM
The townsite of Kooskia is situated within the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Between 1889-1893, the Federal Government divided the 756,960-acre reservation into family-sized acreages called allotments. Although each Nez Perce adult and child . . . — — Map (db m121323) HM
(Four historical panels are located at the kiosk:)
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark expedition known as the Corps of Discovery, passed through this area in September and October of 1805, on its way to find . . . — — Map (db m121344) HM
Route of September 15, 1805.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through this area on their westward journey following a route used by the Indians to reach Salmon fishing grounds in the Lochsa River. The Indian trail they were following left . . . — — Map (db m123215) HM
Captain Lewis recorded on June 29, 1806: "...at noon we arrived at the quamas flatts (sic) on the Creek of the same name and halted to graize (sic) our horses and dine having traveled 12 miles. We passed our encampment of the (13th) September at 10 . . . — — Map (db m123219) HM
Looking Glass told army authorities: “Leave us alone. We are living here peacefully and want no trouble.”
But after a military attack, July 1, that destroyed his village, ruined his gardens and captured 750 Nez Perce horses, Looking . . . — — Map (db m109790) HM
You can find me on the ridgeline above you. I’ve seen many pass this way, some in joy and some in sadness, some in peace and some in war. For the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) I was K’useyneisskit or ‘road to the buffalo.’ For the Selish (Salish) I was . . . — — Map (db m123165) HM
On July 23, 1877, approximately 750 members of the Nez Perce Nation, with over 2,000 horses, crossed Lolo Pass to escape the pursuing U.S. Army. Leaving their homeland behind, they followed this trail across the Bitterroot Mountains in an attempt to . . . — — Map (db m123218) HM
Living in Harmony with the Land You are standing near one of the well-worn trails and a crossroads of the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) and Selish (Salish) peoples. Year round, the Mat’alaayma Bands of the Nimiipuu lived here, wintering along the . . . — — Map (db m123172) HM
Over one and one-half centuries have passed since Lewis and Clark crossed the Bitterroot Mountains.
This country was then a vast, challenging wilderness.
Immediately across the river from you, at this point, is the Selway – Bitterroot . . . — — Map (db m110320) HM
In July of 1877, nearly 800 Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people traveled with heavy hearts across the Lolo Trail above you. They did not know if they would ever return to their homes. The women sang songs of sorrow and longing.
The journey began in the . . . — — Map (db m123163) HM
(This marker is composed of two panels and is presented here as if the panels were joined.)
The land today looks much the same as it did to Lewis and Clark. Today, as stewards of this beautiful land, we have an opportunity to leave a . . . — — Map (db m123213) HM
Above the parking lot is an open glade where natural mineral licks attract a variety of wildlife. These licks were named after George Colgate who was the cook for a hunting party in the early 1890s. Heavy snow trapped the group and prevented them . . . — — Map (db m123164) HM
But they got out of deep Lolo Trail snow after they reached Rocky Point (directly across from here) and descended to Crooked Fork, below this turnout.
They reported that then they “ascended a very steep acclivity of a mountain about 2 . . . — — Map (db m109787) HM
On their westbound journey, Lewis and Clark crossed here, September 15, 1805 after camping 4 miles upstream at Powell.
Their Shoshoni guide had brought them down an old trail from Lolo Pass to a Lochsa fishery he knew about. To continue west, . . . — — Map (db m109782) HM
Many changes have occurred since the time Lewis and Clark used this route in the early 1800’s.
The mountains you see around you are now shared by the U.S. Forest Service and the Plum Creek Timber Company.
Each owns alternate sections of land . . . — — Map (db m109789) HM
The Lewis and Clark party crossed this pass Sept. 13, 1805, westbound for the Pacific after a long detour to the south.
From the headwaters of the Missouri they had crossed the mountains to the Salmon. Finding that river impassable, they traded . . . — — Map (db m27120) HM
Early prospectors, fanning south from Pierce – Idaho’s first gold camp – came unexpectedly upon rich ground in August 1861.
Their secret leaked, golden rumors started an eager rush that fall, and winter famine followed.
Next spring, . . . — — Map (db m109650) HM
Big nozzles, called “hydraulic giants,” shot powerful streams of water against a pre-historic river bed (now the bank of the stream) to expose and wash down gold-bearing gravel, which then was sluiced to recover the gold.
This . . . — — Map (db m109642) HM
In 1862, a noted Western scout, Mose Milner, started Mount Idaho on his gold rush trail.
But when civic leaders resisted farm efforts to organize a grange there in 1874, Grangeville grew up as a better located town. Although Mount Idaho . . . — — Map (db m121317) HM
Over eleven thousand years ago, groups of Native Americans started the long history of land use in this area. The Nez Perce Tribe carried on the rich tradition of hunting, fishing, and gathering food, herbs and wood. Mountain men and early explorers . . . — — Map (db m119353) HM
Early settler Charlie Clay, who operated a sheep ranch at Berg Creek, needed a better way to get his sheep across the river to the shearing plant located at the confluence of the Little Salmon and Salmon rivers. If the weather was bad or he felt . . . — — Map (db m119360) HM
Riggins’ first store was opened in 1897 by George Curtis, a storekeeper from nearby Lucile. Curtis converted Riggins’ first saloon into a much needed general store.
In 1903, Maggie Clay Rhoades and her sister, Carrie Belle Clay, hired carpenter . . . — — Map (db m119447) HM
First School (photo upper left)
The area’s first school opened its door in 1894 on a flat near the river in north Riggins. The small log cabin, with few windows and a fireplace, served as the classroom for fourteen students in grades . . . — — Map (db m119448) HM
Before the wagon road from White Bird to Meadows was completed in 1903, travelers endured a trecherous (sic) and roundabout overland journey. Seeing the need for a faster and more direct route, the enterprising J.J. Goff offered ferry service across . . . — — Map (db m119414) HM
Before recorded history, the area we know as Riggins was on the west coast of the North American Continent. Thousands of miles to the west was the Pacific Plate, covered by ocean with only a few high points rising above the water. This plate was . . . — — Map (db m119411) HM
If trees could talk, the big locust standing guard near the corner of Salmon Street might tell us all the details of the famous Gouge-Eye fight. It seems that Homer Levander and Big Markham got into a fight over comely Daisy Trumbull. According to . . . — — Map (db m119358) HM
There were no formal churches in Riggins until the 1930s, but the early pioneers have always gathered together to worship. Jim Aitken, and other early homesteaders, often met in the schoolhouse to teach Sunday School from lesson plans taken from the . . . — — Map (db m119450) HM
Before you stands the north tower of the original Manning Crevice Bridge. The original bridge was located approximately 14 miles up on the Big Salmon Road. A new bridge was built and opened in 2018.
HISTORY: The Crevice Bridge was first . . . — — Map (db m119429) HM
The Brundage House (photo top left)
301 South Main Street
Built in 1918, the Scott Brundage home was one of the nicest of its time in Riggins. In 1927, the home was leased to the U.S. Forest Service and was eventually purchased by . . . — — Map (db m119361) HM
The Riggins irrigation ditch was built in 1891 by early pioneers, Charlie Clay and brothers Isaac and Johnny Irwin, to supply water to their gold mining operation. By 1894, gold mining waned and the ditch was used for irrigation water. It wasn’t . . . — — Map (db m119354) HM
Riggins Area Honor Roll
World War I
John Alkire • Henry Baker • Ed Boodry • George Boodry • Ed Clark • Vic Hinkley • Preston Jewett • Grenville Kimbrough • Mervin Mc Whinney • Bill Patterson WWII • Clinton Reeves • Earl Sewell • . . . — — Map (db m119430) WM
Riggins’ first hotel, Hotel Riggins, built in 1894 by pioneering businessman Dick Riggins, was located in the center of town across from Berger Street. The hotel also served as the post office and in 1901, Dick Riggins was appointed as the first . . . — — Map (db m119446) HM
Lighthouse of Highway 95
In 1946, Jim and Velma Summerville built a liquor bar, cafe, and supperclub. Summerville’s Cafe and Club was known as “The Lighthouse of Highway 95,” welcoming countless travelers to their 24-hour cafe. . . . — — Map (db m119409) HM
From Allatlo'puh to Gouge-Eye to Riggins
The river terrace, now known as Riggins, has a long and varied history. Although it is known that the general area has been used by various groups of Native Americans for about 11,500 years, the oldest . . . — — Map (db m119489) HM
In 1897, the area surrounding Riggins was designated part of the Bitterroot National Forest Reserve. The Riggins area was included in the Weiser Reserve in 1906, then added to the Nez Perce National Forest in 1908.
First Forest Service Ranger . . . — — Map (db m119362) HM
In the 1890s, Captain “Cap” Guleke began making regular float trips down the Salmon River from the town of Salmon to Riggins. He would build a large wooden sweep boat, called a scow, and deliver supplies to river ranches. At the . . . — — Map (db m119413) HM
John Riggins was Riggins’ first mailman, carrying the mail from Grangeville to New Meadows by horseback and sometimes by foot.
By 1893, he operated a stage line from Grangeville to Fiddle Creek, north of Riggins and the end of the wagon road.
He . . . — — Map (db m109852) HM
After the Clearwater Battle on the heights above here, July 11-12, 1877, the Indians crossed the Lolo Trail to Montana.
Advancing northward along the high ground with 600 troops and artillery, General Howard found the Indians camped on the . . . — — Map (db m121319) HM
On the more distant of the ridges Lieutenant Theller halted and deployed his advance guard, at the same time sending word that the Indians were in sight. I immediately formed my company 'left front into line’ at a trot, gave the order to drop . . . — — Map (db m119505) HM
Travel through the Salmon River Mountains always was hard in the early days.
An 1872 railroad survey showed the Salmon River Canyon to be too expensive a route to build.
Until a highway was finished down the White Bird Hill in 1921, only some . . . — — Map (db m109667) HM
Then this part of the earth’s surface gradually rose.
As the mountains were rising, the river cut down into the older rock below.
Many other northwestern rivers cut similar gorges.
The Snake flows through Hell’s Canyon – deepest of them . . . — — Map (db m109662) HM
Five warriors, led by wet’itwe’tit hawalis . . . had been sent out . . . as a peace party to meet the soldiers. Of course they carried a white flag.
Peace might be made without fighting. -- himi'n maqsmaqs (Yellow . . . — — Map (db m119506) HM
(Three panels are located at this kiosk overlooking the White Bird Battlefield.)
We were marched into a deep canyon and to a country strange to us, and familiar to the enemy. If there was any plan of attack, I never heard of it. -- Sgt. . . . — — Map (db m121137) HM
For 60 years after construction was completed in 1915, White Bird Grade (Across the Valley) served Idaho’s only north-south highway.
Many tortuous curves and switchbacks -which, if placed together, made 37 complete circles - let the old road . . . — — Map (db m119507) HM