A few obstinate miners hung on, but Roosevelt was all but a ghost town in the spring of 1909 when “disaster” struck. It was the slow-moving kind of disaster that occurred without human casualty. A landslide three miles long and 200 feet high plugged Monumental Creek, backing up water and flooding the town. It took a couple of days for the slide to happen, so getting out of its way wasn’t much of a feat. The valley filled in slowly, causing most of the buildings in the town to float.
Mining may have contributed to the slide, but the area was prone to such events and heavy rains were probably the main cause.
There was a bright side to the slide. That mud, moved free of charge by the forces of nature, made some areas easier to mine.
For years the remains of the town bobbed around in Roosevelt Lake. Nowadays you may find a few boards here and there along the shoreline, a reminder of a slow-moving disaster.
The photo of floating buildings on Roosevelt Lake is from the Idaho State Historical Society photo digital collection. It was taken sometime after 1909.