About Yellow Pine
ABOUT YELLOW PINE
The tiny village of Yellow Pine is an unincorporated community in Valley County, central Idaho. In the past decade, its winter population has fluctuated from the low 20s to the low 40s.
Today, Yellow Pine remains active year-round. Yellow Pine and the surrounding mountains and rivers are also long-time draws to ATVers, UTVers, hikers, kayakers, hunters, fishers, snowmobilers, and other backcountry enthusiasts.
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YELLOW PINE EVENTS
Yellow Pine was a small settlement that was established just after the Thunder Mountain gold rush. It was a simple stopping place for miners on their way to and from the gold fields. It was originally called Yellow Pine Basin.
The first settlers were Albert Behne (pronounced Bee-nee), founder of Yellow Pine, and Theodore Van Meter. Behne had big dreams for the area, including an opera house. Van Meter provided “old hen” (a mixed brew of raisins and other fruits) for visiting miners. Behne established the first post office. Henry Abstein joined the community about 1904 on a homestead just north of the “town”. Homer Levander had the first (and still only) store in Yellow Pine. The first school in Yellow Pine was built by Fred Franz next to the store. 1920 saw the opening of the school with 8 children attending, taught by Mrs. Smith. Behne has the Townsite platted by 1924 – the beginning of his dream mountain metropolis.
Yellow Pine’s history is closely tied with mining in the area. Several small mining companies worked the area. The Bradley Mining Company came to the area (Stibnite) during the depression years and stayed beyond WWII. The Tungsten and Antimony mined here were significant for the nation. From the 1970’s through the 1990’s, subsequent mining companies moved in and out. With each new mining effort, Yellow Pine boomed. When the last mining company left in 1996, Yellow Pine’s economic base changed.
Idaho Governor Andrus made a challenge for the state centennial, for towns in Idaho to develop a celebration of statehood. Yellow Pine took on the challenge by creating the Harmonica Contest. It was held the first weekend in August 1990. This gathering helped Yellow Pine move to a recreation-based economy. While the statehood celebration only needed to be held once, the business owners and residents decided to continue the festival each year. Since 1990, the festival has only missed one year (2020) and that was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the decades the Harmonica Contest has evolved and grown into the Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica Festival. People and musicians come from all across the country (and even other countries) to make music, friends, and fun.
History of Yellow Pine
Yellow Pine area history is a fascinating view into the experience of turn-of-the-20th century pioneers who were drawn to the remote mountains of the American West.
The story of this area is largely one of tough sourdough prospectors, a few families, fewer businesses, the Forest Service, those drawn by opportunities for outdoor recreation, and, in the era of World War II, the prosperous company town of Stibnite.
Yellow Pine Times
The Yellow Pine Times is a not-for-profit newsletter that has been serving the folks that love the Yellow Pine area since January 8, 2000. The Yellow Pine Times is posted weekly on Sundays (unless we are having a power outage or an internet outage.)