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Museum History

A Brief History of the Staff House & Museum

The building housing the museum was built in 1906 as a residence for Stanley Easton; whom was  then General Manager of the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mining & Concentrating Company.

He and his wife resided in the home with their daughters until 1923 when they moved to Coeur d'Alene.

The home was then informally used as a guest house and also a weekday residence for Stanley until it was moved about 300 feet east to its present location.

With the move several modifications were made to the house. It was turned 90 degrees presenting the fireplace toward McKinley Avenue, a room was added above the basement stairs to square off the front off the new front of the building and a new entrance was added along with several Colonial Revival details.  A full basement was also added complete with fireplace a kitchen, bar and pool table.

After the move; the home was more formally used as a boarding house for guests of the company and single male professional staff and office workers whom were new to the area. The basement and first floor living room saw much use for company and public gatherings that included an annual Christmas party for children of company employees, weddings, anniversary celebrations and similar events.

With the closing of the Bunker Hill Company in 1981 the house fell vacant and began to deteriorate. It also lost its source of heat; which had been steam generated at the Smelter.

A group of local citizens formed the Shoshone County Mining & Smelting Museum in 1985 and felt the old Staff House would be an ideal location to house and display artifacts.

They approached the new owners of the Bunker Hill Company and after a trial period proved interest and support; they were given the building for a nominal fee.

Since first opening in the summer of 1986 with only three rooms of exhibits on the first floor; the displays have constantly grown and evolved into more than a dozen separate exhibit areas on three levels plus the open air exterior exhibits.

In 1990 the large Nordberg compressor now at the rear of the building was acquired and relocated to its present location from the former Bunker Mine Power House. By 1992 the sale of hundreds of memorial bricks allowed landscaping to be added around the big machine.

Interior exhibits continue to evolve as new material is added, existing material is rotated and fresh interpretive displays are assembled.

The museum is also home to a significant amount of archival material relating to the Bunker Hill Mine, Smelter and Zinc Plant as well as a large collection of time books from the Mine and Smelter.

The archives are currently being professionally inventoried, cataloged and preserved to be made available for research.

While still in need of work; much progress has been made in restoring the Staff House building. This includes a new roof and replacement of about half of the old windows as well as repairs and fresh paint for the exterior.

Yet another push to complete repairs and upgrades by 2016 is underway at this writing.