A cluster of old buildings in a mountain cup. The town came into existence in 1886 with a rush of prospectors to the rich Salmon Creek district. Arriving in the spring, the gold-seekers pitched tents; with the coming of colder weather, cabins replaced canvas; timber operations supplemented, and eventually supplanted, mining as the town’s main industry. In 1888 Conconully became the county seat. In 1893 it suffered a disastrous fire; the depression of 1893 caught it off balance; and after 1915 Conconully became a ghost town. At the north end of Main St. is a complex of Civilian Conservation Corps buildings (1937–38) used by the United States Forest Service. The Conconully Museum, at Lottie Ave. and Silver St., is home to more information about the community.
Points of Interest
Tiffany Mountain is named for Will Tiffany, who maintained a camp in a meadow at the foot of its walls. Tiffany, of the same family as the New York jewelers, was one of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and lost his life in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
Conconully Reservoir Dam
The Conconully Reservoir Dam is significant as an early engineering feat in land reclamation and for the expansion of agricultural activities its construction made possible. The first ditches were naturally small, irrigating only a few acres for the raising of corn, potatoes, grain, hay and gardens; but the value of irrigation was demonstrated, and during 1888, these ditches were enlarge and others constructed. After President Roosevelt signed the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, area residents began to urge for a project to aid the development of the potentially productive farming lands. Early attempts were not successful but in 1907, construction began on the present dam. Plans called for an earth filled dam with a core wall of sheet piling; nearby Peacock Mountain was a good source of material and it was decided to build the dam using the hydraulic fill method of construction. This was the first hydraulic fill dam built by the Bureau of Reclamation and there were no standard plans to follow; therefore, the construction plant was designed on the job and was made to produce the best results under the conditions encountered. At one time the construction was considered to be of dubious value because of its high cost but since its completion, the value of crops produced in the area has been over 35 times the original cost of the project.
Conconully Lake State Park
The reservoir was formed by the damming of Salmon Creek in connection with a Federal irrigation project. The crescent-shaped lake is a natural body of water, fed by fresh mountain streams and shadowed by pine-fringed ridges. The water from each source is used for irrigating local farms. The name origin is from the Native American term Con-Con-Ulps, meaning cloudy. Native Americans applied this word to Salmon Creek, but it now is used for a town, lake, and nearby a twelve acre state park.