Roosevelt Lake History

While you are waiting for the photos to load, scroll down to read about Roosevelt Lake. Document from the Idaho State Historical society.   NEW 03-22-04

Photos from "The Middle Fork and the Sheepeater War"
by Johnny Carrey and Cort Conley - copyright 1977



Number 21     February 1964

Founded late in the fall before the big rush to Thunder Mountain in the beginning of 1902, Roosevelt soon became the leading camp in the new mining district.  Thousands of men, having heard that Thunder Mountain was destined to be the biggest gold producer in the country, poured into Roosevelt and the Monumental Creek area.  But actual production did not begin to match expectations, and although the Dewey mine stayed in production until 1907, Roosevelt did not become the big center its promoters planned.  Relatively little activity went on after the Dewey mine shut down, and in the winters especially, not many people remained there.

Before the spring population returned in 1909, a large mud slide blocked Monumental Creek below the town, May 30.  (Slides such as this were typical of that part of the country:  the Roosevelt slide resulted from heavy spring rains, and not from mining activities.)  Lasting for two days or so, the slide grew large enough to back up a new lake which flooded the town, and Roosevelt had to be evacuated.  For the next twenty years or so, buildings floated around in the lake; but as the years went by, they fell apart, and now there are only a lot of boards cast about in the water.

In recent years, the level of the lake has been declining, but the townsite still is under water.  Roosevelt and the other Thunder Mountain towns have all been deserted for years, and by 1962, there were only two inhabitants on the whole of Monumental Creek, compared with the horde that rushed in there only sixty years before.

Reissued May 1967

Publications--450 N. 4th Street, Boise, ID 83702--208-334-3428

"The piano being used in the Yellow Pine School today is the same one used when Janet and Roxie attended school there, as well as when their father Lafe was a student -- the original piano freighted to Roosevelt by wagon for Eric Jensen's saloon.  Freighted back to Cascade after the slide that drowned the town and caused Roosevelt Lake, the piano was auctioned off at a sale in 1920.  Mr. Behne bid on it and hired Johnny Williams to haul it to Yellow Pine for the school."
Pg. 134 "Idaho Mountains Our Home" by Lafe and Emma Cox - Copyright 1977 by V.O. Ranch Books