Discovery of the Hub and Horn Silver mines in the Lava Creek district in the early eighties, preceded a boom in that district which has witnessed no parallel since then in central Idaho.
The Hub mine near Martin was discovered by Jack Hood in either '85 or '86. Hood had come to the Lost River country in about '77 and spent much of his time prospecting in the hills. He was a brother-in-law of Clarence Kinney, one of the pioneer residents in Antelope. Discovery of the Hub mine brought a great influx of prospectors and at one time over 800 prospects were on record, covering nearly every foot of the mountain in the vicinity of Era and Martin.
After Hood had extracted considerable ore from his property, a company was organized which purchased his interest. It is stated that approximately $60,000 was paid him for the Hub. The new company continued operating the property intermittently for 10 years after which the company left the field.
After disposing of his mine, Hood engaged in the sheep business with Mr. Kenny on Antelope, who owned the ranch now owned by T. C. Waddoups. Hood died in Blackfoot about 20 years ago. [Not sure when this was printed in the paper.] He had the distinction of bringing the first wagon ever driven into the Lost River country, in the year 1877
Discovery of the Horn Silver mine was made by Frank Martin on June 4, 1884. He had been making his home for a number of years with his brother Sam Martin and after working at Houston for some time he quit his job and left for the home of his brother. The trail led across the mountains, and as the story goes, Frank arrived at the site of the Horn Silver mine about noon. Having several miles yet to travel before reaching his brother's home, he decided to sit down and eat lunch. While idly examining the ground as prospectors sometimes do, he struck a projection of rock with his hammer and exposed a ledge of horn silver. It startled him and after further investigation he found that he had encountered an outcropping of horn silver that extended several feet above the surface. He at once filed on the claim and named it the Horn Silver. News of the strike spread like wild fire, and especially after several loads of it had been hauled to Hailey and Blackfoot and from there shipped to the smelters. In '85 he grave a lease on the property to Salt Lake interests and in the summer of '86 the new owners built the mill.
A good run of high grade ore was taken from the mine, and the mill was operated a little over a year, when it became apparent that the ore was gradually diminishing. A short time later the mine was abandoned, but it caused quite a boom and the town of Era was started and continued in existence for a number of years.
Frank Martin's sale price on the Horn Silver reached
a large sum. After disposing of his mine, Martin engaged in the cattle
business, which did not prove to be a successful venture. Several years
later after having lost his fortune in various business ventures he tried
to stage a "come back" in the mining field, but old age was creeping on
and he left the scene of his fabulous wealth and moved to Oregon.
He died in Oregon in about 1890, but the Horn Silver is still being prospected
and as this is written a company has been organized to do considerable
development work during the present year. The Lava Creek
district has had a part in the mining activity of the early days, and
no mine in central Idaho's history has played the important roles
played by these two outstanding properties that yielded millions of the
earth's treasures and made a few men wealthy while others lost fortunes
in trying to rediscover the lost veins of the old Eldorado.
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