Frank Mortimer

Frank Mortimer

Death 10 Feb 1957 (aged 82–83)
Napa, Napa County, California, USA
Burial Weiser, Washington County, Idaho, USA
Memorial ID 140226445 · View Source
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Frank Mortimer Rites Conducted

The ashes of Frank Mortimer, carnival performer, business man and Weiser area mining promoter, were interred at Hillcrest cemetery Tuesday with the Rev. Louis Albrecht officiating. Mr. Mortimer, 83, died February 10 at Napa, Calif.

Mayor Frank Gwilliam gave the eulogy. He said there'll always be a Mortimer's Island and Iron Mountain and these places will keep Mr. Mortimer fresh in the memories of those who knew him. He paid high tribute to Mortimer's work for the community.

Mr. Mortimer was a resident of Weiser for more than 50 years. He operated the Weiser Newsstand and Oregon Trail Park for many years. During the past 15 years he devoted most of his time to operating the Iron Mountain mine on Adams creek.

His home for a number of years had been at Vendome Hotel. He was visiting his sister, Mrs. Carrie Roundtree, at Yountville, Calif., when stricken. Mrs. Roundtree Informed Mrs. George Merritt, owner of Vendome, of his passing and asked her to make arrangements for the services here.

Juggler in Carnival

Mr. Mortimer had a colorful life. Before coming to Weiser about 1905, he was a juggler in a carnival which disbanded here. Mortimer stayed here and for a few years, he worked as clerk and bartender. About 1910 he purchased the Weiser Newsstand which he operated continuously until May, 1940, when he sold it to Gene Hetrick, present owner.

Hetrick said that Mortimer was a professional baseball player for a Chicago team, and later star performer at a circus that toured Old Mexico. When 17, he worked for a Chicago publishing firm and devised a shipping room system which is still in use.

Established O. T. Park

In 1919, Mortimer established Oregon Trail park on the island opposite the Union Pacific depot in Weiser, which was the only entertainment park in south-western-Idaho. Crowds up to 10,000 were attracted there during Fourth of July celebrations and other special occasions. Special trains were scheduled for these events from Boise.

Mortimer installed the largest merry-go-round in the northwest in the park. The park operated successfully until 1930 when a combination of the depression and talking pictures forced it to close. Lyle Wood checked the city records which showed that the first water deposit for the park was paid on April 1, 1910. At special occasions Mortimer would wear tights and present his juggling acts.

Interested in Mining

Mortimer was interested in mining possibilities of the region for many years. Following the death of his wife, he spent his spare time studying geology and mining of the area, according to John Flynn, he started working the Iron Mountain Mining company deposit on Adams creek in 1937, Flynn worked for him at the mine that year. He became associated with George Petrashek and Henry Randell in operation of the mine. Mortimer spent from early spring until late fall at the mine where many feet of tunnels were drilled.

Mortimer purchased the claims of John Seigwein in 1936, said Flynn. Mortimer had much faith in the deposit and claimed that there was strong show of radioactive material as well as lead, silver and copper.

Mortimer was working alone at the mine last summer when he suffered a fall which kept him in bed for many weeks. He leased the claims last fall to E. L. Jones and associates. He was able to get up and around the last few weeks before leaving Weiser for his annual winter visit with his sister.

Survivors in addition to his sister include two cousins at Boulder City, Colo., and Mrs. Alberts C. Graves of Sonoma, Calif.

The Weiser Signal, Thursday, March 28, 1957 page 1 & 8

After Frank Mortimer‘s arrival in Weiser, he was the featured entertainment in Cambridge, Weiser and at the Columbia Theatre in Boise.

Young Frank was said to have been “a lightning, ball, knife, and battle ax juggler.” He was, purportedly, one of the best in the entertainment business, entertaining large crowds at his park, as well as other cities in the valley. “He gives a straight act of rapid and smooth manipulation with no sparring for time.”

After much hard work and a few heart and head aches, after much planning, planting, constructing and maneuvering, Frank Mortimer’s dream came true. On Friday, May 29, 1916, the Oregon Trail Park opened with exciting fanfare. The City Band, out of commission for a year, marched in a parade from downtown to the island, much to Mr. Mortimer’s surprise.

Even though it was cold and windy, the crowd was large. After an hour-long band concert, the cover was pulled off the Wurlitzer at the Airdome and dancing continued past midnight. Dancers took breaks to enjoy the refreshment pavilion, provided by concessionaire C. Matt Sears.

Revelers would return many times to more entertainment and hours of enjoyment at what we now fondly call “Mortimer’s Island.”

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  • Created by: R.I.P.
  • Added: 19 Dec 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 140226445
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Mortimer (1874–10 Feb 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 140226445, citing Hillcrest Cemetery, Weiser, Washington County, Idaho, USA ; Maintained by R.I.P. (contributor 47339884) .