View Full Version : Pearl Idaho

02-05-2006, 06:26 AM
Many years ago, at least 10, I was lucky enough to see Pearl, Idaho. Sadly at the time I did not bring a camera. There were many buildings still standing and two mines right in the center of the town. I had heard there was an old cemetery but my friends and I were never able to locate it. Does anyone know if the town is still standing? A friend of mine had heard that some of the buildings had burned or were burned down because they were dangerous. It was a tiny town but still would be ashame if it was all gone. Thanks!


02-06-2006, 01:45 PM
Most of the buildings were burnt to the ground a couple of years ago and the only house standing is the Burkhart house. It's a shame as the buildings were a favorite for people to photograph. Reason given was that the owners were affraid that they would fall on someone and it was also a place for under-age keggers. Now a local realestate agent has the 23 acre townsite for sale and it has 3 mines I'm not sure when they tore the mill down as it was accross the road from the main tunnel and they had a homemade traffic light to stop people when the pushed the ore carts into the mill. It was running on and off in the mid-60's. I went to school with Larry Burkhart, now deceased and got to know his Dad, Joe (Hardrock) Burkhart. He worked the claims around Pearl and was a watchman for the mining company and Idaho Power. Quite a character.

10-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Pearl was the first Ghost Town I ever visited, I was probably 10 when my folks first took us there and i've been hooked on ghost towns ever since. I remember there being a building containing a huge old air compresser, and boxes full of ore core samples. The buildings were in fairly decent shape, as I remember. I went back in there again with a college buddy probably around 96, the buildings were pretty much flattened by cattle by then. I was sad to hear that they burned the buildings down, but there really wasn't much left.

Does anyone have photos, stories, general information etc. having to do with Pearl? I'm trying to gather information on some of the more obscure Ghost Towns in Southern Idaho (Pearl, Mineral, Seven Devils Area, Marshall Lake, etc.) as there seems to be a lack of information on some of these places.

10-03-2006, 02:24 PM
You've probably already seen this from Ghosttowns.com, but in case you haven't here's the link. There's not much info to be found on the internet that I can find, but maybe with more extensive online searching and cross referencing you'll have some success.

Pearl - Idaho Ghost Town (http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/id/pearl.html)

10-11-2006, 01:10 PM
I'm in Emmett now caring for my Mom's House and we get the Messenger Index, local paper and on Sunday's we get the Idaho Press Tribune with "The Wrap" with local history and stuff. The 9/10/2006 wrap had a reprint of an earlier article back in the 1950's on Pearl. Looks like the heyday was from 1897-1906. I da't know whether the Messenger would have any back copies or not. Probably the best overall work on Idaho ghostowns is "Southern Idaho Ghosttowns" by Wayne Sparling, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID 1974 I'm guessing it is long out of print, and probably the best bet is Caxton's in Caldwell, or the Yesteryear Shoppe in Nampa that specializes in Idaho books. The bad thing is that the glue used in the binding wasn't very good and the books fall apart. I have the Sparling book and one by Huntley on Ferry Boats on the Snake and both have the same problem and are out of the same era and series. I guess one of these days I need to take the pieces into a bindery and get the book rebound. More info on a lot of obscure camps than anyplace, and some of them there was not much in 1974, and a lot less now.

10-13-2006, 10:27 AM
Thanks for the info guys!

dvsww2 - nice to see a fellow Idahoan in here! Seems like almost everybody is from Cali/New Mexico/Arizona...

I actually have a copy of Southern Idaho Ghosttowns, I picked it up in McCall about a year ago, I believe it's back in print if yours needs replacing. I'll have to check with the Press Tribune & see if I can't get a copy of that article.

I managed to dig up a little info on Pearl, here are a couple links for anyone interested:

Detailed info on Pearl Cemetery
http://www.rootsweb.com/~idgem/cemetery.htm#may (http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Eidgem/cemetery.htm#may)

Brief history of Pearl

Brief History/List of Pearl postmasters (scroll down)
http://www.rootsweb.com/~idgem/history.htm (http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Eidgem/history.htm)


11-24-2006, 08:48 PM
I live in Emmett. There is nothing left of Pearl Idaho except the Burkcart (sp) place. It's still dirt road all the way from Emmett to the Horseshoebend highway. I used to love to go there. I remember the hotel. It seemed so small. When I was younger I seen pictures of Pearl in it's day. I have no idea how they fit so many people in that town. Several thousand if I remember right. Just before coming down into Emmett there is a sign at the monument about Pearl. If anyone wants to see it let me know and I'll email you a picture of it.


11-24-2006, 10:30 PM
Dixie -

Welcome to the forums!

Yes, I would love to see any photos of/relating to Pearl, ID that you might have... I am trying to gather information on some of Idaho's more obscure ghost towns because they seem to be disappearing fast and there's not much information on most of them.

If you want to send via snail mail let me know & I can pay for postage... otherwise, my email address is thomas.a.butler at gmail dot com.

Thanks Dixie! It's good to see another Idahoan on here!


04-30-2007, 07:18 PM
Here are some pictures I took about five years ago in Pearl:


bad bob
04-30-2007, 08:02 PM
Looks good too....
I was just tellin' eastbay, you can submit these pics to the webmaster, to update status of Pearl.

Somebody left the "L" off on the Idaho web page, so Pearl is listed as "Pear"

Todd, how about jumping right on that. Don't make me have to come to Phoenix. I'm using my travel budget on SF already. :D

05-03-2007, 10:37 AM
Great photos zdv, thanks for sharing! Where did you find those Mill Remains? I don't remember ever seeing that, though I haven't been there in years. I need to go out there one of these days and see what's left, kinda scared to though because they torched the old buildings and there's been a lot of Real Estate development going on in the area.

05-06-2007, 08:14 PM
All of the pictures were taken in the "town" which is pretty small.

Perhaps labeling that as a mill is presumptive, however there was a boiler and some other equipment in those particular ruins.

06-11-2007, 08:59 AM
There are many stories about Pearl. I can start with the cemetary, it is located on Bean's Property. As a kid my sister and I would walk up there and leave flowers on the marked and unmarked graves. Around the age of 18 I helped a group of people eagar to preserve what is know about the gravesites and who lie there, with a monument with names of the known graves. As years went by we saw the town diappear with each visit. In 1993 I watched as parties and paintballers slowley added to the decay of what was left of the town. I would scare off anybody I could. My children will never see what we saw or imagine what we could when it was all still there.

06-11-2007, 09:05 AM
it was the machines that pumped air into the shafts, the small mill was on the creek

06-11-2007, 09:20 AM
There was an old mess/shower hall, where miners came in to shower and eat. The old school house and the old holtel. Dynomite sticks still sitting in the shafts. Ghost stories from family members. This place has alot of history.

06-11-2007, 10:12 AM
Very interesting stuff! Did you grow up there? It sounds like you have an intimate knowledge of the place. I took my kids up there a few weeks ago and it was pretty sad to see how little is left. I remember a building with a ton of ore samples in it, I managed to find a small chunk of one of them.

We tried to find the cemetary without any luck. Do you know how I could get in contact with the owner of the property it lies on?

Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy hearing about the history of these places! I'd love to hear any other stories you have!

06-11-2007, 02:27 PM
My family and heart are always going to be there.

The cemetary is up Beans drive. It is gated but I think BLM ownes the part with the cemetary. It's Beans gate before you make it to the ghost town its on the left.

I will try and gather some photos from when it was in full boom to reminets.

Emmett has a musem that has a lot of neat stuff and some info my Great Grandpa Joe donated.

06-11-2007, 03:14 PM
So the gate to the cemetary is off to the left coming into town from the Emmett side? I thought it might be up there, but didn't know for sure since I couldn't find it on any map.

I'd love to see any photos you have! Here's some I took a couple weeks ago (I spent more time chasing my kids around than exploring)


06-13-2007, 06:45 AM
My sister and I are in search of the pictures to scan in.

12-26-2007, 08:56 PM
I was doing some research on Pearl using Google and found this forum. When I lived in Boise I made one trip to Pearl in 1985 or 86 and found much of what zdv had photographed. A memory stood out in my head of the mill building with the steam engine still with all 4 walls but the roof had collapsed. It is interesting to see that the steam engine was still there in 2002. I don't have any photos but too am interested in seeing other's historic pictures. I took a drive through Pearl while visiting my home state in Sept 2006 and was saddened to see most all evidence of this historic mining town gone. None of the buildings that I remember seeing from the road in the 80's were there. Most notable were the several new homes that have sprung up along this valley going towards Emmett. The only worthwhile stop was at an apple tree loaded with wormy fruit, tasty (not the worms) and there were just a few fragments of rotten timbers and other debris showing evidence of a homestead. I remember there being some massive cottonwoods around where the mill was that are now gone. I would not be surprised if fire was the reason all is gone. I also read that the sagebrush habitat is declining in parts of Idaho and there is a need to manually reseed after the many big fires. The Boise area sure has grown since the 1980's.

12-27-2007, 07:17 AM
I also read that the sagebrush habitat is declining in parts of Idaho and there is a need to manually reseed after the many big fires. The Boise area sure has grown since the 1980's.

I was disappointed with Pearl. My wife’s grandfather, a hard rock miner,
spoke of it occasionally when discussing places to explore. There’s not
much of anything left now.

The Governor of Idaho is still talking about reseeding our lost sage brush.
I’m sick of the “cheat grass” taking over. It gets caught in everything
including my dogs paws. Nasty stuff. I hear it actually came from India.
It would be ok with me if we burnt it all off in a day, then reseeded sage.
I arrived in Idaho with the military in ’82. They used to have signs at the
state lines reading “Sage brush is free-take some home with you”. Now you
don’t see as much as you used too. The signs are also gone. And who can
forget “Don’t be a guberif” painted on the asphalt. I wondered about that for
months before it dawned on me.

01-12-2008, 01:55 PM
I was dating a girl with 4 kids for quite awhile. We used to go to quite a few ghost towns and we would tell the girls to enjoy them now because when you are all grown, most of these probably won't be here. Sadly that seems to be holding true faster than I had hoped. I try to live by the old saying "He who forgets his past has no future". I hate seeing all of the real estate growing up into the wilderness. I guess its all in the name of progress.

07-25-2008, 03:52 PM
Not sure which Burkhart you are but my name is de Cordova. I know alot of Burkharts from when I lived in Emmett. My grandpa was good friends with all the Burkharts. My grandad grew up in Pearl and lived with Joe when they were kids. My great grandpa was Jacob deCordova. He worked at the Lincoln mine. I stayed with ol Joe in 1969 when I was 4 years old. Pearl was still a great ghost town. I remember being in the school house and it was like they had just shut off the lights and walked out. I was in Pearl last year and couldn't believe that it was all gone.

07-25-2008, 08:10 PM
Musta been in the SU riA ecroF, if you couldn't figure out what a guberif was!!!

old gal
08-18-2008, 01:46 PM
My dad also grew up in Pearl. His mother ran the hotel Mostly miners and other laborers would stay there. His brother is buried in the cemetery. I think the cemetery access has to remain public forever. There is info at the Historical Society in Boise.

08-27-2008, 12:32 PM
Hello Old Gal, What is your last name? Mine is de Cordova. My great grandmother Loretta de Cordova was a cook in Pearl for some time while my great granddad ran the Lincoln Mine. I was in emmett last week and saw an old article and pictures from the Sunday Idaho Statesman from 1932 talking about the mine and the people who live there and the people who owned the mine. Very intersting.

05-01-2009, 03:47 PM
I finally found a photo of Pearl as it was long ago (i've been looking for a long time). Click the link below & go to page 3 (interesting article too!):



07-09-2009, 11:22 AM
I don't know how far back 'quotes' but I put some information on the site a few months back. As of 2005 there was nothing left of Pearl. When I was there in 1999 there were shells and/or foundations of buildings there. I took pictures. To compare them to the photos I have from 1946 and some from around the 1910's is most interesting.
One place to get information is at the museum in Emmett, just a few miles north of the cut off to Pearl.

07-09-2009, 12:09 PM
Georgie -

You should post your photos, we would love to see them!

I've found a few old photos of Pearl from the early 1900's, looking at what remains now it's hard to believe there was ever town there.

- Tom

01-29-2010, 12:11 PM
Is anyone still out there? My dad was born in Pearl in around 1921, and the one attempt we made as a family to locate it ended up a dirt road at a locked gate about 40 years ago. I was really excited to see pictures here, and sad that I missed seeing the buildings by so short a time. I'm taking my son to Boise on other business in a month, and would love to know how to get out there, or if it's even possible with a Honda Civic! Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

01-29-2010, 12:26 PM
Thank you! My dad was born in Pearl, and I'm doing some research for a trip my family is making to Boise next month. We tried to get there 40 years or so ago, and were stopped by a locked gate across the road. Do you know if it's still possible to get there?

02-01-2010, 11:45 AM
songcroft - You should be fine, a few of the side roads are closed (private property) but you should be able to roll straight through what's left of town (and it's not much).

03-16-2010, 11:20 AM
I grew up just a couples miles (linear) southwest of Pearl. My brothers and I used to go up there all the time. In the mid-90's I remember buildings still there, but only 2 or 3 at most. It's a shame there's nothing left now.

I was never aware, however, that there was a cemetery somewhere up there. I've read all the posts on this thread and it sounds like you have to go through someone's property (Bean), though it is actually on BLM land?? If this is true, can anyone tell me the coordinates, or upload a Google Earth image? It would be a real treat to be able to see the cemetery.

Any help is very appreciated. Thanks!

06-10-2011, 09:00 PM
Locked Gate is because the BURKARTS own the property past it, most the property up there is gated off because someone owns it. Nothing is left of the town except the road.

06-10-2011, 09:01 PM
Locked Gate is because the BURKARTS own the property past it, most the property up there is gated off because someone owns it. Nothing is left of the town except the road.

12-09-2012, 10:47 AM
updated link for cemetery inventory - http://gem.idgenweb.org/cem_pearl.html