My Grandfather, Kay Hansen (Documentary Photo #5555i):
I didn't even know an Idaho governor had been killed. You say it was over an unemployment problem?
was probably the most prominent casualty of labor unrest in Idaho. He
was killed by a bomb blast on December 30, 1905. Thirteen pounds of
dynamite were planted beneath the floorboards of Stirvy's, a Coeur d'Alene
coffee shop where Steunenberg had taken to holding court. A member
of the Western
Federation of Miners (WFM) was arrested for the crime within four
days of the explosion. The WFM was responsible for disturbances
across the state, particularly targeting the small remnant of Chinese
miners who refused to unionize, during 1901.
Steunenberg entered the picture when the WFM initiated a strike through four of northern Idaho's biggest silver mines. Steunenberg called in the Army and held all of the miners in impromptu prison camps for up to six months without arresting them or pressing charges. One of these camps was located on Table Rock. He claimed these men posed a national threat. The press believed him.
As far as I can tell, somebody assassinated the former governor for revenge and revision. Steunenberg's policy throughout the labor trouble was to cast union miners as rebels, enemies of the state. Eventually, WFM leader George Haywood was put on trial. William Borah was the prosecuting attorney. It became a showcase for the labor movement in America and served, to some measure, to reverse the losses labor suffered from Steunenbergs arrests. The WFM attempted to portray anti-labor forces as tyrannical and repressive, invoking rhetoric from the revolution, and the assassination as more an act of war than terrorism.
Haywood was convicted.
Evidence at the site: none.