The Lewis Ore Wagons
Horace Lewis began the "Ketchum Fast Freight Line" soon after the town was founded on August 2, 1880.
The first load of ore was carried from the Elkhorn mine to the railroad at Kelton, Utah. These monstrous wagons
with six-foot wheels known as "The Big Hitch" made the round trip in about two weeks, returning to Ketchum
with merchandise and freight for local businesses. In 1884, when the Oregon Shortline Railroad reached Ketchum,
the wagons distributed freight to mines and returned with ore to the Philadelphia smelter. They carried as much as
18,000 pounds of ore and covered 12 to 14 miles per day. By 1902, when rail service to Mackay and Challis was
inaugurated, the need for these giant wagons diminished. Today the appearance of the wagons in Ketchum's annual
Wagon Days Parade are reminders of the vital roles they played during the area's early days.
The Bonning Cabin located adjacent to the Ore Wagon Museum was built in 1882. For years it served as a
bunkhouse for the ore wagon freight crews. The one-room log cabin was built out of hand-squared logs hewn with
a broad axe. The orginal roof was covered with clay. Today it remians one of the town's oldest buildings.
This plaque was jointly dedicated on September 16, 2006
by The Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society
The City of Ketchum
The Lewis and Clark Outpost No. 1805 of
Chief Truckee Chapter No. 3691, E Clampus Vitus
The Stone Monument for this plaque was donated by Whtehead Landscaping and Snow Removal