Looking west from "water tower hill" down Willow Creek: Checkmate mine and Jury Boarding house1 on left; further west, on the south side was the Gem Saloon, which is described in the 1903 quitclaim deed from Sam Dunbar and Arther Kontze to Rene Hazelton as being "on the south side. . facing Main Street. . . between the building now owned by Frank Demant as a store and the building occupied by the Idaho Dress Beef Company."
On the north side of the road was the house George and Hattie Johnston sold to the Ladies Aid Society of Pearl in May 1902 and the Ladies Aid Society sold a year later to the Congregational Church. Also on the north side: the I.O.O.F. Hall; The Pearl Drug Store that Jefferson Welch sold to Rush VonHarten in October 1902; Emke's Saloon, formerly Jake Decker's; and the barber shop.
The Pearl business district was on patented mining claims and the above information is from transfers of leases. Possibly there were more businesses that occupied locations less formally than recorded documents or on a hand-shake.
1From a 1896 lien filed by J. E. Griggs against G. R. Reed we know a bit about the construction of the Jury Boarding House, fka Reed Boarding House, fka Jury and Minton boarding house. Reed was "to pay $7 per 1000 sq. ft. for hauling 13608 ft lumber; hauling 1 cord of wood, $3.50; furnishing 1/2 cord wood, $3.50; hauling 12000 shingles from Caldwell, $4.80; Mrs. Loid A. Griggs for cooking, $7.00. Such labor & assistance performed & rendered between July 24, 1896, and August 26, 1896. The amount claimant demands is $115.20, no part has been paid except $18.50. Amount now due & unpaid, $96.70." (Griggs is listed as teamster on 1900 census.) Callistus W. Cooper also filed a lien against Reed, Jury and Minton for "$89.00 for lumber, doors, windows, shingles furnished by claimant as material man to said George Reed by contract made with Reed on 12 Aug. 1896." That lien further describes the boardinghouse as being a two story frame building "situated on south side of street, between a storeroom on east and Checkmate ore house on west and being about 200 ft. northeast from working tunnel of Checkmate." At the time of 1900 census Margaruite Jury was running a boarding house, presumably the same one.
Labor liens filed in 1896 and 1897 range from labor as a miner at the rate of $3.00 per day to $4.00 per shift.
Story © Sharon McConnel, whose grandfather at age ten moved, with his parents Don and Emma MacAskill, to Pearl in 1901.
1899 Mining Report
1904 Mining Report, Pearl District
Great Pearl Mining Camp, April 30, 1903 newspaper article; lists mines and owners
Pearl Mining District, by Robert Bell, Former Idaho Inspector of Mines, newspaper article; includes story of discovery
Pearl, excerpt from Merle W. Wells -- Gold Camps & Silver Cities/Nineteenth Century Mining in Central and Southern Idaho. Idaho Department of Lands, Bureau of Mines & Geology, Moscow, Idaho, 1983. (p. 73-74)
The museum's photo collection includes a Gem Saloon street scene, Lincoln Mine crew plus others.
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Serving Gem County since 1973.
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