By Jill Richardson
The Melba Historical Society presented a lecture this month by Betty Swayne Keith, daughter of Dr. Swayne, who gave a presentation about Walter’s Ferry and the Swayne Museum and walking trail located at Walter’s Ferry.
Ms. Swayne Keith spoke of the discovery of gold and silver in the Owyhee’s. Walter’s Ferry crossed the Snake River and was one of the most direct routes between Silver City and Nampa and then from there gold and silver could be taken to the Denver mint. Millions of dollars of minerals were mined from War Eagle Mountain mines near Silver City and transported on the ferry. In 1920 the ferry was replaced with a bridge across the Snake River.
Dr. Swayne later bought the property along the Canyon County side of the river at Walter’s Ferry against his banker’s advice. Around 1940, a group of nature conservators asked to create a nature trail on the property and Cleo Swayne, Dr. Swayne’s wife, added many eclectic items to the trail and museum buildings. Today there are over 100 birdhouses, 50 bronze statues, many life-size, and much more.
Last month, the Melba Historical Society presented a lecture by Ann Tomlinson about Doc Hisom, a legendary loner and homesteader from the early 1900’s near Halverson Lake south of Melba.
The Melba Historical Society will continue to host lectures during the next few months on the second Thursday of the month at 1:15 p.m. at the Melba Valley Senior Center.