Silver City Idaho Edna's mother hometown

Silver City, Idaho
Photos by Jo Anne Cordis

Edna Purviance's mother lived in Silver City during the 1870's and early 1880's. For English-born Louise, this was her first American home. Louise never returned to Silver City after leaving to move to Paradise Valley, Nevada, but it was her hometown.

Accompanying each photo taken by Jo Anne Cordis is information about the scene depicted. Here is the link to the full Silver City Tour and below are links to learn more about Silver City, Idaho.
NOTE: Edna's family in Silver City will be covered in the new Edna Purviance biography I am currently writing. Watch for updates & release dates.

Linda Wada - Updated Dec. 28, 2012 -
Silver City, Idaho

Silver City, Idaho, is a living ghost town located in southwest Idaho. It is not a tourist town, but a place where visitors can get a feel of what the west might have felt like in its booming days.

All the properties are private, but visitors are welcome to come and take a walk around this historical town. And you may be surprised by what you find in this town that still lives in Idaho's past. But STAY OUT of the mining areas (which have many unmarked hazards) and do not trespass onto private property.


Back of the Idaho Hotel in Silver City

Back of the Idaho Hotel and the surrounding area in Silver City, Idaho.

Dirt Streets
Silver City, Idaho

You will not find any paved streets in Silver City, Idaho. The same dirt roads are used today as were used when the town was first created. It is one of the reasons four-wheel drives are recommended. If you have a 4WD, this is a good time to use it. Take a trip to a special town, instead of to the local mall!

Silver City lacks the modern tourist town amenities! There are no gas stations or fast food shops here! Bring food, water and personal gear.

Both main roads to Silver city are unpaved. The best route to Silver City is from Murphy, Idaho. The route from Jordan, Oregon, is a rougher road. Check the links below for more about the different routes into Silver City.


Streets of Silver City, Idaho

Just one of the many dirt streets of Silver City, Idaho.

Heidelberger Store

In 1866, this granite building was built and used as a general merchandise store for many years. It was a general store during the time the Davey family lived in Fairview and Silver City, Idaho.

The building burned down in 1939.


Heidelberger Store

The remains of a general merchandise store in Silver City.

Open Spaces
Silver City, Idaho

Like in many western towns, fire destroyed many building in Silver City. But buildings also vanished due to people tearing them down for building material. The weather would invade others, slowly decaying them to rubble.

The result is open space and plants returning to the once stripped landscape.

The buildings that have survived are mainly because people have cared enough to save them by taking care of them.


Silver City Street scene

Plants have returned to the open spaces in this once bustling town.

Idaho Standard School
Opened in 1892

The Davey's children never occupied this school building, but they did spend most of their school years in Silver City. Louisa Davey did finish her schooling in Silver City and may have continued her education in Boise City.

This 1892 school building still stands and has been restored over the years. It contains a museum on the second floor and meetings are still held annually at this location.


Idaho Standard School

Idaho Standard School - Silver City, Idaho

City Block
Silver City, Idaho

Here is one of most complete street blocks that exist in Silver City. The three buildings along this street are in order: The Lippincott Building which housed a doctor office (yellow with green trim), Knapp Drug Store which housed the Model Pharmacy (green with darker green trim) and the County Office Building.

During the Davey's time in Silver City, the County Building housed the editor(s) of the Silver City newspaper. The Lippincott and Knapp buildings were built after the Davey's left Silver City.


Silver City Block

Silver City block.

Masonic Hall
Silver City, Idaho

Built as a planing mill, the Masonic Hall became one of the local centers for entertainment in Silver City. Locals started using the hall's second floor in the late 1860's.

The Mask Balls were held here, and the Davey's children enjoyed the annual event.
The tall white building in the background is the Idaho Standard School built in 1892.


Masonic Hall

Masonic Hall - Silver City, Idaho.

Idaho Hotel
Silver City, Idaho

The Idaho Hotel was built in 1866. Edna's mother would have remembered the hotel as the main stagecoach stop in Silver City.

It experienced several changes and owners over the years. There were many years the building was closed, but it reopened for business in the 1970's and has been in operation ever since.

Today, rooms can still be rented at the Idaho Hotel. See links below for more information.


The Idaho Hotel

Idaho Hotel, Silver City, Idaho

Butcher Shop and more
Silver City, Idaho

The white building on the left was the local butcher shop. Open during the 1870's, the Daveys could have brought many a Sunday roast from this shop. The center building was a general store during Edna's mother’s time here. It later was a restaurant, before returning to a general store in 1899. It remained a general store until the family closed the business in 1942.

The last building on the far right was a barber shop and bath house, but likely was not there during the Davey's time in Silver City.


Butcher Shop in Silver City

Another nice block of buildings in Silver City.

Avalanche Office and...
Silver City, Idaho

The building on the left was the Undertaker building for several years, then served as a general store. Today, like nearly all the Silver City buildings, it is a private home.

The peaked roof building on the right was the Avalanche Newspaper Office. This is where any reports of the Davey family would have been written for the local paper. The Avalanche was the first newspaper to be published in Idaho.


Avalanche and Undertaker Office

Left, Undertaker building. Right, Avalanche Office.

Old Saloon?
Silver City, Idaho

This location was the Sommercamp Saloon for many years, and later served as a candy store and apartment house. It was the Caldwell Drug Store when the 1907 Christmas fire destroyed most of the building.

It was rebuilt as a furniture store in 1908. It last served as a fresh produce store before becoming a private residence. A spring runs under the lower building which made it ideal for produce.

(note: not in the other pages)

Old Saloon

Sommercamp Saloon building location.

Silver City Church
Links about Silver City, Idaho

To learn more about Silver City, Idaho here are a list of website links:

Fairview, Idaho

Exploring the Great Basin

List of Idaho Cemeteries

Idaho Hotel and Silver City Gallery

Silver City Trip and other Mining Sites

Silver City Idaho 1895

Silver City Photo Tour

Special thanks to Jo Anne Cordis for her collection of Silver City photos made during her visit a few years ago. Also thanks for building information from Helen Nettleton’s book “Interesting Buildings in Silver City, Idaho.” And to Wes Wada for his editing help.

The picture to the right was not taken by Jo Anne, but was taken during one of my personal family trips to Silver City in the 1960's. It was my mother's favorite town. She was buried there in 1984 after dying of cancer.

Silver City, Idaho church

Silver City church in the 1960's.
Photo: Linda Wada collection.

Learn more about Edna Purviance's family on
History of the Purviance Family Home!

Edna's Lovelock Home

And more on The Davey's Family!

The first ever telling of Edna's father Madison Gates Purviance!

A nine page story covering his life in Idaho, Nevada and beyond!

Madison Gates Purviance

Watch for more changes on Edna's site as the research continues!


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Photographs by Jo Anne Cordis, unless otherwise noted.
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