CLIMATE: Deep snow in winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Charles Sprittles was the last Year round
resident. See his story below.
REMAINS: Jail,Saloon,General store, and some Houses.
The discovery of gold on the Feather River in 1863 touched off a new ruch to what became known as the South Boise Diggings. A toll road was built in 1864 and freight wagons started to roll in from the railhead at Kelton, Utah. From Mountain Home the toll road led to Dixie, Pine Grove, (which is located under the Anderson Ranch Dam waters) Junction Bar, and finally to Rocky Bar.
With the largest mines nearby on Bear Creek, Rocky Bat wuickly became the leading settlement fo rht South Boise miners. In 1864, with a population of nearly twenty-five hundred, it became the county seat of Alturas County. And along with Idaho City, Rocky Bar was a contender for the site of the territorial capital. When Alturas County was created in 1864, the first Territorial Legislature designated Esmeralda as the County seat. But since Esmeralds wasn't much of a village and Rocky Bar was starting to boom, the county officials quietly moved their office up to Rocky Bar. This honor was held by Rocky Bar until 1881, when Hailey won the election and became the seat of Alturas County.
One account states that a twelve stamp
mill was hauled by ox team from Omaha to Rocky Bar for thirty
cents a pound. In 1892 much of Rocky Bar was wiped out by fire,
but the town was soon rebuilt and mining continued. A large Chinese
settlement hugged the banks along Steel Creek. There are still
a few summer residents in town and on cafe and bar, or Saloon.
The old mills have been pretty much torn down. With the death
of Charley Sprittles, Rocky Bar's last winter-time resident,
the deep snows and wintry winds have this old camp all to themselves.
Rocky Bar is located about eight niles
north of Featherville, at the confluence of Bear and Steel creeks.
There is a story about one of the Mining
town residents that goes like this.
The plucky annie found a man to live with, bore five children and dies in the 1930's having been "dependent on friends for some years."
For a while Peg Leg Annie lived at Rocky Bar in a cabin which is still standing. Reportedly she sold shiskey to anyone with the money to pay for it. Being incapacitated, however, she lined up whiskey bottles under cover along one side of a building near her cabin. With a shotgun across her knees, she would direct the would-be purchaser to the spot where the booze bottles were hidden. The story goes that she always paid for her liquor - in advance." (also quoted from Ghost towns of Idaho by Donald C. Miller)
Peg Leg Annie's house is still among the structures still standing at Rocky Bar and I saw a photo during my research that has that valley filled with buildings, that was the year before the fire. It is almost tough to believe that there were that many people there at one time. Standing on main street you can almost hear the bustle of the once busy mining city.
Submitted by: Angelia Heeb
Please be advised that most of the following information was gathered by his son George Albert Sprittles "Sloan" upon his visit to Rocky Bar in August 1997 after discovering that year that his father had lived there as he had not known his whereabouts since 1920. Charles Sprittles born Wakefield, England Nov. 25th 1881 and was a coach maker apprentice at age 14 Charley worked the mines in Casper, Wyoming 1916 till ??? 1920 the last time my father saw Charles Sprittles until learning of his past home in Rocky Bar in 1997. Charlie met and married Lulie Deane Wiley in Wyoming and had 3 daughters and 2 step daughters from her previous marriage. Charley left Wyoming and Lulie went to California with the girls. He came to Rocky Bar sometime around 1932. Worked at the Triumpth Mine and the Hailey Mine in Sun Valley and also was also a fight promoter. Charlie store in Rocky Bar was called the "White Front Store" which included one gas pump. Charlie never mentioned having a son only his daughters. Charley walked everywhere had no automobile. He was known as a miner and also known as the "Mayor of Rocky Bar". This is also listed on his death certificate. Charlie's death: In late November or early December 1963 Charley went to Boise to the doctors. He hitched a ride back to Featherville where his companions tried to get him back to Rocky Bar but the snow was too deep and could only get too within 5 miles of Rocky Bar. He told his friends that he wanted to continue on foot on his snow shoes but they didn't want him too. He went on anyway. His Air Force "fly-boy" friends from Mountain Home Air Base used to check on him by flying over during the long winter months. They would also drop him food and supplies. Anyway, they soon dicovered there was no smoke coming from his cabin. Accordingly the sheriff began the search for Charlie. It snowed like crazy that winter. On one search for Charley in March the crew had stopped, with along with there large snowmobile to have lunch. They also built a fire. The following month on April 14, 1964 the search was over. The search crew led by his Deputy sheriff friend, Buster "George" Taylor came across the spot where they had stopped earlier to have lunch, (about 2 1/2 miles east of Rocky Bar) a snowshoe had now protruded from the snow as the snow had now somewhat melted. Charlie was there with his shoes off and a sock in one hand and the orange peels they left the month before scattered right where they had left them during their lunch. Charlie was right beneath them the whole time. His death was listed as heart attack. Charlie had always wanted to be buried above his cabin in Rocky Bar but it wasn't allowed because it was National Forest land. A memorial was erected by the citizens in Rocky Bar: "To Charlie Sprittles Pioneer 1881-1964". He was buried on April 24th 1964 in Mountain View Cemetary in an unmarked grave. Upon learning that there was no grave marker my father purchased a grave stone. It states "Charles Sprittles" Pioneer Rocky Bar 1881-1964.
Submitted by Roy Sloan - Grandson of Charles Sprittles.