A LITTLE HISTORY OF KETCHUM
Ketchum has a long history of transitioning through economic changes dating back to the 1800’s.
1824 – Beaver Trappers were the first to explore the area around Ketchum, but it was not until the gold rush of the 1860’s that the town began to grow.
1860s,- Not long after gold was discovered, John Hailey brought the first sheep into the Wood River Valley and Idaho recorded a sheep population of 14,000.
1880 - Ketchum, originally the smelting center of the Warm Springs mining district was named after David Ketchum, a trapper and guide, Many smelters were built in the 1880s. The Philadelphia Smelter processed large amounts of lead and silver for a decade. The area became one of the he richest districts in the Northwest. When the silver market collapsed, most of Ketchum’s residents left in search of greener pastures
1890 Following the silver market collapse, sheep became the area’s leading industry. In 1890 there were approximately 614,000 sheep in the valley.
1918 the sheep population reached 2.65 million. During that time, thousands of lambs were shipped by rail to markets around the West, and the Idaho market was second only to Sydney, Australia.
1935 – Count Felix Schaffgotsch, under the fire of Union Pacific Railroad chairman Averell Harriman, set out in search of the perfect sport for a grand American Resort. Upon reaching the Ketchum valley, Count Felix Schaffgotsch was overwhelmed by the area and wired his employer, saying: “This combines more delightful features than any place I have ever seen in Switzerland, Austria or the U.S. for a winter resort." After 7 months of construction Sun Valley was opened to the public in 1936.
1973 the Sawtooth Recreation Area opened its doors north of Ketchum, making Ketchum the gateway to the Sawtooths and becoming a year-round resort and recreation area.
Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society
United States History - Ketchum, ID
SOME FACTS ABOUT KETCHUM NOW
LOCATION: South Central Idaho
ALTITUDE: 5853 ft.
MEDIAN AGE: 44
SEASONS: 4 (long winter, short spring)
AIRPORT: Friedman Memorial (SUN), 15 miles south in Hailey, ID
TOWN MOTTO: Small Town, Big Life
We like to say we are an island of culture surrounded by wilderness.
We have fabulous restaurants, art galleries, music concerts, summer symphony, conferences as well as incredible recreation opportunities.
Winter activities include all forms of skiing (downhill, snowboarding, cross country, back country), ice skating and snow shoeing. The Summer and Fall seasons are popular for hiking, fishing, golf, mountain biking, camping, trail riding, rafting, music festivals etc.
People come for the skiing, return for the summer events and move here for the the incredible life style and community.