CLEARWATER The Elk City Wagon Road Days Committee recently announced its grand marshal as Helen McLean, longtime Clearwater and Grangeville-area resident. She grew up in Grangeville in the 1930s and then moved to a ranch in the Clearwater area in 1946 where she raised her family, including three children: Don, Rick and Sheila. In 1975 she returned to Grangeville to retire.
McLean will lead the parade Saturday, July 19, 10:30 a.m., with lineup at 9:30 a.m., on the south end of Main Street in Clearwater. Anyone can join the parade, no entry fee. Parade entrants will be provided lunch.
In addition, the Elk City Wagon Road History Museum is celebrating its first year anniversary. It is located in the Grange Hall in Clearwater, located four miles off Highway 13, between Grangeville and Stites. The museum will be open all day.
The annual Elk City Wagon Road observance is set for July 19-20. The museum tells of the wagon road where supplies were hauled to the gold fields of Newsome, Elk City, Buffalo Hump, and Thunder Mountain regions in the late 1800s and of life around Clearwater and the wagon trail in those years. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. It will be open July 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and July 20, 6:30 a.m.- noon. For a more convenient time, call one of the person listed here who will be glad to meet and show the museum: Lyle or Sue Smith 926-4278, or Jim Gribble 926-4709.
On Sunday, July 20, a self-guided adventure trip down the old wagon road to Elk City leaves Clearwater at 8:15 with breakfast at the Grange Hall available beginning at 6:30 am. This is a 48 mile trip over primitive road; no RV’s or oversized vehicles. There will be hosts at various station sites along the way.
Construction on the road began in 1894 and was declared officially completed July 15, 1895. Prior to this all travel to the gold fields was by way of the old South Nez Perce Trail. Beginning at Harpster, the road extends 53 miles to Elk City through the Clearwater Mountains of the Nez Perce National Forest. The first gold miners from Pierce used the trail to reach the Elk City area gold fields in 1861. By 1896 way stations were established along the wagon road to serve the minors, freighters, and other passenger traffic.
The Elk City Wagon Road celebration is an annual event that includes a parade, quilt show, vendors, lunch, raffles, historical presentation, old time gospel hour and musical variety show on Saturday. On Sunday, beginning at 6:30 a.m., is a breakfast and at 8:15 a self-guided tour of the 53-mile wagon road begins in Clearwater. Raffle ticket drawings will be held at 11:00 am. Vendors and parade participants on Saturday are welcome — no fee, just show up.
A rifle raffle is currently under way in the area to raise money to support and maintain the museum. Two rifles will be given away July 20: A Ruger 10-22 and a Savage 270 with scope. Several locations have tickets including Dan’s Barber Shop, Grangeville, and Dale and Jill’s Store on Hwy 12 near Kamiah. There will also be vendors at various locations throughout the next month on Fridays and Saturdays. Watch for the displays and buy tickets.
Contact Susanne Smith at 926-4278.