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Burke, Idaho
Burke in 1888
Burke in 1888
Country United States
State Idaho
County Shoshone
Elevation
3,700 ft (1,100 m)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
83807
Area code(s) 208

Burke is a ghost town in Shoshone County, Idaho, United States. Once a thriving silver, lead and zinc mining community, it is far smaller now than at its height. In 2002, about 300 people lived in or nearby in the lengthy and narrow Burke-Canyon, about 300 feet (90 m) in width. In its early years, Burke was home to the Hercules silver mine, the owners of which were implicated in the Idaho mining wars of 1899. Burke was also the location of the Hecla and Star mines. After years of decline, Burke mining operations finally ceased in 1981 with the closing of the Star mine; which reopened for a short period in the 1990s.

In recent years, Hecla Mining Company has been exploring the potential of exploiting additional resource deposits in the Star mine. As of December 31, 2012, Hecla invested $7 million in rehabilitation and exploration with published estimates suggesting the potential to recover in excess of 25 million ounces of silver from the site with significant zinc and lead deposits also present.

Burke is located about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Wallace, at an elevation of 3,700 feet (1,130 m) above sea level. It is accessed from Wallace on Burke-Canyon Creek Road (State Highway 4).

History

Hard rock miners in Shoshone County protested wage cuts with a strike in 1892. Two large mines, the Gem mine and the Frisco mine in Burke-Canyon 1 mile south of Burke, operated with replacement workers during the strike. Several lost their lives in a shooting war provoked by the discovery of a company spy named Charles A. Siringo The U.S. Army forced an end to the strike.

Hostilities erupted once again in 1899. In response to the Bunker Hill company firing seventeen men for joining the union, the miners dynamited the Bunker Hill & Sullivan mill. Lives were lost once again, and the army intervened.

One of more famous images of early Idaho were the train tracks in Burke running through the main road. The narrow main part of town had to share its boundaries with the Northern Pacific rail spur.

When the railroad had to widen, instead of destroying the main hotel, the railroad and hotel came up with a unique situation—i.e. the railroad ran through the area where the Tiger Hotel's lobby was, with an enclosed walk way constructed above for hotel guests to move between the two halves of the hotel with out worry about the train or the weather. The hotel became increasingly unprofitable in the 1940s and was torn down in 1954.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 482
1900 1,081 124.3%
1910 1,400 29.5%
1920 1,135 −18.9%
1930 1,027 −9.5%
1940 963 −6.2%
1950 800 −16.9%
1960 300 −62.5%
1970 150 −50.0%
1980 80 −46.7%
1990 15 −81.3%
source:

Climate

Climate data for 2 Miles ENE of Burke, Idaho (1907–1967)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 48
(8.9)
63
(17.2)
65
(18.3)
83
(28.3)
86
(30)
98
(36.7)
95
(35)
99
(37.2)
92
(33.3)
78
(25.6)
62
(16.7)
50
(10)
99
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 28.7
(-1.83)
34.3
(1.28)
39.0
(3.89)
47.7
(8.72)
57.7
(14.28)
65.6
(18.67)
76.3
(24.61)
74.1
(23.39)
65.5
(18.61)
52.0
(11.11)
37.3
(2.94)
30.9
(-0.61)
50.76
(10.421)
Average low °F (°C) 15.9
(-8.94)
19.5
(-6.94)
21.6
(-5.78)
27.5
(-2.5)
32.9
(0.5)
39.0
(3.89)
44.2
(6.78)
43.2
(6.22)
38.6
(3.67)
32.2
(0.11)
24.7
(-4.06)
19.1
(-7.17)
29.87
(-1.185)
Record low °F (°C) -24
(-31.1)
-21
(-29.4)
-15
(-26.1)
8
(-13.3)
13
(-10.6)
26
(-3.3)
20
(-6.7)
23
(-5)
21
(-6.1)
4
(-15.6)
-13
(-25)
-26
(-32.2)
-26
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.69
(169.9)
5.41
(137.4)
4.92
(125)
3.02
(76.7)
2.95
(74.9)
3.32
(84.3)
1.23
(31.2)
1.38
(35.1)
2.54
(64.5)
4.35
(110.5)
6.02
(152.9)
6.18
(157)
48.01
(1,219.5)
Snowfall inches (cm) 59.9
(152.1)
45.6
(115.8)
42.4
(107.7)
9.5
(24.1)
3.7
(9.4)
0.5
(1.3)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
4.3
(10.9)
27.7
(70.4)
48.7
(123.7)
242.5
(616)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 20 16 16 12 13 12 6 7 8 12 17 18 157
Source: Western Regional Climate Center

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