The Center of the Universe By Mike Blackbird Three hundred and sixty miles east of Seattle and 2,630 miles west of Boston, Interstate 90 brushes past the little mining town of Wallace, where the Center of the Universe is located. … Continue reading →
Author Archives: Mike Blackbird
About Mike BlackbirdMike Blackbird is a former Idaho State Senator, a member of the Coeur d’Alene Audubon Society, and past president of Pilchuck Audubon Society in Snohomish County, Washington. He has observed six hundred bird species on his Life List.
In Search of the Black Swift By Mike Blackbird In mid-July, my birding companion, Theresa Potts, and I made our annual land odyssey to Shadow Falls in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest, in pursuit of arguably the most mysterious avian … Continue reading →
Fighting for the Forest Service By Mike Blackbird The devastating wildfires of 2015 burned more than 740,000 acres in Idaho, and when fire season came around again in 2016, I was reminded of the infamous 1910 forest fire. Its history … Continue reading →
Approaching from the west on Interstate 90 at the outskirts of my northern Idaho hometown, a billboard proclaims:
You are now near KELLOGG
The Town which was Discovered
By a JACKASS—
And which is inhabited
By its Descendants.
Local legend claims that an old prospector, Noah Kellogg, was camped up Milo Creek in 1885. He awoke one morning to find that his jackass had slipped its hobble during the night and climbed up the mountainside. Kellogg spent all morning trying to catch his jackass, only to watch it scramble out of his reach each time he approached it. Finally, out of frustration, the old prospector threw a rock, hitting the jackass in the flank. Startled, it kicked out its hind legs, knocking the cap off an outcropping to expose a vein of lead and silver, which would prove to be seventy feet wide and half a mile long [for a slightly different version of this tale, see “Kellogg—Spotlight City,” by Erin Stuber, IDAHO magazine, May 2004].
Most likely, the story is apocryphal, but Noah Kellogg did discover the biggest lead and silver mine in the world. It wasn’t long before other rich mines were discovered in the mountains around the Silver Valley. Between 1885 and 1979, the mines produced 907 million ounces of silver—almost five times that produced by the legendary Comstock Lode in Nevada.
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