The mining town of Centerville was the largest city in Idaho in 1863. A publication by the BLM describes the history of Centerville and the role and lives of the Chinese who lived there.
Location of Centerville in relation to Boise and present Boise Basin communities.
Cobble foundation and excavation site. The work at Centerville was carried out in 1993 by a team led by Dr. Priscilla Wegars of the University of Idaho. The team included 26 volunteers, four field school students and several BLM staff members.
Diagram of Chinese bowl
Diagram of opium tin artifact
Gold was discovered at Centerville in 1862 and 4,000 people lived there by 1863. The boom only lasted until 1866, but Centerville survived, thanks to the hard-working Chinese. Photograph courtesy Idaho State Historical Society.
Interior of Centerville’s Chinese temple, about 1900. The person shown has been identified as Ah Sing, Ah Soon, and Ch’uen Lee. Photograph by Ralph Koppes, courtesy Mrs. Marjorie Baker and Rob McIntyre.
Chinese celebrating the Lunar New Year at Centerville, about 1905. Photograph courtesy Idaho State Historical Society.
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