There are Stanley Basin, Lower Stanley, Upper Stanley, Stanley Lake, Stanley Creek, and undoubtedly other Stanleys as well. All are named for Capt. John Stanley who led the expedition which discovered gold in the area in 1863.
There is a common misconception that I was named after this area as well. My parents denied it. Then they never gave me a decent explanation of where my name came from so who knows.
As I stated there are actually two towns named Stanley, a mile apart. However they are lumped together. Each used to have its own entrance sign but now there is only one.
63? Are they really that small. Well it depends. Jeff explained that the census is taken in April. Like I said, the winters are very hard here so few people stay all year around. When thing thaw out the population booms to maybe 400-500 for both towns. That number may well be high since most people live outside the towns. There are a lot of part-timers here. No matter how you view it, the towns are small-and the area is virtually unspoiled.
The larger town is Upper Stanley (ie,upstream). It actually has a few streets off the highway, unlike Lower Stanley which is just building along Highway 75. That being said, here is a picture of Upper Stanley’s main street, which is three blocks long.
Not pictured is the post office. It is in Upper Stanley which finally won out. You see, in the old day ( 20s. 30s ?) the two towns fought over which one got the one and only post office. It would sit in one town until the men from the other town took their flat-bed truck over, jacked up the post office, put in on their truck an took it to their town. There it would sit until the men from the first town took their flat-bed truck and reclaimed it.This went on for years but unfortunately I do not know how it ended.
Another famous local tradition was the Stanley Stomp. Rumor has it (OK, it was my brother Glenn) that in the old days there would be a dance in a local community hall on Saturday nights to which people came from hundreds of miles around to attend. Everyone would get drunk and have a hooting and hollering good time. Fights would break out and the local constable would figure out which side was losing and fight for them (Glenn, not even I believe this last part). However, by the time I was old enough to attend, things had changed. A refugee from the Southern California music scene named Casanova Jack had bought the Rod and Gun Club in town and the Stanley Stomp occurred there on Saturday nights. Cassanova Jack did a passable Elvis imitation and always managed to scrounge up some people to play with him. Rich folks from Sun Valley came up-I saw Tennessee Ernie Ford sing a few songs one night. A friend told me about sitting on the sidewalk drunk when Bert Reynolds sat down alongside him. I saw very few fights but a lot of drinking, dancing and people having an old fashioned country good time. Eventually Casanova Jack drank himself to death and his brother John took over the Rod and Gun Club. I was long gone by them. When I came back I found that the Stanley Stomp as I knew it was dead. Now they have a street dance twice a year and call it the Stanley Stomp. A pale alternative. Even the Rod and Gun Club sign has been whimped down-see below.
However, we were just in there on a Saturday night and the place has hopping-if you were 25. Oh, well.
Upper Stanley sits at the corner of Highway 21 ( from Boise) and Highway 75 (from Sun Valley). Years ago, Bill Harrah built a small motel, restaurant and shops complex on that corner. About a quarter mile behind those buildings they put in a hot tub building on Valley Creek which flows into the Salmon just a bit down stream. The hot tub is fed by a natural hot spring. There are actually hot springs all over central Idaho. Check out the view from this one which is in the building on the left in the photo.
Leaving Stanley tomorrow, but have one more post from here. Jeff guided us up an old mining road to a ridge about 10,000 ft elevation. Amazing trip.