Pioneerville "Photo (C) by Daniel Ter-Nedden /"

Pioneerville was also known as Pioneer City and Hogem. A mining town that was here and gone in handful of time. Pioneerville is located north of Boise off of Highway 21 near Grimes Pass, and still has a few standing buildings. The miners had to endure ore shortages and frequent raids by Indian warriors which led to it’s downfall. Pioneerville was one of the first places to be claimed up in the old days and because there was no room for the hoards of miners who came looking for riches, they moved down Grimes Creek to form another mining town called Centerville (see below). In it’s Hey-Day Pioneerville had a population of over two thousand and had the first post office in the Boise Basin. The Grimes Pass area produced roughly 25,000 ounces of gold. Notable gold mines in the area included the Golden Age Mine, the Mammoth Mine, and the largest producer in the area: the Comeback Mine, which produced 50/50 gold and silver.

Centerville once boasted a population of around three thousand people. Once the white miners left the Chinese miners moved in. Once there were a great number of buildings, today however there only remains the outlines of old timbers that marks the spot. There are rich placer deposits all along Grimes Creek, especially on the way to Placerville (see below). Near Twin Springs, along the Boise River are some rich placer deposits. All area gravels, benches and terraces within the historical waterlines contain placer gold. The Illinois Mine and Gambrinus Mine were large lode producers in the area. Across Grimes Creek to the east is the remains of Twin Sisters Mill.

Placerville is mentioned for the sake of history. It was the key supply point for the mining towns that connected to it. To this day there are many standing, in fair shape buildings including a Saloon.In 1863, Placerville had a population of over five thousand. Placerville is part of the Quartzburg District.

Quartzburg got it’s mining jump-start around 1864, when the Gold Hill Mine was found. The Gold Hill Mine had many employees and was operating for several years and produced a lot of gold. 400,000 ounces or more are estimated to have been mined. The Quartzburg District is located in Township 7 North Range 4 East. The Mountain Chief Mine and the Belshazzar Mine were also notable gold producers in the district. In 1931, a fire destroyed most of the town. Many old mines and smaller mining camps can be found throughout the district.

Idaho City streams and creeks all contain gold. Most notable are Mine Creek, and an area known as Horseshoe Bend on the Payette River. The high bench terraces are very rich between streams in the area.

Between 1863 and today over 3,000,000 ounces of gold has been produced in Boise County.

Further Reading:

Basin of GoldLife in the Boise Basin, 1962-1890
Arthur A. Hart

This book captures the flavor of life in the bustling mining camps in the Boise Basin, an area of roughly 20 square miles in the mountains of southwest Idaho. Gold was discovered there in 1862. The words of those who lived in the Basin in the 19th century have qualities that make them worth quoting — they are often picturesque, witty, charming and humorous.

8×8, Paper, 84 pages, illustrated.