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The Sun Valley Guide magazine is distributed free three times a year to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area communities.

Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper will receive the Sun Valley Guide with their subscription.


Lost in a
Good History
Dana DuGan peruses the vast library of books on Idaho’s history and digs up a few gems.

After a great morning of skiing down Bald Mountain’s slopes, sore muscles ache for a soft chair and a good book, both of which can be found at Ketchum’s Community Library. Ah, but the mind, still pulsing with the morning’s activities, longs for something besides romance, mystery and sci-fi. This unique library has just the place.

The Library’s Regional History Department is bursting with books on the people and historical events that shaped the local culture and lifestyle of the state of Idaho. One of the most impressive is An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho, which was published in 1899 by Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago. At 726 pages, it’s a fascinating compendium of historical sketches.

An Illustrated History contains portraits and biographies of leading citizens from Idaho’s past, including Dr. Robert Nourse, Fred R. Reed, George Lewis, T.E. Picotte and the Honorable John Hailey. Hailey, an Idaho pioneer and statesman, first entered the state in 1862 and had a little town named after him.

The book’s full subtitle is An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho, containing a History of the State of Idaho from the Earliest Period of Its Discovery to the Present Time...and Biographical Mention of Many Pioneers and Prominent Citizens of Today. Stamped in gilt on the brown morocco leather front are the words Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains. Truly a gem, it contains plates from photographs, numerous portraits—many photoengraved—floral endpapers and gilt inner dentelle. The volume is huge and not a book one takes away.

For those who are looking for something more portable, regional historian Chris Millspaugh offers these alternate selections.

Spring of Gladness: Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in the Wood River Valley, written by Mary Brown McGonigal in 1976, is the story of her parents’ and her husband’s families who homesteaded south of Bellevue near the base of Timmerman Hill. Many McGonigals still live in Bellevue.

For Wood River Or Bust: Idaho’s Silver Boom of the 1880s, written by Clark C. Spence as part of the Idaho Legacy Series, is full of local tidbits.

Another selection is The History of Alturas and Blaine Counties, Idaho by George A. McLeod, focusing on prominent people of the early days and told in a quirky, readable way. For instance, many of the early statesmen in Idaho came from Hailey, not Ketchum or Sun Valley, as one might surmise. On that list are state superintendents of public instruction, Supreme Court judges, congressional representatives, an attorney general or two and even a few

In 1962, Pearl Eva Barber wrote her family’s story in a sweet, nearly homemade book that the library owns, called The Galloping Ghosts of Galena. It sounds like a daring mystery, but isn’t.

“Whenever I have a hard question, a stump question on Idaho, I go to Idaho and the Magic Circle: And How They Came To Be, by Betty M. Bever,” said Millspaugh.

And, if strict history isn’t the food for that inquiring mind, Millspaugh points to rows of other Idaho books written by natives, celebrities and others who had the fortune to pause a while in the gem state, and then put pen to paper.