The Wagon Days celebration—like just about every celebration in 2020—will have to wait a year. So will our typical Wagon Days special section, which, had COVID-19 not wiped clear the summer, you’d be reading on these pages right now. You can still see the Lewis Ore Wagons. They’ll be up at Festival Meadows along Sun Valley Road just outside downtown Ketchum on Saturday, Sept. 5, in all their heft and stolid glory. Ketchum is encouraging families to explore them, revel in their history, and pack a picnic lunch—the city’s organizing a socially distanced “Wagon Days tailgate” with some live music for those who stop by.

Living on pandemic time, it can seem like very little is moving forward. So, we figured we’d take a look back. This Labor Day, with help from The Community Library’s Jeanne Rodger Lane Center for Regional History and a dive through the Idaho Mountain Express archives, we’re taking a look at the hidden history that made our modern valley.

There’s more to that than will fit here—though I hope this is an instructive snippet. Check the italic editor’s note atop each story to get a sense of my thinking for including them here. And as for Wagon Days? I’ll point you to a left-field clip from an August 1920 edition of the Wood River Times-News-Miner—one in a long line of spiritual predecessors to the 2020 Idaho Mountain Express—that I came across researching this section. The Times-News-Miner, better than most records of the day, understood the appeal of a good quip, a legacy that lives on proudly in Miscellany II today.

“Whenever your affairs have gone to the dogs,” an unnamed author wrote back then, “someone calls off the dogs.” Hear hear—let’s hope so. And here’s to 2021: May the pomp and parades return as quickly as they skipped town.

Until then, we, like the ore wagons, will be hanging around.

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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