In 1896 at a place called Wardner Junction a restaurant owner, Mrs. Hutton, was in the right place at the right time, almost like winning the lottery today.
Mrs. Hutton met a man who went broke and wanted to sell his mining claim. She bought a 1/6 share in the claim for $500, a lot of money in 1896. She and her new partners picked blueberries on the mining claim to buy tools for mining and digging a tunnel. It took five years to dig the tunnel 1600 feet into the mountain and find rich ore. This was the richest silver ore in the Coeur d’Alenes , it was 30% solid silver. The Hutton’s received $750 that year as their share. Soon it was half a million.
This is a true rags to riches story. Mrs. Hutton had been raised poor near Youngstown, Ohio and had heard the stories of fabulous gold discoveries in the Coeur d’Alenes. In 1883 she bought a ticket on the Northern Pacific Railroad and came west at the age of 24. She was lively, intelligent and a good cook and by 1885 she owned a restaurant, , a cow, and a stove, she was determined to be rich in life somehow, now her dreams had come true.
In 1890 Mr. Hutton was able to start his own bank, the Scandinavian Bank of Spokane. Mrs. Hutton spent money on everything from limos to a mansion, she bought everything she dreamed of when she was a poor girl. She gave a lot of her wealth for the blessing of others, organizing and supporting many charities and worthwhile causes including the women’s right to vote.
She became a well known figure in Washington’s history. A tip of the hat to a truly remarkable lady!