Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Mining Town With a Bleak Past Starts to Blossom - New York Times

A neat NY Times article about the revival of Kellogg Idaho where buyers of second homes are injecting new life into a depressed former mining community: "Night-life decisions in Kellogg are basic and limited. If you smoke, grab a drink at Dirty Ernie’s. If you don’t, try the Jackass Saloon, where city council campaigns can start over frosty mugs of microbrews. Most of Uptown Kellogg has yet to recover from the economic shock of the 1980s and 1990s, with several storefronts and historic buildings still boarded up. Then there are the poisonous metals . . . " (The picture on the left is of the smelter at the Bunker Hill Mine.)

The whole Silver Valley is a fascinating study in mining, the environment, and modern redevelopment in the west. The valley boasts the Cataldo Mission, the oldest building in Idaho, and was part of the route for the Mullan Road, an important early transportation route. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the boom and eventually bust of a series of deep silver mines in the valley, which left behind one of the larger Superfund sites in the nation. Yet, despite the widespread lead contamination, the area is also one of the most beautiful in the Pacific Northwest, and has fantastic recreational opportunities. One of the neatest examples of this redevelopment is the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bicycle path project (photo on right) which encased 72 miles of lead contaminated railway line in an impervious clay cap and put a stunning bicycle path on top of it.

Here also is an NPR story about the revival of the Silver Valley, and a an article from Boise State University, "Kellogg Redefined: A Mining Town Reinvents Itself."

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