Silver City Schoolhouse

Silver City Schoolhouse (Museum)
Silver City, Owyhee County

  • Grants: Silver City Schoolhouse, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2007; school support, 2001-2003, 2011

Location: Silver City Schoolhouse is located on a shallow bench on the east side of Jordan Creek in the north central portion of the Owyhee Mountains of southwest Idaho approximately 75 miles from Boise.

Silver City, Idaho 83650

The school houses a museum and is open to the public in the summer.

Silver City Mining Town and Schoolhouse, established in 1864, Silver City is an historic mining town in southwest Idaho’s Owyhee Mountains and served as the county seat until 1934. The schoolhouse was built in 1892 and was active in this capacity until Melba became the new county seat and the town’s population steeply declined. The Owyhee Cattle and Horse Growers Association leased the school from the Melba school district in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, running a small museum on the second floor. Over the years, the schoolhouse fell into disrepair and required extensive restoration.
IHT architect Fred Walters provided integral assistance throughout the renovation. In 2005, Tom May donated $100,000 to the Trust in memoriam of his brother, Eric, which IHT then regranted to The Historic Silver City Foundation for use in restoring the schoolhouse. Silver City holds special significance for the May family, as their ancestor, Edward Nugent, moved to Idaho in 1865, was the first judge in Idaho’s 3rd circuit, and along with his wife, Agnes Frost Nugent, raised their family in Silver City. Marty Peterson, a current resident of Silver City and founding member of IHT, helped spearhead the restoration, as well coordinate between the many contributors to this remarkable success.

The Idaho Heritage Trust has been fortunate to be able to help with the Silver City School restoration project. The Historic Silver City Foundation received help from Senator Larry Craig and funds were forthcoming from federal rural programs to get the project off the ground. Trust architect Fred Walters provides the architectural oversight. And in 2005 and 2006, Tom May chose to contribute $100,000 in stock to the Idaho Heritage Trust in memory of his brother Eric May. These funds are re-granted to the Historic Silver City Foundation for work on the Schoolhouse. How appropriate it all seems. Ancestors of Tom and Eric May first came to Ruby City, Idaho in 1865. Edward Nugent became the first judge to serve Idaho’s 3rd Judicial District. He and his wife Agnes Frost Nugent raised their family in Silver City.

Marty Peterson, a homeowner in Silver City, and driving force behind the school’s restoration, is one of the Trust’s founders.
He serves as liaison between the Trust and the other contributors.

But 140 years after Edward and Agnes Nugent arrived in Silver City, much of the town remains as it was when they moved there. The Idaho Hotel, which would have been being moved from Ruby City to Silver City, continues to rent rooms and serve meals. The Nugent house, on the north side of Jordan Creek, sports a new coat of paint. And the Silver City School, which Judge Edward Nugent and his wife Agnes, along with their three children, watched being built, is about to be restored to its original site.

– From the Nugent/May Family History, In Memory of Eric May

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