The Elk City Wagon Road Celebration is an annual event taking place this year July 17-18 in Clearwater. This is the year of the 30th anniversary of Wagon Road Days. Activities include a parade, quilts and vendors show, lunch, raffles, historical presentation, old-fashioned gospel hour, and a variety musical show on Saturdays.
On Sundays, starting at 6:30 a.m., breakfast is served and at 8:15 a.m. a guided tour of the 53 Mile Wagon Route begins in Clearwater. The raffle ticket draws will take place at 10:30 am Vendors and parade participants on Saturday are welcome. No charges. Just introduce yourself!
Saturday events include: Quilt Show 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Parade 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on Main Street.
Excellent burger breakfasts with fries and soda are available for $ 5 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
At 12:00 p.m., it’s old-fashioned gospel time, followed by the variety show. Great entertainment!
The Wagon Road has been around for 130 years and has proven to be a valuable asset to Idaho County. In 2015, with all the devastating fires in the area, part of the road was used for firefighting efforts in the Pilot Knob area. In early 2016, with a huge landslide on the main road leading to Elk City, making it impassable for several days, part of the wagon route was the only way in and out of Elk City. It is important that this isolated road remains open even today as it was 130 years ago. The Friends of the Elk City Railroad Route took responsibility for keeping the route operational.
The Elk City Wagon Road History Museum turns 9 this July. It is located in the Grange Hall in Clearwater, ID. The small town of Clearwater, four miles from Highway 13, between Grangeville and Stites, is also celebrating its annual Elk City Wagon Road celebration on July 17-18. The museum tells the story of the wagon route where supplies were transported to the gold fields of the Newsome, Elk City, Buffalo Hump and Thunder Mountain areas in the late 1800s and of life around Clearwater and the wagon track during of those years. Free entry. Donations are accepted. It will be open on July 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on July 18 from 6.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. For a more convenient time, you can call one of these people and they’ll be happy to meet you there and show you around, Lyle or Sue Smith 926-4278, or Jim Gribble 926-4709.
Construction of the road began in 1894 and was officially completed on July 15, 1895. Prior to that, all travel to the gold fields was via the old South Nez Perce Trail. Beginning in Harpster, Idaho, the road stretches 53 miles to Elk City through the Clearwater Mountains of the Nez Perce National Forest. Pierce’s first gold miners used the trail to reach the gold fields in the Elk City area in 1861.
In 1896, routing stations were established along the wagon route to serve miners, freighters and other passengers.
For more information, contact Susanne Smith at 208 926-4278 or Linda Winters at 926-4606