It is with heavy hearts that we must announce the passing of one of our beloved Trustees, Mr. Max Black. Having someone of Mr. Black’s character, intellect, professional pedigree, and gentle charm counted among our Board of Directors for the past decade was truly a privilege.
Many in the historical community will associate Mr. Black with the notorious outlaw ‘Diamondfield’ Jack Davis, to whom he devoted countless hours of research and uncovered new physical evidence of a more than 100-year-old murder. Mr. Black was also driven by a lifelong love of the railroad, which was inspired by a photograph of his grandfather standing atop one of the two trains that met at Promontory Point commemorating the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. Those that knew him personally, however, quickly understood that Mr. Black’s curiosity and passion for history extended far beyond such sensational headlines in favor of meticulous, detail-oriented explorations.
“What fascinates me about history is the ability to read an account – a book, an article, a journal entry – and then make a trip to find the exact spot where something happened. To observe a place, know its history, and come to a new understanding beyond what was written on the page.” – Max Black from a 2020 interview.
Mr. Black recalled with particular fondness the work IHT funded restoring the officers’ quarters at Fort Boise, as well as the Canyon Creek Stage Stop near Mountain Home, during which Mr. Black reveled in discovering new details and personal stories to share in his own engaging way. In addition to his personal pursuits, Mr. Black also championed Idaho History throughout his time serving on the Idaho State Legislature, working closely with ISHS to pass legislation which he often carried himself.
Mr. Black was a true steward of Idaho’s history and culture if there ever was one. Though we miss him dearly, his incredible work and generous spirit will be felt for generations to come.