McCall was named for Tom McCall, a prominent town leader who arrived in 1891 to homestead. In contrast to the Finnish community at Roseberry, McCall was a rough and unruly place. It was notorious for its lakeside whorehouses, dance halls and gambling establishments. Harrah’s Casino even had a presence in McCall for a time. The bars were rowdy, loud, and filled with miners and loggers. Firearms were the norm and were not actually outlawed from local bars until the early 1980’s
In the beginning, McCall’s chief industries were mining and timber. The town sprung up on the shores of Payette Lake as mining and logging grew. There was even a steamboat, Lyda, which sped up the logging process and made McCall a great place for logging and mining companies. The Brown Tie and Lumber Company was at one time the largest employer in the area. Mining and timber remain a treasured part of McCall’s heritage although it is no longer the major economic support.
In its early years, the citizens of McCall created ways to liven up the long winters. Many of these traditions are still honored today. In 1924 local resident and Olympic ski champion Cory Engen, together with a group of volunteers, founded Winter Carnival. They created ice sculptures and organized dog sled races. McCall continues to host Winter Carnival annually and people come from all over the world to admire the beautiful ice sculptures and enjoy McCall.
Natural Hot Springs
Idaho is host to numerous non-sulfurous delightful hot, natural springs. There are three commercial hot springs within a 30 mile radius of McCall and all are open year-round.
Burgdorf is both a hot springs and ghost town. The remains of cabins and an old hotel can be seen in a meadow on private land surrounded by the Payette National Forest. Burgdorf is accessible in winter only by snowmobile. They have a large 75×50, 5 feet deep natural hot spring pool complete with sandy bottom and log sides. There is also a child’s pool that is slightly cooler and only 2 feet deep. If you’re really adventurous try the “Hot Box” where mineral water exits the earth at a sweltering 113 degrees. Burgdorf is 25 miles north of McCall.
Gold Fork Hot Spring is located approximately 15 miles south of McCall and 6 miles east of Hwy 55 on Plant Rd. Gold Fork offers three beautiful pools surrounded by wooden decks, waterfalls and natural landscaping amongst rocks and trees and accented by romantic lighting.
Zims Hot Spring is located 12 miles northwest of McCall. Zims has a large commercial pool with a basketball hoop, a smaller soaking pool, recreation room with pool table, video games and snacks