Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hemingway and Silver Creek

"You’ll love it here, Schatz…There’s a stream called Silver Creek where we shoot ducks from canoe…Saw more big trout rising than have ever seen…Just like English chalk streams…We’ll fish it together next year."--Ernest Hemingway, 1939

Ernest Hemingway wrote the above to his son, Jack, on his first visit to Idaho--a trip that would establish a life-long connection between the Hemingway family in Idaho.

Ernest was in Idaho as a guest of the Sun Valley Company, a new resort attracting publicity through high-profile visitors. Hemingway, in the process of completing For Whom The Bell Tolls, joined Gary Cooper and other celebrities in Idaho.

At the time, Sun Valley Company was as well known for its fishing and hunting opportunities along Silver Creek as for the skiing. Ernest, of course, immediately saw the potential at Silver Creek and knew his sons would love it as well.

He made good on his promise, returning the next year with son Jack. Jack's experience at Silver Creek mirrored that of many anglers: Trout--big trout--rose everywhere. He felt like had landed in paradise. He cast and cast. And cast. And got skunked. But he vowed to figure out the stream, an aspiration that eventually led him to move to Idaho. Over the years, the Hemingways frequented Silver Creek and the nearby ranch owned by Bud Purdy, enjoying both the hunting and fishing in the valley. In fact, many famous Life magazine photographs were taken at landmarks around Silver Creek.

When Silver Creek Preserve came up for sale, Jack Hemingway convinced The Nature Conservancy to purchase the property.

Eventually, Mary Hemingway--Ernest's widow--bequeathed his last home in Ketchum to The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy remains committed to the Hemingway legacy at Silver Creek and the Hemingway House. Visit the links below to learn more.

Ernest Hemingway Symposium 2009 - Sun Valley

Hemingway's Last Home and the Conservancy - Learn why the Conservancy owns the Hemingway House and how we are protecting the cultural and historical features of the home.

Hemingway Memorial at Silver Creek - Reflect on the Hemingway family's connection to Silver Creek at this memorial on the preserve.

Photos: Ernest Hemingway and friends on a hunting trip at Silver Creek (TNC archive); Hemingway Memorial at Silver Creek Preserve (Sara Sheehy); Hemingway House in Ketchum (William H. Mullins).

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