Tom Irwin, a gold prospector, discovered a gold bearing vein in the silver valley in 1879. Tom built a cabin near this mine. His cabin was used as a landmark for many years. Although Tom was the first person to mine a quartz vein in Shoshone County, he did not receive credit for that in the history books (quote):

“Tom Irwin, a gold prospector, discovered a quartz vein and built a cabin at Montgomery Gulch in the spring of 1879. This cannot be verified as the quartz mine cannot be found.”

We do not know for sure who mined this mine, but know Tom was in the area.

The mine hillside was blasted down to hide the mine, leaving tracks, mine car and tools inside — a sure sign that they intended to come back. However, they did not, and the mine stayed hidden and lost for over a hundred years.

In the 1960’s the mine portal was exposed during the building of Interstate 90. In 1991, the owner saw water seeping out of the hillside. Hoping it was a spring; he dug into the portal and discovered more of the mine. The property owner put a piece of plywood over it. 1996, it was sold to a retired miner Bill & Judy Lane, who uncovered the rest of the mine and rejuvenated it as a tourist attraction.

While cleaning out the mine and scaling the ribs, Bill discovered some high- grade gold ore that was left behind. There is no record of how much gold or silver was taken out of the mine.

Tour Groups Welcome. Give us a call us at (208) 783-GOLD or if you prefer email us at [email protected]