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Although now just a sleepy little town located on Prichard Creek, Murray once boasted a population of 25,000 western thrill-seekers and fortune hunters! The gold rush spurred this town into existence in 1884 along with the help of Civil War vetern, Andrew J. Prichard. Desiring to start a free-thinking religious mountain colony, Prichard traveled to Idaho and Montana in 1878. While searching for a suitable colony location in 1881, Prichard discovered lead placers valued near $42 a pan. He tried to keep his discovery a secret, but he was forced to share the wealth and stake his claim when other prospectors arrived. By early 1884, prospect advertisements from the Northern Pacific Railroad led hundreds of miners to the area, including George Murray

As thousands of would-be miners settled in the area, the town of “Curry” sprang to life. When George Murray became part-owner of one of the town’s building claims, the settlement’s name changed to Murraysville. The name was changed one last time in 1885 when the post office shortened the name. That same year, the town received the honor of becoming Shoshone County seat.

Pan mining continued in the area for several years, with dredge mining beginning around 1918. Although the dredge produced over $1 million in profits, it tore apart the land, and evidence of its activity is still visible. The area’s gold and silver mines prospered until 1924 before finally shuddering out of profitable business and shooing residents out of town in search of more prosperous claims.

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