History of McCall


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In many ways, the story of McCall is the story of the great American West. It begins with nomadic Native American tribes, including the Shoshone, Bannock, Sheepeater and Nez Perce. Later, it tells the story of faraway immigrants in search of gold and arable land.

Gold fever: The 1800’s.

Outsiders were first brought to the McCall area by lure of gold, many from as far away as China. In fact, by the mid-1800’s, more than 30,000 Chinese gold miners worked in the nearby boomtown of Warren. A Finnish settlement, called Roseberry, took root just 11 miles south of present day McCall. Its now a historical site, with a Finnish church, cemetery, barns, cabins and saunas. But even before Roseberry was a ghost town, it was a relatively quiet place to live, as it prohibited lewd and indecent resorts and intoxicating drinks.

This was quite a contrast to nearby McCall, renamed after prominent civic leader Thomas McCall, who came to the area to homestead in 1891. This up-and-coming town was notorious for its bordellos, dance halls and gambling dens. Mining and timber were the town’s other principal employers and remained so through the better part of the 20th century.

Recreation and renewal.

By the 1980’s, timber and mining activity had fallen off. Recreation and tourism soon became the town’s financial mainstays. Partly, this was due to the Winter Carnival, founded in 1924 by local resident and Olympic ski champion Cory Engen. He and a group of volunteers built ice sculptures and held dog sled races. These days, the lively carnival draws world-class sculptors and thousands of spectators.

In the last 20 years, as the population and economy of Boise increased, McCall grew into a favorite summer and winter retreat for Idahoans. Today, with the recent addition of the new $1.5 billion Tamarack Resort, McCall is recognized as one of the top resort communities in the Pacific Northwest and continues to garner national attention.

Come experience the rich beauty, recreation, and history of McCall for yourself by taking a tour of our community and view the unique real estate offered at Blackhawk.