The O. E. Kirkpatrick Photograph Collection contains photographs of historic Leesburg, Idaho between 1900 and the 1930s, that depict everyday life from a wedding and social gatherings to portraits of townspeople, including Chinese immigrants. Gold was discovered in Leesburg in July 1866 by five pioneers: F. B. Sharkey, Elijah Mulkey, Joseph Rapp, William Smith and Ward Girton. The resulting gold rush swelled the population of Leesburg to nearly 3,000 residents and 100 businesses. The town was named Leesburg after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as most of the gold-discovering party were from southern states. As of 1934, gold production out of the Leesburg basin was sixteen million dollars (over 200 million dollars in 2015). The collection of photographs belonged to Orion E. Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was a resident of Leesburg for forty years. He owned gold mines and a mill in the Leesburg basin and was heavily involved with the promotion of Lemhi County. His book History of Leesburg Pioneers, written in 1934, connects the photographs in this collection with the history of Leesburg.
This digital collection was created by Matthew Bingman, intern, ISU Department of History, Spring, 2015.