First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life & Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Volume 3651

Ranching and Gold Dredging in Minidoka County

City of Rupert Plaque: Silver Rails and Flour Gold
Silver Rails and Flour Gold
City of Rupert ~ Historic Preservation Commission
Free productive land and the railroad were major driving factors in developing and civilizing the western United States. The closest railroad depot was on the main line of the Union Pacific in the bustling city of Minidoka, 15 miles northeast of Rupert. Passengers and freight found their way across the sagebrush desert to Rupert and the new Minidoka Dam by horse-drawn freight wagons and carriages.

The Minidoka and Southwestern Railroad branch line through Rupert was completed in mid-summer of 1905. It reached Twin Falls in late July. It was purchased by the Oregon Short Line (OSL), and later by the Union Pacific in 1914. This line, still active today, is operated by the Eastern Idaho Railroad.

The first depot at Rupert was established September 10, 1905, when a boxcar was placed near the east side of the tracks a short distance southeast of the town Square. C. H. Burgher from Belleview, Idaho was the first agent, with Harry W. Morrison as his assistant. Morrison would later rise to world-wide prominence as the head of the Morrison-Knudsen Construction Company. Another boxcar was used as a freight depot. In the first 20 days it was open, 90 cars of lumber and construction material arrived, along with many other goods and settlers.

A new depot was completed February 15, 1906. This depot, built at a cost of $4,500, was touted as the best on the OSL line. It is still in use as part of the Minidoka County Museum, located one mile east of town. When it was completed, Burgher and his family moved into the rooms above the depot. Later, Mr. Burgher would recall the Rupert Square was a barren patch with a few frame buildings scattered around it, while the pioneers of Lincoln County (now Minidoka and Cassia counties) were staking out homesteads and grubbing off sagebrush from the land.

The Burroughs Gold Dredge

Four miles east of Rupert, still visible up and down the Snake River, are long narrow islands. They are all that remain of the work done by the Burroughs gold dredge. Several mining operations were attempted in the Snake River. They were abandoned due to the fact that the gold in the river sediments was extremely fine "flour gold." Edgar Rice Burroughs, who later gained national fame with his novel Tarzan of the Apes, worked for a time with his brother on the dredge.

[Picture Captions]
Rupert Railroad Depot - The Best on the Oregon Short Line
The Burroughs Gold Dredge

The Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Company's
Gold Mining Dredge and "El Nido" Houseboat
on Snake River, Idaho

The Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Company's
Coal Bin and Tug
on Snake River, Idaho

Archive Photos of Minidoka and Rupert

Recent Minidoka City Limit Sign


Rupert-Minidoka Project

Minidoka Dam - from Head-gate of Northside Canal

Caledonian Hotel ~ Rupert

Rounding Up Cattle ~ Rupert, Idaho

Shamrock Brass Trade Token 12 1/2 c from F. W. Jones, Rupert

Rupert Court House

Rupert Street Scene

Rupert Court House ~ Minidoka County

An Idaho Stage Coach

Idaho Stagecoach

Pack Train


From More Recent Times

World War II Kobayashi Sansaburo Monument ~ Minidoka

Rupert in 1960

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