Friday, January 30, 2009

"The Gate on 16th Avenue" - A Century Ago and Today

A Boise State University student asked me this week where the assassination site was located and that got me checking to see if the street view at 16th and Dearborn had yet made it to Google maps. And yes, click here. The above picture of the original house is one of several, mostly photo postcards, that I have in my collection.

Governor Steunenberg was assassinated near the corner of Dearborn and 16th Avenue in Caldwell, ID when he opened the side gate to his home, setting off a dynamite bomb. Through the magic of Google street view maps, we can see how that same area looks today.
The original house burned down in 1913--the fence, gate and all remnants of the property are long gone. The link will take you to the location as it currently looks. The fence there now with the small steps is reasonably near where the original fence and gate would have been located and where the bomb exploded when Frank lifted the gate latch. The house would have been located a little further back then the current home as it was larger acreage at the time.The story has it that subsequent property owners of the site cut down what had become much larger trees a hundred years later. Probably some of those you see in the top picture. They kept wearing out the chain on the chainsaw because of remaining pieces of shrapnel that were deeply embedded in the wood. I don't believe any original trees from the Steunenberg era remain but the similarities with the fence, gate, two trees on this side of the fence and another on the other side is a bit uncanny when you compare the photos. The home is located within the Steunenberg Historical District.

News article from the Idaho Statesman, September, 6, 2006. Drive by and take a look but please do not disturb the property owners.

I attempted to find some street views of Steunenberg, Idaho, maybe one of that saloon/soda pop establishment, but was unsuccessful. I guess no one was doing that kind of Goggling in 1910.

1 comment:

Mr. White said...


My name is Gino White. I am a former legislator from the Silver Valley. I found myself in the need of a geography credit earlier this year and signed up for a one credit of directed study. My project is to identify GPS coordinates for site related to Lukas' book big trouble. Without going into to much detail I am in the process of creating the site in Google (a big mistake) but if you are interested please check it out. It not too detailed but probably will reflect a greater-than-one-credit effort. Thanks Gino White