Challis-Yankee Fork Ranger District' - Custer Walking Tour Map

Custer Tour Map Custer Tour Map



A self-guided walking tour is generally open from June through September during business hours. The School house is now the museum and gifts and refreshments are available at the Empire Saloon. The information presented here is reprinted from the Custer Walking Tour guide which is available for free at the site, compliments of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

  1. Custer School HouseSchool House
    The walking tour starts here. J.F. Davis began construction on September 4, 1900. In 1990 it was restored and continues as the Custer Museum that was established in 1960 by Tuff and Edna McGown.
    Custer school children
  2. Johnson Graves
    On February 2, 1890, an avalanche swept the Nels Johnson home across the Yankee Fork killing Olga, Anne and Josephine. The children were buried close to their friends - the people of Custer.
    Gravesite of the Johnson girls who died in an avalanch
  3. Stone Cabin Ruins
    Louise Treolor Short, "Miss Lou", lived in the only known stone structure. The one room building was constructed of native stone.
    Miss Lou lived in this one room stone cabin high on a hill overlooking Custer
  4. Asay Office
    This building was built during the 1930's when many unemployed men and their families occupied the deserted town and prospected for gold. Originally a store house, it now displays assay items.
    Custer Assay Building
  5. Pfeiffer House
    Charles A. Pfeiffer managed the Pfeiffer store and purchased this handsome frame structure in 1890 after his marriage to Ellen Olson. He added a bedroom, kitchen and shed as his family grew.
    Pfeiffer House
  6. Transportation Building...If your wagon (or later,your motor vehicle) was broken, you brought it here.Transportation Building
    Used as a garage and shop, this building was built during the 1930's. Now it houses different transportation items used at Custer.
    Transportation Building...If your wagon (or later,your motor vehicle) was broken, you brought it here.
  7. Blacksmith Shop (Site)
    Blacksmiths made and repaired mining equipment, wagons and carriages, and shod horses and mules. This building was destroyed by fire in 1964.
  8. Jail (Site)
    Using 2" x 6" lumber, the construction of this building was similar to a log building. The jail was destroyed by fire in 1964.
    Woman standing in front of Custer jail
  9. Custer Empire Saloon
    Guster's last doctor, Dr. Charles Kirtley, moved and converted the saloon into an office and home. He later married Josie Malm. They lived here until 1910. This building was restored in 1998. The building is now a gift shop and refreshments are available as well.
    Empire Saloon
  10. Ice House
    Ice was harvested during winter, covered and layered with sawdust and stored in ice houses for use during warmer months. The cool interior of the building also stored meats, vegetables and other perishables.
  11. McKenzie House
    Kenneth McKenzie began construction of this large house in 1880. Billed as one of Custer's finest homes, the original cabin was enlarged until it became a rambling, ranch style home. An astute business man , Mr. McKenzie owned McKenzie's Saloon, McKenzie's Feed and Livery Stable, and McKenzie's Buggy Shed. This building was later converted into a garage until it was restored.
    Custer Days mock shootout in front of the McKenzie house
  12. Frank Tully Cabin
    This one-room, frame cabin was originally an addition to a much larger log cabin that has since rotted away. Frank Tully, a bachelor miner, lived in the cabin for many years. During the 1930's it was converted into a garage/shop.
  13. Flagpole Grave
    A young man competing in a 4th of July climbing contest was killed when he fell. Although his name has been lost in history, he will always be remembered, for in commemoration, his friends buried him near the town flagpole.
  14. McKenzie's Feed and Livery Stable (Site)
    A large, two-story frame structure, with horse stalls on the lower floor and a hay loft upstairs boarded animals for $1.50 per day. One could also rent, sell, or buy horses, mules, wagons and buggies.
  15. Bawdy House (site)
    Shunned by most respected women, these working ladies provided companionship to lonely men. They were well known for their care in times of sickness and donations to the poor.
  16. Deardon and McGown Store (site)
    George Deardon and Arthur McGown, Sr., constructed a large two-story frame mercantile store about 1879. Stock items included everything from foodstuffs to hardware. Fresh meat and produce were stored in an icehouse in back. They also had a butcher shop 150 feet to the south of the store.
  17. Burton Rooming House (site)
    In 1895, after the death of her husband, Estella Burton operated a small, false front, one-story, rooming house and the adjacent restaurant.
  18. Thompson Furniture Store (site)
    George and Belle Thompson constructed one of the first businesses in Custer in 1879. The large, two-story frame building had a furniture " store on the first floor, while single men lodged in the upstairs. An elevated walkway led from the second story to the family home on the hillside behind. Later, the store was converted into a social center and was known as "Thompson" dance hall.
  19. J.F. Davis Carpenter Shop (site)
    J.F. Davis served as Justice of the Peace and was popularly known as "Judge" Davis. He also operated a small, false front, log carpenter shop. A carpenter and cabinet maker by trade, Mr. Davis made most of the coffins used in Custer and Bonanza.
  20. Casto and McGee Saloon (site)
    Bill Casto and "Red" McGee established a single-story saloon that boasted a pool table and specialized in stud poker. Prize fighting between the Custer champion and other mining camps were often staged here.
  21. Charlie Raines Cabin
    Charlie Raines owned a mine on Custer Mountain that he worked mainly by himself. He was the typical small mine owner who never struck it rich, but was a respected member of the community.
  22. Brockman Cabin
    Abandoned before being completed, this small log cabin was moved to a mining claim near Boot Hill cemetery in 1958. The remains of the structure were donated to the Friends of Custer Museum and moved back to its original location and restored.
  23. Sammy Holmna (1835-1910)
    A native of Saratoga, NY, and graduate of Harvard Law School, Samuel A. Holman had a promising career that he discarded after his fiancee died. He headed west, eventually reaching the newly discovered mining district on the Yankee Fork. Sammy was elected as the first justice of the peace for Bonanza and acted as judge when needed. He gained a reputation for being fair and honest and could have gone far in politics except for two things; gold fever and drinking. After staking claims along the Yankee Fork, Sammy built a log cabin and sold lots for a new community called Custer. He was not very tall, of medium build, and by nature, generous to a fault. He imposed a rather striking figure in a homespun sort of way-with his full whiskers washed and combed and his natty manner of dress. At age 59, Sammy prospected for silver near Clayton and later sold his discovery for $27,000. By this time, gone was the debonair young lawyer from Saratoga, instead was a small grizzled man with haphazard dotting, mended brogans and scraggly white whiskers. Sammy spent the remainder of his life in a cabin by the side of a small stream-now called Holman Creek.

For More Information, contact:

Land of the Yankee Fork Historic Area
Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 1086
Challis, ID 83226
Phone: 208-879-5244

Challis - Yankee Fork Ranger District
HC 63 Box 1669
Challis, ID 83226
Phone: 208-879-4100
Fax: 208-879-4199