"Tourist trap? I think many would disagree with the last line of this plaque." I've sat here for about half an hour and only one car has whizzed on by. Looks like I have plenty of time (with little to distract me!) to think about my next conundrum ... how Contact received its name." -- Journal Entry, May 2008
Original Date Visited: 5/14/08
In the 1870s gold was mined in Contact, and a five-ton smelter, built in Contact, ceased functioning after three test runs. But with a renewal of mining in 1905, Contact was laid out below the older camp in a more favorable location near the Salmon Falls River. Businesses were established including a hotel, several saloons, and a store. The weekly Contact Miner provided a voice beginning in 1913. During WWI a large amount of copper was mined.
The Union Pacific Railroad built the Oregon Short Line which ran nearby in 1926. Mining resumed. In 1928-1930 Contact had a population of 260 people, saloons, a hotel, post office, school, electric power and a water system was brought to camp in anticipation of a large mining expansion. But a depressed copper market shelved the camp's dreams of permanence.
Thereafter Contact was relocated on U.S. 93 and became a tourist stop.
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