Salmon-Challis
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  • Custer Motorway

    From Toll Road to Scenic Drive: A History of the Custer Motorway

    As the mining towns of Custer and Bonanza blossomed, miners realized there was a need for a road to be established to connect mining sites in the mountains to the supply town of Challis. Prior to the construction of a toll road, pack animals like mules made the mountainous journey, carrying an assortment of goods and materials. Unfortunately these animals could not transport all of the heavy equipment needed to fully develop the mines and mill along the Yankee Fork River. Alexander Toponce and Co. initiated construction of a toll road in 1879. Upon its completion, oxen- and horse-drawn freight wagons were able to haul heavy machinery and supplies to and from the Yankee Fork area. A wagon with 4 draft animals cost $4.00, and the price for a stagecoach ride from Custer to Challis varied from $8-$11. The 35-mile ride took an average of 8 hours. Tolls were charged until 1889, when the construction of a new road running along the Salmon River and up from the mouth of the Yankee Fork provided a new and easier link to Challis.