Boise, The Capital City
The following descriptive article is an excerpt from the souvenir edition of the Boise Sentinel, issued in June 1897:
So much has been said and written and sung of “Boise, the Beautiful,” that the task of saying any-thing new seems utterly hopeless; and of this there is little need. While those who have made their homes here from the beginning, and those who from year to year have come to stay, might naturally be expected to be most fervent in their praises, they have not always been the happiest in laying appropriate tributes before the shrine of the object of their love and admiration. Strangers and transient visitors have often been more fortunate in their offerings.
Perhaps the first question that arises in the mind of a stranger in regard to this locality is why was it so named. After more than a third of a century has passed since the first human habitation was erected on the present site of the town, and after the story has been so often repeated in print, the inquiry continues to be daily made. Why Boise? Briefly, this is what the ancient chroniclers tell of the origin of the name: In the summer of 1834 a party of French Canadian voyagers, belonging to the expedition of Captain Bonneville (whose explorations and adventures were afterward immortalized by the pen of Washington Irving), in traveling across the treeless and arid Snake river plains, reached the edge of a plateau overlooking a beautiful valley, which, extending westward beyond the limits of their vision, seemed to present a continuous forest belt of trees in full foliage. Of trees, these travelers had seen but very little for several days while journeying among the vast fields of sage-brush, the essential elements of whose growth is the entire absence of water and shade; when their eyes at length fell upon the valley, and they caught glimpses of the crystal stream that wended its serpentine way westward among the groves of cottonwood trees that kept it company, they exclaimed, “Les bois! les bois! voyez les bois!” (The woods! the woods! see the woods!) Here for them were woods, real forests. With the facility with which a French-man brings his language into practical use, these Canadian explorers soon affixed a name to their latest discovery, and called the river, whose presence was so welcome to them. La riviere Boise (pronounced bwoizay), that is, “the wooded.” To reach this spot they had followed an old Indian trail, which was subsequently followed by explorers down to the advent of the first immigrants with their wagons, the immigrants having adopted the marks which their predecessors had made as their guide across the otherwise trackless desert.
During the month of August, 1843, nearly ten years after the valley had been named, Fremont reached it at the same point, opposite the present site of the city of Boise, and the cool, crystal waters of the stream and the grateful shade of the groves that adorned its banks drew from him a description of the scene, which has often been quoted and admired by many who have not yet even seen Idaho. Such are the circumstances that attended the naming of the river, the valley and of the spot now occupied by the fair city of Boise.
Situated in the upper section of the valley of the Boise river, on the right and northern bank of the stream and within ten miles of the point where the mountains close in upon the stream, Boise presents a picture of quiet beauty and a scene inspiring a sense of peaceful repose and activity that has never failed to charm and delight every one who has seen it. Idaho is adorned with many lovely valleys and charming localities, possessing many natural advantages and presenting many natural attractions; but nowhere else within her borders is there a spot so securely sheltered from the rude blasts of winter, nowhere else are the winters so mild, the clime the year round so health-giving, and the fierce cold of winter so sweetly tempered and adapted to the health and comfort of its inhabitants; nowhere else are there sources of cold and hot water close at hand and easily available for all the purposes to which hot and cold water can be applied, even to the heating of public buildings and private dwellings; nowhere else have the elements of progress and growth shown themselves so healthful and so persistently active.
In 1863 the outposts of civilization, as they extended themselves eastward from the Pacific coast settlements, reached the valley of the Boise. The discovery of gold in the section of the mountain known as the Boise basin, and the presence of discontented savages led to the establishment of the present Fort Boise, or as it is now called, Boise Barracks, which is situated on a beautiful and elevated site, commanding a fine view of the town and surrounding country. Among other good reasons, doubtless this site for the military post was selected largely because of the marvelous beauty of the landscape here presented to view. Looking south-ward from the narrow plateau upon which the officers’ quarters at the barracks are situated, the eye wanders over the great Snake river sage plains to the magnificent range known as the Owyhee mountains, which close the view in that direction. To the right from the point of observation, the view embraces the western course of the Boise river and of the valley, with its bright and verdant stretches of meadows, farms, orchards and forests of shade trees, while to the left and eastward the view is more abruptly closed by the neighboring mountain masses of the Boise river range. The military post, then called Fort Boise, was located and established on the 5th day of July, 1863, by Major P. Lugenbeel, and was the immediate cause of the location of the town, which event took place on the 7th. The area surveyed and staked out was covered with a dense growth of sagebrush. Then commenced the era of town building. The buildings first erected were of the crudest and most primitive construction, being in some cases mere brush shanties. The number of inhabitants living with promise of becoming permanent residents was very small indeed. The greater number whose presence graced the scene were transient visitors on their way to and from the gold fields. Many are the claimants, some of them yet living here, to the honor of having been first on the spot.
As time went on the number of houses and inhabitants increased and the incipient city soon began to feel the vivifying influence of the golden stream which began to trickle down from the rich placer fields in the “basin.” The first parcel of gold dust from the new mines was bought by Cyrus Jacobs, who is still here. Mr. Jacobs had brought a stock of goods here, which were opened and offered for sale by H. C. Rigg and James Mullaney, acting for C. Jacobs & Company. About a week afterwards H. C. Riggs and James Agnew commenced building on the northeast corner of Main and Seventh streets, the location then and many years afterward known as Riggs’ corner. This pioneer adobe building was destroyed by fire in 1879 and was replaced by the brick building now occupied by the clothing store of M. Alexander. The first justice of the peace was a Dr. Holton, who had his office in a log cabin on the site now occupied by the Over-land Hotel. The first school was taught by F. B. Smith, in the winter of 1863-4, at the corner of Idaho and Seventh streets, opposite the site of the old Central Hotel. The first paper published was the Idaho Statesman, first issue being Tuesday morning, July 26, 1864; office in a log cabin one door west of the present location. The Statesman is with us yet, and has never missed an issue since that first bright July morning. The first hotel was kept by Burns & Nordicke, on the northwest corner of Main and Seventh streets, the building now occupied by Joe Kinney. Two or three weeks after the opening of the first store by C. Jacobs, a second stock was opened by Dafelle & Moore. The first contractors were May & Brown. Thompson & McClelland established a ferry here across the Boise river, a short distance below the present Ninth Street Bridge, in the spring of 1864. The removal of the capital of the young territory from Lewiston to Boise, December 10, 1864. gave a fresh impetus to the growth of the town. The columns of the local papers, during the earlier years of the town’s existence, were filled with thrilling stories of the dangers bravely met and of the hardships patiently endured by the first settlers, who had deter-mined to build here a city, which has been justly and aptly called the “Damascus of the Plains.” For a long series of years prior to the advent of railroads, the principal and best means of communication across the country between the Missouri river and the shores of the Pacific, as well as that connecting important points in the interior, was furnished by stage coaches, the main line of this means of travel passing through Boise, from which point as a center radiated the shorter lines, reaching the outlying towns and mining camps. Apart from the loss of time and the hardships incident to this mode of transit and travel, there was the frequent danger to life from the lurking and blood-thirsty savages. Even as late as 1866 we have verified accounts of all communication being cut off from the outside world by interruptions suffered at the hands of the Indians, while all around and near their homes the pioneers were battling with the treacherous foe. who threatened them with destruction. These greater dangers and obstacles to business, to travel and to tranquil, happy home life being at length overcome and removed, there came another long series of years of “hope deferred,” during which one promised scheme after another failed to bring what was so much desired and needed, a better means of communication, until a partial fulfillment and realization was reached by the advent of railroads into what was yet the territory of Idaho. During all these pioneer years, Boise was the center of trade, of travel, and of every important interest in the territory. Here were held, as now, the sessions of the legislature and of the supreme court, and here was gathered the great library of almost universal legal scope, accessible at all times to the members of the bar, and also to all the people having occasion to visit and consult it. Here the medical profession, augmented by the military surgeons, has had its largest representation of educated and skilled men. Here popular education has had its inspiration and impulse in the public schools, which have always been in the advance line. In the establishment of the United States assay office, Boise was made largely the center of intelligent mining, as its banks were and are still the center of financial exchanges. The fraternal, patriotic and religious bodies have ever made their headquarters here, because the hospitality and generosity of Boise have been equal to every opportunity and demand. It will be easily under-stood why for so many years of her existence Boise was comparatively unknown. Shi was only the capital and chief city of an isolated northwestern territory; only one of the many similar objects found in this vast inter-mountain territory. True, the locality always had its power to charm the minds and senses of visitors by its many attractive natural features and commended itself to the judgment of all by its many superior natural advantages. With the progress of settlement, irrigation brought the “magic touch of water” to the apparently sterile but really fertile and productive soil, and soon transformed what was always a scene of natural beauty into a veritable “garden of the gods.”
The growth of the city has been a steady, healthy growth from the beginning, with no boom spurts to accelerate it, because none were needed. The city grew by its own inherent advantages of location, climate and soil, and by the energy and enterprise of its inhabitants.
After a long period of isolation and obscurity, Boise has emerged into the light of day and has worked out a place for herself where her many attractions and advantages are seen and recognized. By the provisions of the state constitution, adopted in 1890, the capital of the state was permanently fixed here for the period of twenty years. At the close of this period we shall have reached the end of the first decade in the twentieth century. Then the beautiful capital city of Idaho will be in full possession and enjoyment of all her native and acquired resources and advantages, ready to work out her glorious destiny under her own sunny skies and with the natural means with which she is so highly favored.
In the meantime, Boise will be busy getting ready for the dawn of the more glorious era. She will be developing and bringing into full use all her many natural powers of progress and prosperity. She has an intelligent and enterprising people who will make the most of all the means and advantages which nature has placed in their hands. Very soon every dwelling may be lighted and heated from the great urns and reservoirs which nature has provided. As the city grows, the supply of natural hot water can be indefinitely increased, until coal and wood will be rarely used for fuel. Those who wish for perfect security and exemption from fierce winds and rude winter storms will find in the upper Boise valley the most completely sheltered locality on the continent.
But, conceding all that the ardent lovers of Boise claim for her, and all that she is so justly entitled to claim for herself, in point of geographical position, political importance, climate, soil, tree and flower growth and picturesque beauty of surroundings, still there is the important and vital question ever con-fronting us: What is there here to justify a population, already numbering eight thousand and daily increasing, in hoping to find the means of a happy and prosperous existence? The past is secure and quite creditable to us. The present is what we see it to be. What of the future? One of the bright daydreams of the inhabitants of Boise has been that the time would soon come when we should have local manufactures. Here, as elsewhere, by far the larger percentage of the population are wage-earners. We can see no reason why our dreams and our wishes in this particular should not be soon realized. All the fruits grown in the temperate zone grow here in the richest profusion. The valley of the Boise is the true home of all the fruits, large and small, and especially so of the prune, one of the most popular fruits known, and one for which the demand is constantly increasing. We cannot believe that the day is far distant when we shall have canning establishments here, where the great abundance of our surplus fruits can be prepared for a market that can never be over-supplied. The area of mining discovery and development is continually broadening and extending itself northwardly toward the Arctic zone, and as the area becomes larger, the means of transportation are extended to meet and supply the wants of the delvers for the precious metals. Very soon every product of this beautiful and fertile valley that can be prepared for market here, where every facility for manufacturing exists, will meet with ready transit and quick and profitable sale. An era of manufacturing once set in; there are no limits to the possibilities in this direction. The soil and climate here are admirably adapted to the cultivation of the sugar beet, which is destined soon to “beat” the sugar trust to death with its saccharine club. Boise cannot hope to have a monopoly of the market for homemade sugar; nor will she need it; but she can supply her own market, and the surplus will always find a ready demand.
Other points, far less favored every way, have woolen manufactories, which have succeeded beyond the most sanguine hopes and expectations of the enterprising men who inaugurated them under trying and unpromising beginnings. It requires no gift of prophecy to see that we must soon have woolen manufactories. We have long had the very stupid habit of exporting hides, to be transported to distant establishments to be there manufactured into leather, shoes and harness, to be then returned to us, we paying every cost and charge, even to the rent, taxes, cost of living and the profits of our local merchants, who kindly give us back our hides transformed into the various articles which we might have made ourselves. It is time that this folly should cease. The local tannery and local shoe and harness factory must soon be made to add their forces to the many possibilities soon to be realized.
In spite of past mistakes, Boise is destined to be a railroad center, just as it was the center of travel and transportation by stages and freight wagons in the early days. It is the natural center and radiating point for Idaho, and natural causes must produce their natural results in due time. Of Boise as a mining center and of the mining districts immediately tributary to her, it is impossible now to write so as to do them justice. The theme is too prolific. These resources are known and appreciated, and the possibilities to grow out of them are already being enjoyed. Boise has all the elements and all the natural resources and attractive features requisite to make her the queen of this intermountain region. Her people have faith, hope and courage and they have fully proved that they know how to labor and wait for the good time that is surely coming.
The early history of the Boise schools is difficult to obtain, as no records can be found. The oldest settlers say that about the first free school was taught in the small brick building now standing on the corner of Eighth and Washington streets. It was here, in l88s, that John W. Daniels was called from the far east to collect the educational forces of the community, then consisting of four ungraded schools, into a graded system. One at this age cannot understand how the crude material and possibly the cruder public opinion were molded into a unity of thought and action that in 1881 erected the Central school building and established the strong system of schools that ever since has given education to our children and great satisfaction to our citizens. The legislature at this time gave Boise the independent school district under whose control the people still work.
The ground, consisting of a whole block, upon which the Central building stands was donated for public buildings. The building of such a structure was a heroic deed. When we remember that the nearest railroad station was Kelton, Utah, and that nearly all the manufactured goods had to be freighted the two hundred and fifty miles, at a cost of from five to ten dollars per hundred, the enormity of the enterprise is apparent. When completed, the building and furniture cost fifty thousand dollars. There are, in it, sixteen school rooms and an office, and the whole number of pupils accommodated is about eight hundred, ninety-three of them being in the high school (1897). The heat is furnished from the natural hot water. Many thought it folly to erect such an immense structure when only a small portion of it was utilized, but the increase in population was so great that the Whittier school, corner of Fort and Twelfth streets, was built in 1894. This consists of four large rooms, airy and well furnished. The cost of the buildings and grounds was eight thousand six hundred dollars. The unprecedented growth of the city soon filled these buildings to overflowing. In the summer of 1896 the Lincoln school, on Idaho and Fourth streets, was erected, at a cost of fourteen thousand five hundred dollars. The large halls, the six elegant rooms and the basement are models of architectural skill. No pains were spared to make this the most attractive and the best arranged schoolhouse in the city.
The Wesleyan Hospital and Deaconess Home, though comparatively new in Boise and Idaho, having been established in 1896, has mounted rapidly into popularity and influence by dint of merit and substantial worth until it is recognized as one of the best in the state. It is located on Ninth and Eastman streets, in Hyde Park addition to Boise, where patients can have a quiet place, fresh air and plenty of sunlight. The rooms are tastefully furnished, well ventilated and kept scrupulously clean and tidy. The medical staff is composed of only competent and thoroughly qualified physicians who have had years of experience in all kinds of medical and surgical cases. Surgical operations of every character are performed at this institution, where the most successful and approved means are employed for the correction of deformities and the restoration of health to all those who are afflicted. Patients are left absolutely free to select any physician they may desire.
S. M. Coffin, secretary of the Boise Chamber of Commerce, in the Idaho Statesman of May 27, 1899, thus describes in a “nutshell” the present prosperous and stable condition of the capital city of the Gem of the Mountains state:
This city may well be proud of its citizens and commercial solidity of its banks and business houses.
The First National Bank of Idaho was the second national bank organized on the Pacific coast and has since 1867 opened its doors to its depositors with unwavering integrity. There are three thousand six hundred and sixty-five national banks in the United States; the number of this bank is 1668. The Boise City National bank obtained its charter in 1886 and is a United States depository. The deposits of both banks aggregate over one million dollars. There are stockholders in both banks who are worth, in cold cash, more than the banks. The Capital State Bank’ was born in 1891 and is a solid, reliable institution.
The bankers of Boise are high-class, honorable gentlemen and bankers in the truest interpretation of the word, which is of vital importance to the public, whose commercial blood flows through the arteries of these institutions. And the business men of Boise are prosperous, shrewd and solvent, always ready to protect their customers and maintain the high standard of business ethics that insures commercial stability.
Boise is justified in a feeling of security in its educational institutions, which are second to none on the coast, especially in the public schools, which are a high standard of perfection. The Episcopal and Catholic schools, are high-class and of a good standard of discipline and management.
The churches of all denominations are ably pastored and have large and intelligent congregations, and all of the secret orders have cozy homes and good memberships.
Boise has the finest natatorium in the United States, being supplied with natural hot water. Boise is the only city in the United States whose dwellings and business blocks are heated by nature in the shape of hot water from artesian wells.
Boise has a United States assay office, military post, signal service, electric lights, telephones, electric rail-roads and paved streets.
The sanitary conditions of the city are good. The municipal government from Mayor Alexander to Chief of Police Francis are the right men in the right places.
Boise has a population of ten thousand, is a city of commercial solidity, beautiful homes, and refined, cultured, Christian people who believe in their city, their state, and their flag.
Boise has for its environments a vast and rapidly developing mining country whose minerals consist of gold, silver, copper, iron and lead, an agricultural and horticultural country of such magnitude that it must be seen to be understood; it is the home of the prune, pear and apple; sweet flowers and sturdy people grow on these broad acres. Irrigation companies are reclaiming thousands of acres from their native aridity and irrigation is king. Boise is the natural and actual railroad, mining, agricultural and commercial center in southern Idaho.
The early history of this point is nearly all given in the general history of Idaho on other pages of this volume, under the various heads of discovery, early mining, the history of the Indians, including the various wars with them, and the political government of the territory, as this town was for a time the capital of the common-wealth.
Lewiston is situated in the fork made by the Snake and Clearwater rivers, at an average elevation of only six hundred and twenty-five feet above the sea level, and hence has the best climate of all localities in this part of the United States. During the severe winters in the mountains the early miners came out to this place and enjoyed the climate as well as they would that of California in the winter time, indeed much better than they would that of the Sacramento valley and many other highly praised localities in the Golden state. It has been estimated that as many as twenty thousand persons were in the mines in this vicinity during the early ’605, the winter population of Lewiston running from ten to twelve thousand people. These men would touch nothing for less than ten dollars a day, some “earnings” running up to thousands of dollars a day!
The cause of the delightful character of the climate here during the colder portion of the year is seen in the fact that a river of warm air flows through this valley from the heated table-lands of Arizona, the Colorado valley and the dry valleys of northern Mexico; and possibly also the warmth of the earth itself, as indicated by the numerous hot springs of this and adjoining states, has a perceptible effect upon the super-incumbent atmosphere. Another fact is, the air here is dry, enabling any one to endure a far greater degree of heat or cold than in moist air. The average rainfall here per annum is about one foot.
It was during the early mining period, namely 1863, that the territory of Idaho was organized, with the capital at Lewiston. Accordingly the first legislature met here on the l0th of December, that year, attended by representatives from very distant points, now in Montana, Wyoming, etc. About this time the gold which was easily picked up began rapidly to disappear and the miners naturally ran to other points from which they chanced to hear extraordinary reports, the transient population drifting southward to the Owyhee country and the Boise Basin. This stampede proved to be sufficiently permanent to force the capital away from Lewiston to Boise City the very next year, 1864. As related in an-other place, when the order was given to remove the territorial records to Boise City, the county commissioners of Nez Perce county, of which Lewiston is the county seat, enjoined the removal of the capital, on the ground that the legislature ordering the removal did not assemble at the required time and the members had not all taken the oath prescribed by law. The supreme-court justice, A. C. Smith, decided in favor of Lewiston, and for ten months confusion reigned, the territory being without an acknowledged capital, while the governor returned to New York to escape the controversy; nor was there even a territorial secretary to take temporary charge of the executive business. Finally United States Marshal Alvord received instructions to convey the records to Boise; but the transfer had to be made stealthily in order to avoid a riot.
The boom of early bonanza mining and the capital both gone, nothing remained for the building up of Lewiston excepting permanent features, which, however, have proved to be far greater than had been before imagined. The location is at the head of navigation on the Snake River, and at the mouth of the Clearwater, which is navigable for a considerable distance. This fact, besides the delightful climate already mentioned, together with the development of good agricultural, horticultural and grazing lands in the vicinity, has constituted a permanent foundation for Lewiston’s prosperity. The bench lands, of varying heights as one approaches the mountains, have proved to be first-class grain-producing grounds, the farmers often reaping thirty to forty bushels of wheat to the acre, grain of first-class quality, and this, too, without irrigation.
At first the Indians in the vicinity were turbulent and were a great obstacle in the way of the settlement of the country; but at the present time they are peaceable citizens, following agricultural pursuits, and give to Lewiston a considerable trade. Thus Lewiston has kept ahead of all the northern towns of Idaho.
Very soon after the pacifying of the Indians, the city secured the passage of an act by the legislature creating it an independent school district, and a handsome, commodious school building of three stories was erected, at a cost of eleven thousand dollars. The graded system was introduced and has been continued with great success ever since. In 1881 the Columbia River conference of the Methodist Episcopal church established the Lewis Collegiate Institute here; and subsequently the Catholics erected a large and important structure, where their St. Aloysius Academy was conducted. Rev. A. D. McConkey’s school and other private educational institutions added to the city’s growing importance as a home center. At that early date it was conceded that Lewiston was destined to be known as the Athens of the northwest.
A government land office was established here in 1875, which had jurisdiction over Nez Perces, Idaho and Shoshone counties, which included Latah County, segregated from Nez Perces in 1887. This office necessarily had a great amount of business. The lands to the east are chiefly occupied as a reservation by the Nez Perces. In 1896 these lands were first sown for crops, producing half a million bushels of wheat and proportionate quantities of other grain, hay and vegetables; and the next year the acreage was doubled, and so on. The products of this section are now mostly marketed at Lewiston, either by wagon or by navigation of the Clearwater. Also considerable business comes to Lewiston from across the Snake River, as far out as the Seven Devils mining region, in Oregon and Washing-ton. On both the east and the south the rich rolling prairies gradually ascend until, sixty to eighty miles distant, they fade into mountain ranges that hold the mineral treasures that made Idaho famous in the early ’60s. Nearly all these mining camps are tributary to Lewiston and form a large part of its trade.
Not, however, until within a few years has a railroad reached this distant point from the great centers of civilization, the Northern Pacific having recently completed a branch to this place, putting it in communication with the east and west. Other lines of railway are in contemplation.
Lewiston at present has a population of about five thousand, with two national banks, numerous large mercantile houses, two daily newspapers and one semi-weekly, the State Normal School, five church edifices and flourishing congregations and the usual benevolent and fraternal organizations, which are largely supported. The Masonic and Odd Fellows orders have handsome structures of their own.
It is a unique and noteworthy feature of the commercial stability of Lewiston that instead of paying interest and dividend charges to outside financial institutions, the town receives this tribute from its neighbors; and consequently during the severest periods of stagnation it continues healthy and able while other points are depleted. The Nez Perces Indians are indeed among the wealthiest people of the country, and their trade alone brings a hundred thousand dollars a year into the city. The general government expends annually fifty thousand dollars upon the Indian industrial school and in the maintenance of the agency, both situated but a few miles out of town, and this money is largely poured into the coffers of the citizens of Lewiston.
The government is at work on the Dalles of the Oregon River constructing a canal around the falls, in order to render navigation uninterrupted between Lewiston and the high seas.
First National Bank
This solid and ably conducted financial institution of Lewiston was founded in 1883 by J. P. Vollmer; ex-Governor M. C. Moore, of Washington: William O’Donnell, of Walla Walla, Washington; Wallace Scott, of Grangeville; and R. Schlicher, of Lewiston, and was capitalized for fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Vollmer was elected its president and has since remained in charge of the affairs of the bank in that capacity, his administration proving most acceptable and satisfactory. The history of the bank is a record of remarkable success, there being now a surplus of fifty thousand dollars, ninety-two thousand dollars of undivided profits and a reserve fund of forty-five thousand dollars, and the bank has re-turned to the stockholders the original stock and thirty per cent additional. On the roll of honor of the thirty-three hundred national banks of the United States the First National of Lewiston holds the thirty-fourth place surely a most creditable record. The present officers are J. P. Vollmer, president; Ralston Vollmer, vice-president; and E. W. Eaves, cashier. The directors are J. P. Vollmer, W. Scott, A. W. Krontinger, C. V. Shearer and Ralston Vollmer. A general commercial banking business is carried on, and the First National is regarded as the strongest and safest financial institution of the state.
The Lewiston National Bank
This is one of the strongest banking institutions in the state. It was founded August 9, 1883, by William F. Kettenbach, John Brearley and others. Mr. Brearley was elected its president, but lived only a short time after its organization, when Mr. Kettenbach was chosen his successor and served in that capacity, with remark-able ability and fidelity, until his life’s labors were ended in death, September 9, 1891. His brother, F. W. Kettenbach, was then elected to the presidency, and held that office until January i, 1897, when he was succeeded by Daniel M. White, whose death occurred December 11, 1898. The vacancy thus occasioned was supplied by the election of W. F. Kettenbach, the son of the founder of the bank, to the presidency. Al-though only twenty-four years of age at the time, he had previously filled, in a most capable manner, almost all the lesser positions in the bank, and he now has the honor of being the youngest hank president in the United States.
The capital stock of the bank at its organization was fifty thousand dollars, and there is now a surplus of fifty thousand and undivided profits amounting to six thousand dollars. The bank has had a most prosperous and honorable career and has been enabled to pay to its stockholders ever since its organization a semi-annual dividend of five per cent. It does a general commercial banking business, sells exchange on all parts of the world, and owns its magnificent bank building, which is constructed of magnesia stone, being three stories in height. It was built by Mr. W. F. Kettenbach during his presidency of the bank, at a cost of forty-seven thousand five hundred dollars, and is considered the finest bank block in Idaho. The main floor is splendidly equipped for banking purposes, and the other floors are divided into office suites, the rental of which is four hundred dollars monthly.
This, the “Gate City of Idaho,” was named in memory of the doughty old chief of the Bannack Indians, a band of surly savages who formerly roved over the Snake River plains and kept the pioneers of civilization uneasy. The city is situated at the intersection of the Oregon Short Line and the Utah & Northern Railroads, and has a commanding location at the natural gateway to the great northwest of the region west of the Rocky Mountains. By its railroad facilities lines from the east, the west, the north and the south meeting within its limits it controls the freight traffic from the east and the great Mississippi valley and the trans Mississippi centers of commerce to the northwest coast and growing commonwealths of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Sixteen years ago this site was sagebrush covered plain; today there is a city here with a population of five thousand, with handsome brick business blocks, fine private residences, the finest school edifices in the state and prosperous business enterprises. Its growth and prosperity have been phenomenal. Only nine years ago the place was without a substantial building of any description; today it numbers its brick and stone blocks and residences by the score.
Topographically, the city is located at the head of the Port Neuf valley and on the banks of the river of that name, a tributary to the magnificent old Snake river. .at the foot of the city the the broad level plains of the Port Neuf valley, comprising as rich and fertile land as any in the west. They stretch out in level distances as far as the eye can carry the vision and until they meet the still broader and equally fertile plains of the Snake River valley. Behind the city the broken spurs of the Wasatch Range rear their rugged sides and rocky peaks, rich in all the minerals that have made the golden west great.
In 1882 the Oregon Short Line Railway was completed, connecting the Oregon Railway & Navigation line in the west with the main line of the Union Pacific in the east. In the same year the Pacific Hotel was built and the division headquarters of the railroad established here, which have remained here ever since. Pocatello then consisted of the hotel and store of the Fort Hall Indian trader, it being almost in the geographical center of the Fort Hall Indian reservation. The railroad company had a grant of some two hundred acres of land here, and it was a convenient point for an overland eating-house. This state of things called the hotel into existence, but at the same time the wildest flights of imagination saw no prospects of a great city in the future.
The railroad company, however, early began to see the advantages of the situation. With the completion of the Utah & Northern line, north and south, Pocatello became the natural location for the great shops of the united lines, and accordingly, in 1886, the shops, which had been located at Eagle Rock, were removed to Pocatello and very much enlarged. This enterprise at once brought four or five hundred men, many of them with families, to Pocatello, and for their accommodation the railroad company began the erection of the neat dwellings which constitute what is known as Company Row, and these were the first residences built in Pocatello. The first to occupy any of these were J. M. Bennett and wife; he was superintendent of bridges and buildings on this division. The depot, which had been completed the previous year, was dedicated with a grand ball in October.
Pocatello was a booming town in those days, a typical frontier town, and almost the last that the United States has seen. Money was plentiful and flowing freely, and the restraints of law and the effete features of eastern civilization were scarcely noticeable. Immigrants rushed in, with money and enterprise, even faster than room could be found for them, for the railroad company owned the only available land, the rest of the land belonging to the Indians. Squatters were ordered off the reservation and their “shacks” pulled down.
Something had to be done. In 1886 there were six hundred people in Pocatello and more crowding in every day. At this juncture the railroad company began to permit people to build on their right of way and, as if by magic, a city of “shacks” and shanties, devoted to all kinds of business, sprang up on what has since been called the plaza the broad, open space around the hotel and office buildings and where the parks are located. The town did not present a very commanding appearance, but was accomplishing an immense amount of business. Directly after the town site was thrown open to market the “shacks” were torn down and better structures were under way.
One of the first buildings erected in the town was a schoolhouse, in which school was opened in 1887, with Miss Brooks as teacher. The citizens, however, were often in sore straits for money to keep the schools going: but private subscriptions and benefit entertainments were always found in time, and since its founding the city of Pocatello has always maintained a high reputation for its schools. Today it has two public-school edifices and also a handsome private academy, unexcelled in the state.
The crowding of a pushing and enterprising population into the narrow limits of the railroad right of way at once resulted in agitation for more room. Delegate Dubois was appealed to for relief. Barbecues and “big talks” were held with the red men of the tribes of the Bannacks and Shoshones at Fort Hall. The braves were fed and petted and finally agreed to a treaty selling two thousand acres of land to the United States for a town site, and Mr. Dubois promptly had a bill passed by congress ratifying this treaty.
In June 1889, the town site was surveyed, and the next summer the lots were sold at public auction. Pocatello had in the meantime grown to a city of between thirty and thirty-five hundred population. Long previously the people had overflowed the extreme limits of the railroad lands and were squatted all over the town site. Many of them, indeed, had erected buildings of considerable pretensions, and it was feared that there might be some trouble when the sale took place: but fortunately everything passed off quietly. A committee of citizens was organized, and when a lot with improvements on it was offered for sale a member of this committee announced that Mr. _________ had improvements on it and asked outsiders not to bid; and this request was honored excepting in one instance, and then the bidder was soon persuaded to withdraw his bid. Thus most of the people who had gone ahead and built houses secured their property by the payment of ten to fifty dollars per lot, the appraised value. A large number of speculators were present, who bought many outside lots, which were held for a time, some of them for a number of years.
With the sale of the city lots, building started with a rush. Substantial business blocks and handsome residences sprang up everywhere as by magic. The old “shacks” came down by the hundreds and parks were laid out on their sites. The city now has many fine business blocks and residences, and every modern improvement that might be expected in a thriving western town occupied by the most intelligent people from the east.
The municipal history of Pocatello is comparatively simple and brief. The community was organized as a village in the spring of 1889, previous to which time there was no definite government, being situated on an Indian reservation and no one knowing who was in authority. Deputy marshals and deputy sheriffs were constantly present, but the people did about as they pleased. The village organization in 1889 was too late for the spring election that year, and the board of county commissioners of old Bingham county appointed the first board of trustees, for this purpose naming H. L. Becraft as chairman, and D. K. Williams, A. F. Caldwell, L. A. West and Dr. Davis as trustees. Sam Gundaker was appointed the first town marshal, but soon resigned, and W. S. Hopson was appointed in his place. At the city election in the spring of 1890, C. S. Smith was elected chairman of the board of trustees and J. H. Shuffleberger, John G. Brown, A. F. Caldwell and D. K. Williams trustees. James Scanlon was elected town marshal, and J. F. :Myers treasurer.
In 1891 D. Swinehart was elected chairman and A. F. Caldwell, D. W. Church, John S. Baker and George Green trustees; E. G. Gallett, clerk; J. I. Frantz, treasurer; and W. S. Hopson, marshal. In 1892 J. M. Bennett was elected chairman and Al. Davis, W. B. Eldredge, James Connors and Jack Gorman trustees; E. G. Gallett, reelected clerk; M. C. Senter, treasurer; and W. S. Hopson, marshal.
By special enactment of the legislature of 1892-1893 Pocatello was erected into a city of the first class. It was divided into four wards, and in the spring of 1893 elected a mayor, eight councilmen and a full city ticket. Edward Stein was chosen mayor by a plurality of six. Ed. Sadler was elected city clerk, J. J. Curl city treasurer, and J. F. Connor police magistrate. The council-men were George Griffith, A. M. Bagley, M. Condon, Al. Miller, F. H. Murphy, J. H. Shuffleberger, W. J. Harvey and E. P. Blickensderfer. The mayor, clerk and treasurer are elected for one year, and the police magistrate for two years. The aldermanic term also is two years, but at the first election one-half the number were elected for one year terms, so that, according to custom, one-half the council can be chosen each spring while the other half hold over.
In the election of 1894 Ben Bean was elected mayor, Ed. Sadler clerk and J. F. Kane treasurer. The councilmen elected were J. G. Sanders, John Fusz, T. B. Smith and Tim Farrell, Griffith, Condon, Murphy and Harvey holding-over. In 1895 W. F. Kasiska was elected mayor, W. D. Johnston clerk, A. W. Criswell treasurer, T. A. Johnston police magistrate, and M. M. O’Malley, J. Bistline, Felix Van Reuth and Eph. Miller councilmen.
Politically, honors have been about even. On the state ticket the Republicans usually carry Pocatello by fair majorities, but in municipal contests the honors have been almost evenly divided between the Republicans and Democrats, the Populists scarcely ever electing a man.
Financially, Pocatello keeps itself in good condition. It spends over two thousand dollars a year for electric light, and about the same amount for water, and also about the same or a little more for the fire department. For salaries of officers, about fifteen hundred dollars represents the disbursement, while the annual income has been about eighteen hundred to two thousand dollars. The city started out with an indebtedness of about twenty thousand dollars, which has since been reduced.
By an act of the legislature of 1892-3 the lower end of Bingham county was cut off and the county of Bannock created, with Pocatello as the county-seat, thus making this city the capital of one of the best counties of Idaho. The county contains scores of the very finest agricultural valleys in the state, besides high lands that are unsurpassed as cattle and sheep ranges. Soon after its organization, the county sold its six per cent, bonds at a very handsome profit. It is therefore on a cash basis, with first-class credit.
Abundant building material is to be had at the very doors of the city. Two miles west of the place a quarry is worked which is practically inexhaustible, from which the stone was taken to build some of the finest structures in the city, and even used for trimming when other stone is used for the body. Although soft when first taken from the quarry, and easily worked, it hardens on exposure to the weather. It is a light gray in color and is pronounced by experts to be as fine a building material as any in the country. Another quarry, of much harder rock, is worked at a short distance south of the city. The stone is a very close-grained and hard sandstone, and has been used for the construction of the great storage basin of the Pocatello water-works. Its supply also is without limit.
Some buildings here have been constructed of semi-lava boulders, which are abundant on the southern section of the town site, but they are hard to work and not handsome in a wall. The clay in the vicinity of the city is good for brick, and hence all the brick used here is homemade, and is excellent both in quality and appearance. At times the brick makers here have been rushed with work.
The Pocatello opera-house is one of the prettiest in the west. It was completed in 1893, at a cost of thirty thousand dollars, is a three-story brick structure, trimmed with “reservation” stone. The seating capacity is five hundred on the main floor and two hundred and fifty in the gallery. The stage is fifty by twenty-seven feet and is furnished with nine full sets of scenery.
The Pavilion, a large amusement hall, is the scene of most of the balls that are so popular here. It is a large frame building with’ an ample and excellent dancing floor, well lighted and admirably adapted for orchestral and exhibition purposes.
The Pacific Hotel was practically the first house built in Pocatello. It is a large, barn-like two-story frame, with Mansard roof, and has over fifty rooms. It was originally built for the accommodation of overland travel and the railroad employees at this point. The fare at this hostelry is very good. The Pocatello House is a handsome three-story brick building, completed in 1893, at a cost of about fifteen thousand dollars. It has forty rooms, but is strictly a lodging house rather than a hotel for the transient public. It is well kept. The Hanks Hotel is a three-story brick structure, furnished with steam heat and electric light, like the other houses just mentioned, and is equipped with the modern conveniences. This hostelry is con-ducted by Mrs. Hanks, a model landlady.
Pocatello has a magnificent water-works system, ample for a city of thirty thousand inhabitants. There are two immense reservoirs, with a combined capacity of over four million gallons. The upper reservoir is five hundred and sixty-two feet above the highest point in the city, and therefore gives force enough to the hydrants throughout the city to serve any emergency. The water supply, indeed, is an ideal one.
The system was conceived by J. J. Cusic, who in 1890 appropriated the water for its supply from Gibson Jack and Mink creeks, two tributaries of the Port Neuf that flow from the mountains south of the city. In 189T he and Dr. F. D. Toms began the work of constructing the reservoirs and flumes and also a large dam in Gibson Jack creek. The next year the Pocatello Water Company was incorporated, with J. J. Cusic, F. D. Toms, A. F. Caldwell. T. F. Terrell and E. J. Adams as members, and the capital stock was placed at one hundred thousand dollars. In October of that year the system was completed and in operation. Early in 1893 James A. Murdock, a Butte capitalist, purchased the entire plant and proceeded to make extensive improvements.
The water is as pure as crystal, coming from a natural reservoir of granite, shale and slate high up in the mountains, four miles above the reservoirs, and through a covered flume which has a capacity of four million gallons every twenty-four hours. The lower reservoir, used as the service basin, has a capacity of four hundred thousand gallons, is three hundred feet lower than the other, but is two hundred and sixty-two feet above the highest point in the city, as already mentioned. The water rate, for all purposes, is fixed by a commission appointed by the common council.
Pocatello has an electric-light plant second to none in cities even of twice its size. The Port Neuf River has been harnessed and furnishes the power that lights the streets, business houses and homes of the city. In round figures, the plant cost forty-five thousand dollars, and has a capacity sufficient to furnish light for a city twice the size of Pocatello and a water power ample for a plant many times the size of the present one.
For the construction and maintenance of this enterprise, as well as for purposes of irrigation, The Pocatello Power & Irrigation Company was organized in 1895. But long before that date a citizen named Dan Swinehart, who came here in 1888 as a butcher, conceived the feasibility of the enterprise here described, and despite much ridicule and discouragement from many friends proceeded to inaugurate the improvements necessary to the undertaking. He was elected the first mayor of the city, and such was his faith in its future growth and prosperity that he erected the first brick block in Pocatello, the “Pioneer” block, a handsome structure.
In July, 1892, on the very next day after the town site was thrown open to the market, Mr. Swinehart took up the water right that is to-day the life of the Pocatello electric-light plant, and posted his notices appropriating six thousand inches of water from the Port Neuf River for electric-light, power and irrigating purposes. He had his surveys made and plans for the plant made up, which plans called for an expenditure of thirty thousand dollars. He found most of the people incredulous and many of them even ridiculing his project, and even claiming that he could not develop as much as a six-horse power and that Pocatello was not going to be much of a city anyway! But he persevered, and in the autumn of 1892 built a dam across the Port Neuf between C and D streets northwest, and cut the ditch and finished the canal to the power-house site.
The powerhouse was erected in June 1893, and furnished with the finest machinery that could be purchased at the time, comprising two Thomson-Houston one-thousand-candle-power incandescent-light dynamos and one Thomson-Houston fifty-light arc dynamo. February 22d the machinery started and the light began to blaze in the city. Previously a small concern known as the Pocatello Electric Light & Telephone Company supplied a number of electric lights, with power from the railroad shops. Mr. Swinehart bought its franchises and property and incorporated them with his own. But soon after he commenced operation he was met by a new difficulty which at first seemed insurmountable, namely, his dam caused the Port Neuf to overflow the land adjoining the pond and many damage suits were brought against him; but this was overcome by his purchase of the land in question, in part, and condemnation of the rest. Afterward he raised a levee along the bank of the river on the east side, which prevents all over-flow, and now he enjoys the enhanced value of the land.
By the beginning of the year 1894 all difficulties were cleared away, but by this time the enterprise had cost him forty-five thousand dollars. In 1895 Mr. Swinehart sold his institution to a company consisting of himself and C. W. Spaulding, F. W. Smith and A. D. Averill, of Chicago, and it was incorporated under the laws of Illinois, under the name of the Pocatello Power & Irrigation Company. The capital stock, one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, is all paid up. Mr. Swinehart, who holds one-third of the stock, is the president and general manager.
The prospects for valuable minerals in the mountains adjacent to Pocatello began to attract attention in the early ’60s; but the hostility of the Indians, added to the excitement caused by the fabulously rich strikes in the Boise country, prevented any active work in this region, and indeed any thorough prospecting.
In 1868 the Fort Hall reservation was set apart for the benefit of the Shoshones and Bannacks ; and as white men were forbidden to trespass upon the reservation and the Indians were troublesome, the rich minerals hidden in the mountains here were lost sight of until after the town of Pocatello had sprung into existence. Then people began to speculate on what might be in the hills. Occasionally a rich piece of float was picked up on the reservation, and at length this set men to looking for what they could find. In the course of a few years men by the hundred came to Pocatello, many of whom waited for months, and even years, for an opportunity to get at the hills.
The mountains south of Pocatello are known to contain vast deposits of copper, silver and gold, as demonstrated by many outcroppings that give promise of the most fabulous richness. Many assays from the rock have been made, and they run up into the thousands. The agent in charge of the reservation, however, has been strict in enforcing the treaty laws. In the sum-mer of 1893 a company of Pocatello men discovered a copper ledge of marvelous promise on Belle Marsh creek on the reservation, and made a determined effort to work it. They put a force of men to work there and uncovered a ledge for a distance of a hundred feet and found a well defined ledge six feet wide of wonderfully rich copper ore. They worked it until twice warned off by the Indian agent, and quit only when they were finally threatened with arrest. Experts who have examined this property pronounce it as promising as any in the west.
Also, during the same summer, a strong company of capitalists of Pocatello, Butte and Salt Lake City, organized and made an effort to secure a lease of the mineral lands on the reservation; but other men in Pocatello, who had been watching prospects and opportunity for years, entered a protest and the interior department at Washington refused to grant the lease. The same year still another attempt was made to obtain permission to develop mines on this reservation, by a Pocatello organization, but it also failed. In 1891 some very rich galena was discovered about two miles east of Pocatello, so rich, in fact, that it almost created a stampede here to the point, and miners from other parts of Idaho and from Utah and from Nevada rushed to the scene and began digging vigorously. The signs were most encouraging, but the Indian agent again came down upon them and drove them all off the reservation. During the summer of 1895 there was found ore assaying thirty-three dollars to the ton in a quartz cropping in the mountains just south of the city. According to the testimony of all the old-timers in this region there are many rich deposits of the respective valuable minerals in nearly all the mountains in Bannock county, but the particulars can-not be given to a great extent, on account of the severely executed prohibitory laws made in treaty with the Indians. Even coal, apparently in paying quantities, has been discovered at various points. Also, some very fine specimens of asbestos have, been exhibited, obtained in the hills near Pocatello. Apparently there is enough of this material here to make a whole community rich. Of the fine building stone here we have spoken in our sketch of the city of Pocatello.
Kendrick And The Potlatch Empire
Perhaps no more adequate description of the “Metropolis of the Potlatch Empire” can be given than that which is afforded by the following extracts from a special edition of the Kendrick Gazette:
Kendrick is located at the junction of the Bear creek and Potlatch River, on the southern boundary line of Latah County, and on account of her location in respect to the geographical lay of the Potlatch country, has been appropriately named the Metropolis of the Pot-latch Empire. The Palouse branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company furnishes its transportation facilities.
Nestled between hills, nature has made her the natural and logical location for a town, by breaking the walls that protect her with gulches through which lead the roads to the various ridges, the scenes of her resources. These ridges, divided by gulches through which flow beautiful streams, form what are known as the Potlatch, American, Big and Little Bear, Texas, Fix and Cedar Creek Ridges, which, with their prolific soil, are among Kendrick’s resources. It might well be said that Kendrick was born of necessity, from the fact that the resources of the Potlatch naturally sought an outlet at her doors, through easy and accessible routes, generously supplied by nature.
With her strongest competitors Moscow, about thirty miles north, and Lewiston, thirty miles south-west, Kendrick must remain for an indefinite period of time the metropolis of some of the finest agricultural, timber and mineral country in the northwest.
Draw a circle with a radius of seven miles from Kendrick and you include the territory known as the Potlatch Empire, being about evenly divided between the counties of Latah and Nez Perces. Nowhere are a people more favored than those of the Potlatch, with their rolling fields of rich black soil and invigorating climate. The gentle zephyrs that steal across the hills to kiss the waving fields of grain, are purified and scented with occasional belts of tapering pines, that stand as barricades to moderate the hot winds, and allow him who toils to reap.
Scarcely fifteen years ago, the hardy pioneer drove his team across these hills in search of better land, rather than take these rolling prairies, that annually blossom with the luxuriant crops that have made her famous. The Potlatch knows no crop failure, and her people appreciate the fertility of its soil. Scarcely eight years have passed away since the whistle of the iron-horse broke the somber stillness of these hills and prairies, to furnish the transportation facilities for the shipment of her produce to the markets of the world. The thrift and energy of the people soon asserted itself, and the fields that once fed bands of cattle were transformed into waving fields of grain. In the spring-time the scene on the various ridges is one of unusual splendor, with the fields robed in green stretching out to the foot-hills in the distance. In no section can a more enterprising class of people be found than those of the Potlatch. Between the citizens of the town and those of the country the best of feelings exists, which harmonizes all the phases that enter into the progress and welfare of the Potlatch Empire in general.
Scarcely had the outlines of the town that was destined to become the keystone of the Potlatch assumed shape ere the energy and enterprise that have characterized its existence were asserted by the building of roads to the various ridges. To-day Kendrick’s location, with roads leading in from all sides, might well be compared with the hub of a wheel, that holds its position through the spokes. Each serves as an avenue of re-source, which year by year strengthens with the development of the country and contributes towards the healthy progress of the town.
With such a scope of fine agricultural land, superbly adapted to the raising of fruits, at her doors, which is the basis of all manufactures, the questions of power, space and shipping facilities naturally come up, which find answer in the force of her position. Just above the town empties Bear creek into the Potlatch River, a beautiful stream of clear, running water, which takes its source from mountain springs. With numerous tributaries it taps valuable forests of timber. Fir, cedar, yellow and white-pine timber tracts line the banks of both streams.
The current of the river is strong; the waters have about thirty feet fall in every one thousand yards. Along the banks of the stream are many beautiful sites for mills. In the corporate limits of the town the river has a fall of thirty-eight feet in one thousand yards, which, with the body of water that runs continually the year around, would furnish power to operate a number of mills. With the expenditure of but little money the stream could be cleared sufficiently to drive logs down to mills, where shipping facilities can be had on the Palouse branch of the Northern Pacific railway. With such a water-power and mill sites in abundance, Kendrick offers advantages to manufacturers superior to any town in the country. A flouring mill and a tannery are numbered among the successful industrial enterprises established here.
Another important and attractive feature of Kendrick’s location is in respect to her superior advantages for maintaining a system of water works. With a gradual slope towards the west, the lay of the ground furnishes a perfect system of drainage and sewerage.
The climate is exceptional. High hills protect the town from winds, making a difference in the climate of the top of the hills and Kendrick of from ten to twenty degrees. The summers are delightful. The days from twilight to sunset lengthen to about sixteen hours. With the going down of the sun a refreshing breeze blows across the country to fan the brow of the weary toiler. The winters are free from severe blizzards, so common to other parts of the country, and last from eight to ten weeks. Mountain ranges protect it from the chilling blasts from the north, while the warm southwest winds sweep across the country melting the snow, which soaks into the soil for the summer’s moisture. Here is where the man who toils may sleep with comfort, for the nights are cool and refreshing.
Kendrick has reason to feel proud of her public schools and houses of worship. The public schools are chief among the hopes and aspirations of the people, and today her schools stand in the highest ranks of the educational institutions of the public-school system. The high standard that the public school has attained has been one of the potent factors in making Kendrick a town of homes. Four religious denominations, including the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and United Brethren, look after the religious welfare of the community.
On October 15. 1890, on petition of H. L. Frost, the pioneer editor of Kendrick, and others, the town of Kendrick was incorporated. The first board of trustees were: Thomas Kirby, the founder of Kendrick, Captain J. M. Walker, president of the Lincoln Hardware & Implement Company, and one of our most progressive citizens: M. C. Normoyle, the genial proprietor of the St. Elmo Hotel; E. V. Nichols, until recently proprietor of the Pioneer City dray, and now of Nez Perces; E. Kaufman, of the well known firm of Dernham & Kaufman, at present manager of their large main store at Moscow. These practical businessmen held the reins of the city government and wisely guided its infant steps, so that it has kept free from debt in assuming premature improvements.
The advantages of Kendrick’s location for a town were due to the foresight of Thomas Kirby, who saw at a glance its superior advantages. Mr. Kirby also showed equally good judgment in selecting men to associate with him in the building of the “Hub of the Potlatch.” Aside from the officials of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, he associated with him such practical business men as G. E. Potter, deceased, of Colfax; G. Holbrook, Colfax; Hon. J. C. Lawrence. Waterville; W. White, of Colfax. Washington; J. P. Vollmer, of Lewiston; and R. D. McConnell and James Grimes, of Moscow.
The streets of the growing burg had hardly assumed their definite outlines when the handful of businessmen organized themselves into a board of trade to commence aggressive work for the upbuilding of the new town. All was activity. New businesses were opening up the extension of the Palouse branch of the Northern Pacific Railway was built into Kendrick in the winter of l8go, the first train arriving on February 4, 1891. From that day on new life entered the people, and progress was made the watchword. On July 4. 1890, the day on which Idaho’s star was placed on Old Glory, as one of the states of the Union, with no covering but the blue-arching canopy of heaven, the first issue of the Advocate, the forerunner of the Gazette, was issued.
With all lines of business represented, the march of progress began under favorable circumstances, buildings were looming up on all sides, enterprises were being launched, the future looked hopeful and bright, until the i6th day of August, 1892, when a disastrous fire swept over the town, completely destroying six blocks of business and entailing a loss approximating about one hundred thousand dollars. The town had hardly been in existence two years, yet. with the same energy and enterprise that characterized its former progress, the citizens, undaunted and undismayed, immediately began the work of rebuilding, and in three months afterward nine substantial brick buildings had risen out of the ruins.
The spirit of progress did not cease, and in January of 1893 electric lights illuminated the streets and buildings. In the spring of 1894 two fires occurred within a week of each other, destroying one and one-half blocks with a heavy loss. The panic of 1893, with its depressing influence, naturally served as a check on enterprises that demanded capital to push them, and the people, ever wide-awake and alert, inaugurated the immigration movement, for the purpose of showing the advantages and resources of the Potlatch Empire. The work has been carried on through the efforts of the Potlatch Immigration Association, which is distributing descriptive literature throughout the east. The fruit-growers, ever alert to their interests, have organized the Potlatch Horticultural Association.
With such unlimited resources of agriculture, timber and mineral, Kendrick’s future must be one of progress. Her citizens, ever mindful of the needs of the Potlatch. stand ready to put their shoulders to the wheel of progress. No discordant element or factions characterize their movements; a perfect unanimity of sentiment prevails. No legitimate enterprise has ever gone begging for support.
The financial condition of the city commends itself to the investor. The city is practically out of debt, as the present tax money, about due, will have wiped out the last vestige of indebtedness, there being no bonded, only a warrant, indebtedness. The assessed valuation of the property of the city is $98,960 and the tax levy is eight mills.
Kendrick is one of the nearest railroad points to the Nez Perce reservation, which was thrown open to settlement on the 18th day of November 1895. This territory embraces about seven hundred and fifty thousand acres of some of the finest timber and agricultural land in the Northwest, and in many respects shares the advantages of the Potlatch.
If there is any one attractive feature of the Potlatch it is the adaptability of her soil and climate for the raising of fruits. With an elevation much lower than that of the Palouse country, and protected from the north winds by mountain ranges, the country receives the benefit of the soft, exhilarating winds that sweep up the Columbia and Clearwater valleys from the Pacific ocean, which makes it warmer. The success that has been attained in raising fruit might be considered phenomenal. The fruit is especially free from defects and blemishes so common to fruit, and today the fame of the Potlatch fruit has spread to such an extent that a ready market has been found in the east at remunerative prices to the grower. It is but a question of a few years until these slopes and benches will have become dotted with blossoming orchards, and a new source of revenue added to the farmer’s income.
During the season of 1894 about twenty-seven thou-sand dollars were expended by the farmers for fruit trees, with proportionate amounts since, and today within a radius of, seven miles from Kendrick there are three thousand acres of land given up to orchards. The short time in which these orchards thrive and bear relieves fruit-growing of much of the monotony that is experienced in some sections of the country, in waiting from eight to ten years for the trees to come into bearing. An attractive feature of growing fruit in the Potlatch is, that the trouble and expense of irrigation is unnecessary, as the tree draws its moisture from the soil, which gives the fruit a soundness and luscious flavor. In this, nature has favored the Potlatch with a lavish hand.
A peculiar characteristic of the climate of the Potlatch is that the occasional frosts seldom affect the fruits. While this assertion may appear as preposterous to the fruit-grower in the east, who frequently sees his crop fail because of frost, yet this fact will be substantiated by any of the fruit-growers here. The reason of this is attributed to the fact that there are draughts of air continually passing through the canyon which naturally draws the frosty air down. In one or two particular years, where the springs ha\e been unusually late, and especially of the spring of 1896, instances are cited where the blossoms on the trees have frozen solid, yet causing no material damage to the fruit crops.
Aside from the prizes that have been awarded to the Potlatch fruit-growers at the annual fruit fairs at Spokane, Washington, one of a national character that bears testimony to the superior quality of the fruit was awarded by the World’s Fair commission, in the shape of a medal and diploma to John Hepler, of the Potlatch, for the best exhibit of pomaceous fruit. The exhibit was of eight varieties of apples and the medal and diploma were awarded on the decision of the committee that the apples were free from blemishes and defects, and recommended the fruit as an excellent marketable fruit.
The experience of the last few years has demonstrated that the climate and soil are especially adapted to the raising of apples, prunes, cherries and berries, while other fruits do remarkably well. In view of the increase in the orchard acreage, and the interest that is being centered around this infant industry, it is only a matter of a few years when the chief occupation of the people will be raising fruit. This industry is yet but in its infancy, and still the records show that one hundred and twenty-seven carloads of fruit were shipped in 1898. Another industry that is connected with fruit-raising is the drying of fruit. The progress and success of drying fruit has kept pace with the other improvements, and today the Potlatch dried prunes are finding ready sales in outside markets. Numerous individual dryers are in operation, and the product is of an excellent flavor. Dried prunes, pears and apples are the product.
While a good climate is an absolute necessity to the raising of fruits, cereals and vegetation, a rich soil is a necessity as well. The soil of the Potlatch is of a rich black loam, and might appropriately be called “vegetation rot,” and lies at various depths, from eighteen inches to four feet. Underlying the soil, a strata of clay is found which helps retain the moisture in the soil by refusing to let it seep away. This is what contributes so much toward her luxuriant crops of fruit, cereals and vegetation. The country is remarkably free from pestilence, very few squirrels have been found, and only in the land in close proximity to the rim rock do the crops suffer from heat. The experiments of the last few seasons have proven beyond doubt that corn, which it was thought could not be grown on account of the cool nights, will do exceedingly well here. The corn of the past seasons, while growing to a remarkable height, has produced well. Sorghum cane grows well. All kinds of vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, turnips, produce enormously. Wheat yields on an average of thirty-five and forty bushels per acre, while there are instances where eighty-acre tracts have yielded sixty bushels through and through, such are common. Oats, barley, rye and flax and other varieties do equally as well. The production of cereals has grown from fifty thousand bushels in 1890 to about eight hundred thousand bushels in 1898, and with the constant encroachment of the new settlers upon the timbered foothills, and the farming of the section lying idle, this will be greatly increased in the next few years. Two hundred and seventy-five thousand bushels of wheat were shipped in 1898.
There is no industry that asserts a more potent influence in the progress of a town than that of mining. As capital is necessary to develop mining property, pay-rolls are made, and that is the backbone of a town. It creates a substantial form of improvement, that rep-resents capital and gives confidence and activity. Kendrick receives much of her trade from several large quartz and placer mines which are tributary to her.
Another resource which already gives promise of great benefit to the future prosperity of Kendrick is the vast body of timber which stretches eastward from Kendrick. Fine bodies of cedar, yellow and white pine are to be found in the region of country at the source of the Potlatch River. The state has selected a large portion of this timber and will soon place it upon the market for sale. The diminishing of the white-pine forests in the east is naturally causing them to turn their attention towards the west for their future supply. Several syndicates have been here during the last few years, investigating this body of timber, and surveys made by lumbering men show that the most feasible and available route for putting it on the market is down the Potlatch River to Kendrick. The Potlatch, with but a comparatively small expense, can be driven with logs, which will not necessitate the building of a railroad to the timber, which, owing to the roughness of the country in that direction, would be very expensive. It is reasonable to conclude under the circumstances, with so much in Kendrick’s favor, that she will in the near future feel the magnetic touch from this great resource. The white-pine tract of timber begins about twenty miles east of Kendrick and comprises about one hundred and fifty thousand acres in all. The timber is of an excellent quality.
Bank of Kendrick
This institution was opened for business in the fall of 1890 by Captain J. M. Walker and his son, R. M. Walker, and was managed by them until July 1892, at which time the First National Bank of Kendrick was organized and absorbed the Bank of Kendrick. The capital of the bank was fifty thousand dollars. F. N. Gilbert was elected president and Math Jacobs, cashier. It continued to do business under the national banking system until May i, 1899, when it surrendered its charter, preferring to do business as a state bank. Its present officers are Math Jacobs, president; F. N. Gilbert, vice-president; A. W. Gordon, cashier; and P. R. Jacobs, assistant cashier. It does a general banking business, and as its methods are liberal it enjoys a prosperous business, having among its patrons all of the best people of Kendrick and the surrounding country.
This, the county seat of Elmore County, is a nice town on the Oregon Short Line Railroad, in the midst of a rich and productive valley along the Snake River. The village comprises about a thousand industrious and intelligent inhabitants, has a large brick schoolhouse, with eight departments, and a fine little library. The school facilities are indeed fully up with the most im-proved methods of the age. The Episcopalians, Congregationalists and Baptists all have church organizations, while the first two mentioned have also commodious houses of worship. A new brick bank building and a fine large brick hotel are in process of construction at the time of this writing. There are four general stores in the place, three blacksmith shops, two livery stables, two millinery stores, two weekly newspapers, the Elmore Bulletin and the Elmore Republican, two hotels, two physicians, two lawyers, one dentist, one real-estate office, one drug store, one restaurant, two meat markets, and other facilities in proportion.
The town is one of the best situated and best platted in the state, second to none of its size in Idaho, and is the natural shipping point for a great interior country which is rapidly coming to the notice of the general public. Over a million and a quarter pounds of wool are shipped annually from the railroad station here, besides many head of livestock. Indeed, this is one of the largest shipping points in the state. It is also the outlet for a number of rich mining camps. The state legislature has already appropriated half a million dollars’ worth of school lands as an endowment for a state industrial school at Mountain Home, and it is expected that ere long the state will erect a fine school edifice here. An abundance of cool water is found at a depth of only fifteen feet below the surface of the ground. Three miles distant is a large reservoir for irrigation purposes, while the lands in the vicinity of Mountain Home are unexcelled in their adaptation to fruit culture. Twenty miles distant in the mountains is a large canyon where water, at a comparatively light expense, can be collected sufficient for the irrigation of two hundred and fifty thousand acres of land.
The history of the town dates back only seven-teen years, to 1881, when W. J. Turney. now the postmaster here, began improvements at this point by the erection of a building. There is no doubt that Mountain Home has a very bright future before it, because of its location, good climate, vast tract of rich fruit and farming land in every direction, as well as the rich mines tributary to the prosperity of this locality, while irrigation is feasible almost anywhere. Such is the permanent foundation for a lasting prosperity in store for Mountain Home.
Grangeville And The Buffalo Hump Mines
The following interesting account is reproduced from the San Francisco Wave of May 13. 1899, the article being from the pen of Alan Owen. Not only does it depict a glowing future for Grangeville. but tells briefly but carefully the history of the famous Buffalo Hump mining district, opened with almost the enthusiastic “rush” of the old-time mining days :
The first white man to test the temper of the Nez Perce Indians by living among them was a pioneer missionary named Spaulding. This visitation dated from 1836 and the subsequent rude behavior of the dark-skinned brethren has nothing to do with the matter now in hand. A son of the pioneer H. Spaulding. early in the year 1874, came to the Camas prairie for the purpose of organizing a grange. The population of that portion of central Idaho scarcely numbered three hundred white men and the settlers were widely scattered: the prairie was a place of magnificent distances. In July a representative gathering was obtained, which met one day in a schoolhouse near Mount Idaho. Six-teen persons signified their willingness to unite with an order to be known as Charity Grange. Initiations followed; William C. Pearson was chosen worthy master, and J. H. Robinson, secretary. The foundations of the city of Grangeville the coming commercial center of the Clearwater country were thus laid.
At that time the land upon which Grangeville subsequently grew was a pasture belonging to the farm of J. M: Crooks. Two stores were in existence in Mount Idaho, which made that place an outfitting place for miners, the only town between Florence and Lewiston. a gap of one hundred and twenty miles. Three miles below the foothills that serve as a site for the hamlet Mount Idaho, the members of Charity Grange commenced building a hall in 1876. All work on the structure was done by hand, planing mills being a dream of the future, only to be realized, so far as the prairie is concerned, in 1899. During the winter of 1875-6 a joint stock company was formed in the grange and incorporated to build a flour mill, with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, in shares of twenty-five dollars each. The company built the mill now owned by Vollmer & Scott, the machinery being hauled on wagons from Walla Walla. The mill was grinding wheat in the fall of 1876. During the Nez Perce war of 1877-8 the grange hall was made a safe refuge by a heavy stockade of logs, sixteen feet long, set upright around the building, and the upper floor banked all around to the height of the windows with flour in sacks from the grange mill. This floor was used as & hospital for sick and wounded soldiers during the Indian war.
A large proportion of the prairie pioneers were southerners, forced to seek a new country by loss of property consequent upon the war of the Rebellion. They made, therefore, a good and steady nucleus for the foundation of a community, and to a broad western spirit many southern graces will be found grafted in the habits and manners of the early settlers. The country twenty years ago was absolutely without transportation facilities, and walled in by mountains exceedingly difficult of access. Even today it is not the easiest locality in the world to reach in the winter time. The Camas prairie farmers paid seven cents a pound for seed wheat, but, on the other hand, could command their own price for their produce. Meanwhile Grangeville was growing. In 1878 a small merchandise store was opened by a settler named William Hill, and next came a miners’ outfit-ting store. By 1886 substantial progress had been made. About this time Hon. A. F. Parker founded the Idaho County Free Press. The publisher, one of the best authorities on the mineralogy of the northwest that the state affords, made his annual trip in August to the great gold belt of central Idaho, leaving his paper in the hands of a substitute. That worthy, in a burst of enthusiasm over the town’s advancement, wrote “Grangeville already possesses the attributes of a place ten times as populous, viz., a high school, a resident minister of the Methodist persuasion, a brass band and other indications of culture and refinement.” As a matter of fact, the growth of the town at this time was steady, if not very rapid. In 1892 the Bank of Grangeville was founded, with the wealth of the firm of Vollmer & Scott, estimated at over a million dollars, behind it. About this date Grangeville was organized into an independent school district. A new schoolhouse was built in 1893, to accommodate some two hundred and fifty pupils, costing seven thousand dollars. In 1892 the Bank of Camas Prairie was incorporated by a number of the citizens of Grangeville and capitalized at fifty thousand dollars. In October of 1898 the town of Grangeville was incorporated, the first board of trustees consisting of Henry Wax, chairman; W. F. Schmadeka, E. C. Sherwin, W. W. Brown and A. F. Freidenrich. Subsequently a number of stores and residences of a substantial character were erected, and Grangeville was in a fair way of advancement when the discoveries at Buffalo Hump attracted the eyes of the mining world to central Idaho.
The fame of the discoveries, in three short months, was instrumental in changing the face of the town. It brought fresh blood and capital, and gave an impetus to enterprise that at one bound has succeeded in converting a country village into an up-to-date American city. Now Grangeville boasts the best water supply of any city in the state. A volunteer fire department has been organized and equipped. Other improvements and enterprises directly attributable to the new order of things include lime kilns, brick yards, building-stone quarries, an eighteen thousand dollar hotel, a brewery and distillery.
The conditions under which the great discovery at Buffalo Hunt was made are interesting to rehearse. A couple of prospectors, named B. R. Rigley and C. H. Rob-bins, camped on the main trail between Florence and Elk City in August 1898. The trail crossed the Buffalo Hump Mountain, and their camp lay on this mountain, some eight feet from a solid wall of quartz, three thousand feet in length and six hundred feet wide, that had been ridden and climbed over for years by veteran prospectors on their way to the Boise basin. In an idle moment the prospectors clipped off a chunk from the ledge, burned it, crushed it on the flat of a shovel, and from this rough method of assay got big values in gold. They at once took samples back to Florence and, handing them to an assayer, got the following results:
Sample No.1, an average of 24 feet of the ledge, $38.81 in gold and silver.
Sample No.2, an average of nine feet of the ledge, $458.17 in gold and silver.
Sample No. 3, an average of three feet of the ledge, $712.17 in gold and silver.
About one-eighth of the foregoing values were in silver, and the balance gold.
The formation of the rock is gneiss, and the general character of the ore of the district is identical with that of the Mother Lode in California. A California or Colorado gold mill will save from fifty to sixty per cent on the plates, and the remaining values can be saved in the form of concentrates that will run from four hundred to five hundred dollars per ton. Soon after the discovery by Robbins and Rigley. three tons of the ore were packed on horses to a Huntington mill, a distance of fifty-five miles. The ore assayed six ounces gold and seven silver, and the yield was four ounces fine gold and three hundred and sixty pounds of concentrates. These latter were shipped to Tacoma and gave returns from the smelter of one hundred and forty ounces of gold and sixty-three ounces of silver, a gross value of two thousand eight hundred dollars per ton. The saving was fully ninety per cent of the values.
The vein is crosscut in two places. The first claim located was the far-famed Big Buffalo. The vein is exposed for over a hundred feet northerly from the first cut on the Big Buffalo, and one hundred feet southerly from the second cut on the Merrimac, showing a continuous ore body three hundred feet in length by an average width of thirty-five feet. It may be safely presumed that in this ore body, should the vein hold to a depth of one hundred feet of the same character of ore.
there will be in sight seventy-five thousand tons, having a gross value of one million five hundred thousand dollars. Captain De Lamar offered five hundred thousand dollars for the Big Buffalo group after having the property thoroughly experted. The offer was refused. Spokane capitalists finally purchased the group for five hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, making a cash payment of twenty-five thousand dollars. This is the largest sum ever paid for an undeveloped prospect. In pursuance of the terms of the bond, the syndicate controlling these claims are expending fifteen thousand dollars per month in actual development work.
Over three hundred mining locations have already been made within a radius of ten square miles of the original discovery on the Hump since August, 1898. In the opinion of one of the most competent experts in the state, no one, however skeptical, can doubt the permanency of these ledges. There are thousands of tons of pay rock lying above the surface, and, according to the authority quoted, of better grade gold ore than is now being milled in any of the gold districts of South Africa, Nova Scotia, California, Utah, Dakota or Colorado.
I cannot do better, in closing this brief glance at the history of Grangeville and the great mineral belt tributary to the city, than to quote a portion of the recent speech made by the Hon. A. F. Parker before the Portland Chamber of Commerce:
“The Clearwater and Salmon river country,” said that authority, “may very properly be considered as the mother of gold in the northwest. On tributaries of these rivers were discovered in i860 the rich placer camps of Pierce City, Elk City. Florence, Warrens, and the rich bars bordering on these streams, from which probably five hundred million dollars of gold have been produced from that date on in a more or less desultory way owing to our isolation and distance from railroads, for the past twenty years and always with profit. There is no more promising field for prospecting and investment than the Clearwater and Salmon River country. It has gold mines, fine farm lands and unlimited stock ranges, and will eventually develop into the richest and most thickly populated part of the northwest interior.”
The head of dry-land navigation to the Bitter Root and Salmon River mining camps is Grangeville. The city almost owes its origin and certainly its growth to the fact that in the past it has been the most convenient point of access for investors and mine owners to meet on the common basis of Central Idaho’s mineral wealth. Recent revelations concerning the richness of this belt explain the happy choice of site for founding the metropolis of Camas prairie.
Within ten miles gold-bearing quartz has been found on the Clearwater. This discovery, made less than a month ago, is assuming an importance that will demand notice from the mining world in the near future. Soarce twenty miles from the city of Grangeville winds the Salmon River, from the banks of which reports of gold discoveries arrive with increasing frequency, as more men pour into that temperate region. Many of these prospectors, while testing the river’s bed and banks as a method of putting in their time until Buffalo Hump has shed its fifteen-foot mantle of snow, have at time of writing made discoveries that bid fair to throw the Big Buffalo find into the shade. A placer proposition always possesses superior popularity to quartz, however rich returns the latter may yield under assay, and in like degree free-milling quartz with gold glistening beneath the naked eye will outrank refractory ore of possibly better final values. Free gold is the Salmon River slogan.
Forty-five, miles separate the Robbins mining district from Grangeville. They are not easy miles to brave in winter. Prospectors with experience in Alaska prefer the Chilkoot. The novel theory advanced by trading points more than a hundred miles distant, that the trip is simplified the farther away from the Hump a start is made, is more amusing than attractive.
In the first place, Grangeville is a mining center. The wealth of the district is concentrated here, and the people are possessed of extensive knowledge not only of the country but the needs of prospective settlers. The prospector will obtain reliable information, based upon actual experience, concerning seasons, distances, and the time required to make the trip. A stranger can learn more of trails, roads, and the topography of the country by talking with Grangeville men, in one day, than he could learn in a month of aim-less exploration.
Grangeville, so long lacking railroad and transportation facilities, will soon be the terminus of two systems. The Oregon Railway & Navigation Company has already made its survey, obtained right of way and secured deeds for depot grounds. Large forces of men are at work along the Snake river section of the line, and as soon as spring opens they will push on up the Clearwater and onto the great Camas prairie, which is an agricultural belt about twenty-five by thirty-five miles in extent. A country as fertile and magnificent as the broad fields of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.
The Northern Pacific has made surveys and is grading within less than fifty miles of Grangeville and is operating within twenty-six miles of the town. It is claimed by the best informed on the subject that this system will have trains running into Grangeville by November of the present year (1899). With rail-roads to transport farm products, mining machinery and supplies, lumber and live stock from the boundless ‘ ranges of this territory, Grangeville ought to be, within a brief space, the metropolis of Idaho.
The Bank Of Grangeville
This is a private banking institution which opened its doors for business in 1891. It is owned by the well known banking and mercantile irm composed of John P. Vollmer, of Lewiston, and Wallace Scott, of Grangeville. It is the agency of the First National Bank of Lewis-ton, and for its capital has the backing of the entire wealth of the firm, easily estimated at one million dollars, thus making it one of the strongest institutions in the northwest. Wallace Scott is its manager and Martin Wagner its cashier, and it does a general banking business.
The Bank Of Camas Prairie
This institution, which is located at Grangeville, was incorporated in August, 1892, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars. Since its organization it has paid a dividend of ten per cent per annum and has now (1899) a surplus of five thousand dollars. The bank building is a brick structure, twenty-five by fifty feet, which was erected for the special purpose in 1898. The interior is furnished with what are known as the Andrews fixtures, in polished oak, and has fireproof vaults and a Diebold patent safe of solid steel, weighing sixty-five hundred pounds, with triple time locks. The officers, of the bank, elected on its organization, were F. W. Kettenbach, president; A. Friedenrich, vice-president, and W. W. Brown, cashier. They have since continued to occupy their respective positions, and in 1898 John Norwood was elected assistant cashier. A general banking business is carried on and the institution is in a flourishing condition.
This village of about eight hundred inhabitants is situated in the southwestern part of the state on the Oregon Short Line Railroad, at the junction of the railway to Boise and also of the railway to Silver City. The first residence at this point was built in 1885, by Alexander Dufifes, who indeed was the founder of the village, platting the town upon his land, ever since which time he has been one of the most prominent factors in its upbuilding. Among the most prominent early business men here were John E. Stearns, Benjamin Walling and B. Grumbling, and since their advent, in the order mentioned, the town has enjoyed a steady growth. There are ten or twelve good brick business blocks here at the present time, two hotels, three church edifices, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Baptist, a large brick schoolhouse and many fine residences. All branches of trade are creditably represented. A capacious steam fruit-evaporator has been constructed, which goes far toward enhancing the market value of fruits raised in the vicinity.
Nampa is surrounded by an extensive tract of rich land, on which fruit, grass and grain grow profusely. It is particularly well adapted to fruit culture. The Boise & Nampa Irrigation Company have constructed a large canal to the city, from which a district twenty-seven miles long and six miles wide is amply supplied with water. Besides the operation of the railroads already mentioned, the building of others is contemplated, and it is believed that Nampa is destined to become a large railroad center and a city of considerable importance.
The following interesting account of the city of Genesee and its attractions is an extract from a most attractive souvenir and finely illustrated edition of the Genesee News, issued in February 1898.
Genesee is situated at the terminus of the Spokane & Palouse branch of the Northern Pacific Railway, and its history dates from the advent of the iron horse in May. 1888. It is therefore but little more than a decade since the “first house” was erected, by J. S. Larabee. The growth of the town has been truly remarkable during this brief period of time. Its rapid growth was due to the ‘richness of the country tributary. A town cannot advance in substantial growth ahead of the life sources which nourish it. It is the design of this edition to substantiate our claim that Genesee is not a mushroom growth but a substantial town reflecting in its schools, churches, handsome residences and large business blocks, the wealth of the country tributary thereto. The same appearance of thrift and prosperity which characterizes the town is apparent in a marked degree in the country. Nice farm houses and good outbuildings are the rule rather than the exception.
With eastern people contemplating a change of residence, other things being equal, good school and church privileges are prime factors in deciding their choice of a location. In these matters Genesee meets the requirements. Our public schools are graded and thoroughly systematized and efficient teachers are employed. A private school is also conducted by the Sisters of the Catholic Church. Of churches there are five. School, church and social privileges, both in city and country, are good, although, of course, the country being new the rural districts have their limitations. For the pursuit of knowledge, our young people who desire a higher education are highly favored, having almost at their very door the University of Idaho, at Moscow, and State Normal School at Lewiston. Thus those who bring their sons and daughters among us are not depriving them of any educational privileges and may even be bringing them in closer touch with educational work. Our teachers are required to have a high standard of attainments and show their qualifications for the work by rigid examinations.
Genesee is essentially a social and fraternal town, having lodges of the Masonic order. Odd Fellows, with camp, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World. Young Men’s Institute, Ancient Order of Pyramids, G. A. R. and W. R. C, Rathbone Sisters, Rebekah, besides an athletic association and a company of militia.
In population the city numbers about 1,200. It is beautifully situated. The residence portion is largely built on several large hills, at the foot of which lies the main street and business part of the town. The location is not only slightly but hygienic, having a good natural drainage, which, while it does not remove, reduces the liability of sickness.
The city’s finances are in excellent shape, its only obligation being in the form of bonds for one thousand dollars for the purchase and improvement of a public park. This indebtedness could be obliterated and add but little to the rate of taxation. No town in the west can make a better showing in financial affairs, and few are as free from debt. Not only is the city free from debt but there is plenty of money in the several funds for all the requirements of city government. The government of the city is in the hands of capable men of affairs.
The town of Ketchum is located upon a beautiful site at the terminus of the branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, twelve miles north of Hailey. The nucleus of the town was started in 1880, and for several years it was a flourishing mining town; but the great decline in silver has worked adversely and the place now comprises only about two hundred and fifty inhabitants, who, however, are as intelligent and hospitable as any community in the United States.
There are in the town a fine large brick schoolhouse, several good brick stores and the large plant of the Philadelphia Mining & Smelting Company, which cost nearly one million dollars. To this point is a daily train service from the Oregon Short Line Railroad; Wood River flows majestically by, a delightful mountain stream containing an abundance of trout; and there are in the vicinity many rich silver and lead mines. Being surrounded by high mountains, the scenery in every direction is decidedly picturesque. Deer and other large game abound in the wilds.
At Ketchum is a good hotel, owned and conducted by Paul P. Baxter, and after him is called the Baxter Hotel. This host and his good wife spare no pains in their efforts to give a cozy and comfortable home to all their guests.
This ambitious and prosperous town is the county seat of Blaine county. It is located in the Wood river valley, sixty miles north of Shoshone, five thousand, two hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea, and on a branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The site is on a plain almost level, a mile and a half wide and thirty miles long, beautifully nestling among the mountains. Only a mile from Hailey are the celebrated Hailey hot springs, the resort of invalids afflicted with mineral poisons or rheumatic troubles.
The Hailey land district of the United States originally comprised about nineteen million acres, of which less than half had been surveyed in 1888, seven years after the founding of the town. Nearly all this land is in Blaine and Cassia counties, and is specially rich in qualities required by horticulture, agriculture and live stock. Sixty bushels of wheat to the acre have been raised without irrigation, and other cereals, fruits and vegetables in the same proportion. The greater part of the land, however, requires irrigation; but the creeks are plentiful, and a large river present, so that irrigation and the watering of the livestock are very practicable. When sufficiently watered, the soil produces crops threefold larger than those of the eastern states. To farmers seeking homes in the west, no portion of Idaho presents more natural advantages or promises more substantial benefits than this part of the state. In recent years the sheep industry has wonderfully developed in this vicinity. Hailey is therefore a great wool-shipping point, and from seven hundred and fifty to one thousand cars of lambs and sheep are shipped annually.
But the “backbone” of industrial prosperity here is the mining interest, which seems literally infinite, the operation of the mines varying, however, with the varying prices of the respective minerals, among the principal mines in this locality we may mention the Tiptop, Croesus, Minnie Moore, Camas No. 2, Queen of the Hills, Idahoan, Mayflower, Bullion, Parker, Triumph, Jay Gould, Eureka, Red Cloud, Bay State, Pass, Red Elephant, Idaho Democrat, War Dance, Elkhorn, Carrie Leonard, Stormy Galore, North Star, Silver Star, Ophir, Relief, Climax, Nay Aug, Pride of Idaho, Dollarhide, Jumbo, King of the West, Montana, Vienna, Silver King, Tyrannis, etc. These and other productive proper-ties of the valley and hills around are capable of sustaining a population of hundreds of thou-sands.
The forests are “alive” with game, both large and small, from the ferocious grizzly bear and majestic mountain lion down to the ground squirrel and innumerable grouse, quail and other birds, while the streams abound in the delicious speckled beauties which the eastern disciples of Izaak Walton are compelled at the present day to travel hundreds of miles to see in their native element. Trout weighing eleven and a half pounds have been caught here.
Wood river affords about two millions miners’ inches of water, yielding an immense power for factory purposes, a large portion of which is utilized.
The climate of this valley is notoriously delightful. Jay Gould, the great capitalist and traveler, who was in a position to select the best climate in the world for his own comfort, spent his last summers on earth at this point; Horace K. Thurber’s home is here; and other wealthy men, with their families, from the east, have enjoyed their sojourns here. It is really a favorite summer resort.
The town was founded by Hon. John Hailey, J. H. Boomer, now of Oakland, California; W. T. Riley, and then United States Marshal Chase. These gentlemen began improvements in 1880, and settlers began to locate here during the ensuing spring, first occupying tents; even the merchants had their stores in tents; and the place has ever since had a steady growth, varying but little with the times. The population has grown to fifteen hundred. The city has a complete system of water-works, which furnish an ample sup-ply of pure mountain water, under a pressure of one hundred and twenty feet; electric light for the whole city, of the Brush-Swan system; a telephone system, radiating from Hailey to all the mines, smelters and mills within a radius of twenty miles, and furnished by the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company; several fine hotels, of which the Alturas is the principal one, costing sixty-five thousand dollars and supplied with every modern improvement; several substantial brick stores; beautiful drives and bicycle roads, mostly natural, leading in every direction to the very ridges of the mountain chains and through scenery which for picturesqueness, ruggedness and grandeur cannot be excelled; sampling works, having a daily capacity of two hundred tons, where cash is paid for the ore; two newspapers, the Wood River Times and the News-Miner, both daily and weekly, live papers which are effecting much good for the community; a court-house, costing sixty thousand dollars, which is a three-story fire-proof brick and stone structure and very commodious in all respects; one of the best appointed school-houses in the state, where the teachers, also, are the best paid of all in the west; three church organizations, Catholic, Methodist and Protestant Episcopal, each of which has a fine house of worship; and the most popular fraternal organizations are represented here by the Freemasons, Odd Fellows, United Workmen, Modern Wood-men of America, Good Templars and the Grand Army of the Republic. The Masons have a chapter here, the Odd Fellows an encampment and a lodge of the Rebekah degree, and the Workmen a lodge of the Degree of Honor.
The intelligence and moral character of the people at Hailey and in the vicinity are conspicuously above the average, as many of the immigrants here are wealthy and cultured people from the east.
In conclusion we quote a paragraph from a local historian: “Who has not felt the surprise akin to wonder at the almost marvelous growth of whole regions in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado? The lesson taught by the past will help the prudent man or woman to build for the future, and a moment’s thought will teach that there is no magic at work in the growth and development referred to, only the relentless march of empire into the west. The leviathans of old ocean deposit upon our eastern shores a larger number of immigrants each year, a great majority of whom seek the western states, and, as the advantages offered them in the newer sections are known, overflow into them. Far out, almost beyond civilization, in. 1881, the present site of the prosperous city of Hailey was dotted here and there with a few tents, and the writer was hailed on his arrival as from ‘God’s country,’ that is, the United States. Today it enjoys the reputation of being itself the best part of God’s country!”
First National Bank Of Hailey
This bank was founded in July 1888, with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, by W. B. Farr, of St. Louis, Missouri, and he was made its first president. A private bank had been previously established, in 1883, by T. R. Jones & Company, who the next year sold to McCormick & Company, of Salt Lake City, and they sold to Mr. Farr, who organized the National Bank, as already stated. Mr. Farr continued to act as the president until October 15, 1890 when R. F. Buller purchased his interest, and M. B. Loy was elected president. He served until January 1892, at which time Mr. Buller was elected to the office, he being the largest stockholder. Since he has had the management of the concern it has paid good dividends and it now has a surplus of twelve thousand dollars. F. H. Parsons is its present cashier, and the directors are J. C. Fox, F. H. Parsons, M. McCormick and R. H. Plughoff. They do a general commercial banking business.
Application has recently been made by the Mullins Canal & Reservoir Company for segregation, under the Carey law, of several thousand acres of choice land near the new town of Bliss, on the main line of the Oregon Short Line Railway. Under the wise provisions of this modern land law it is possible for everyone to secure one hundred and sixty acres of land, including a perpetual water right and a proportional interest in the canal system by which it is watered, at the price fixed by the state for the same. This law also protects the settler in all his water rights and relieves him from the perpetual payment of water rent except what is actually necessary for the keeping up of repairs and improvements on the canal system.
The deeded lands belonging to this company, and such lands as are held under the Carey act, are all near the town of Bliss, about one hundred miles east of the state capital, at an altitude of three thousand feet, and having the great advantage of being the most eastern lands in the state within the fruit belt, having an abundance of water for irrigation, with a climate less oppressive and hot in summer than that farther west in lower altitudes, and of more even temperature and less extreme cold in winter than is found farther east and north.
Land and perpetual water rights, including proportional interest in the canal, may now be obtained under contracts with the Mullins Canal & Reservoir Company and the state of Idaho, at not to exceed twenty dollars per acre, the price varying according to distance from railroad station, improvements, etc. The terms of payment are easy and on long time, at six per cent interest.
There is little difference in the fertility of the soil, which is very rich and susceptible of a high state of cultivation during the first season; the sage-brush, which has little root, being easily re-moved, after which the land is as easily plowed as old land under cultivation.
A large number of ten-acre fruit tracts adjoining the town plat of Bliss are being planted, while the purchaser takes his choice of several varieties of fruit selected by the company, or chooses his own land and varieties. Unless otherwise directed they plant about one-half in apples and balance in prunes, peaches, pears, apricots and cherries. Five acres of each tract are set out with not less than one hundred thrifty trees to the acre. The company levels the ground, sets out, cultivates and irrigates the trees, sprays and replaces all that die, and pays taxes, charges and expenses of all kinds from the time of planting until delivered to the purchaser. The company requires a payment of one hundred dollars at the time the contract is made, and fifteen dollars per month for seventy-two months, with interest at six per cent per annum.
Idaho not only received the World’s Fair golden medal for apples, but at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898 was awarded more gold, silver and bronze medals than any other state, for fruit display.
The great Snake river, which is only one and one-half miles from the new town of Bliss, abounds with fish, including the sturgeon, which usually weigh from one to five hundred pounds, and the salmon, from one to ten pounds each, while the smaller streams and rivers are full of all kinds of mountain trout. It is considerably lower than the tableland on either side, and wherever it has been possible to irrigate the narrow fields along its banks there are now thrifty orchards and farms which have been tilled for many years.
The land which lies on both sides of the Oregon Short Line Railway at Bliss station, gradually rises to the north in a gentle, undulating slope for a distance of twenty miles to the low foothills which form the border line of the celebrated Camas prairies, a veritable paradise for the stock-raiser. These prairies vary in width from five to twenty-five miles, and extend along the foothills of the Sawtooth mountain range for a distance of sixty miles, the average width being about fifteen miles.
A luxuriant growth of nutritious native grass is found upon these prairies, the blue-joint and redtop in many places producing an excellent crop of wild hay without irrigation, while the large and small bunch grass which grows upon the adjoining foothills cannot be excelled for sheep pasture.
Responsible parties are now herding the small bunches of cattle belonging to farmers in this vicinity at one dollar per head for the season, taking them in April and returning them in December, the feeding months in this locality being January, February and March. This is an exceptional opportunity for the man who wishes to build up a large stock business with little trouble and at the same time use his farm for winter feeding. Lucern from ten acres will produce sufficient hay for the wintering of forty head of cattle; and this plan will not interfere with the raising of all kinds of fruit in their season.
Because corn is not considered a profitable crop in this state, it has been generally sup-posed until recently that hogs could not be raised here at a profit; but this is now conceded to have been an error; and those who are experimenting in this direction find that alfalfa or Lucern pastures for summer, and field peas with steamed potatoes and barley for winter feed and fattening, will give most excellent results.
For the purpose of irrigating the large body of choice land in the vicinity of Bliss, the Mullins Canal & Reservoir Company has already completed a canal nearly fifteen miles in length from the Malad River, about five miles from where it empties into the Snake River above the town of Bliss. This canal is connected with a system of reservoirs of sufficient size and capacity to irrigate fully ten thousand acres of land. With such a reservoir system the main canal is always readily supplied with an even flow of clear water which is not subject to the rise and fall of a turbulent stream, and by keeping the reservoirs well filled the farmers will always be sure of a full supply.
Within a distance of twenty miles from Bliss station, up and down the Snake River, the banks on either side are rich in gold. Scores of locations having recently been made, many of which are now being profitably worked where water can be obtained from springs and streams which empty into the river, and other rich placer ground is still open for entry. A few miners are now using pumping plants or current motors to raise water from the river to wash gold out of the gravelly banks, many feet above the river’s channel.
All the water from the Mullins canal and reservoir system can be used (when not needed for irrigation) for mining purposes on the placer claims down the river below Bliss for a distance of ten or more miles, by an extension of the main canal.
Sufficient electricity can easily be manufactured from the immense waterpower on the Snake River near Bliss for all kinds of manufacturing industries.
Within six miles of this new town are the great Salmon Falls, where the entire Snake river drops about twenty-five feet, while nearer by are springs of enormous size, with at least four thou-sand second-feet flow, which by being piped one thousand feet will give a fall of over fifty feet, and one large spring within two miles of Bliss will furnish electricity for two hundred horse power.
Within ten miles of Bliss on the north are the famous Idaho Hot Springs, similar to those at Hailey and Boise. These springs are still in their natural state, without improvement, but as they are nearer the main line of the Oregon Short Line Railway than any other similar springs in the state, and can easily be connected therewith by an electric line, it is reasonable to suppose that they will soon be improved. The temperature of the water from these springs as it comes to the surface is sufficiently hot to boil an egg, and its curative properties are manifold, being especially beneficial for rheumatism and all diseases of the skin.
To those familiar with the local conditions surrounding Bliss, it is apparent that it has all the requisites for the making of a prosperous town of no mean proportions. Situated twenty-nine miles west of Shoshone, the county seat of Lincoln county, and twenty-three miles east of Glenn’s Ferry, the nearest towns of any importance on either side; on the main line of the Oregon Short Line Railway; surrounded by a large and extremely fertile agricultural district, with the finest stock range in the state; silver and copper mines, and thermal springs, on the north, and the Snake river, with its placer gold mines, great water power and fish industry, on the south; the nearest railroad station to the great Shoshone Falls; the center of supplies for a large number of settlements off the railway, with all these and many minor advantages, it offers unmistakable inducements to home-seekers. Already the railroad station, with express and telegraph office, has been opened, and stock-yards are built; a post office, one general merchandise store, and a good school, add much to the convenience and comfort of the incoming settlers.
The following history of Moscow was written by W. G. Emery in the year 1897, and was originally published in the Moscow Mirror. It is reproduced, but with slight change, as a worthy supplement to the history of the state:
Standing on the steps of Idaho’s university and looking eastward across the beautiful town-site of Moscow, with its substantial business bricks and neat brown and white cottages and elegant residences thickly clustered along the western slope of a low, rolling hill, a spectator can hardly realize how it appeared to the early settlers as they first saw it over twenty-six years ago.
It was as attractive probably then as now but its beauty was wild and untrammeled and the undulating hills were covered with luxuriant grasses. No roads traversed the rolling prairies, save an occasional Indian trail and lying serene, and undisturbed beneath the shadow of Moscow Mountain, no wonder it secured its first name. Paradise Valley. One evening early in March 1871 one of our oldest settlers, Asbury Lieualien, “struck camp” at a spot not far from where the Imbler house now stands. He found here an abandoned shanty which had been put up by a couple of immigrants named Haskins and Trimbell, and impressed alike by the picturesqueness of the scenery and the richness of the soil, as evidenced by the abundance of forage, he determined to locate here a claim and build for himself a home that would insure him a prosperous old age. The nearest house was at Lewiston in those days a little settlement, about thirty miles southward. Eastward from Moscow Mountain lay a wild and unbroken timber country where virgin forests extended to and beyond the grim and towering crests of the unexplored Bitter Root range. To the north was an almost equally unsettled country, there being but two houses between Paradise Valley and Spokane Falls. To the west, one hundred miles away, was Walla Walla, at that time the principal supply post of this sparsely settled inland empire and the site of the only flouring mill between Portland and St. Paul.
The homestead located by Mr. Lieuallen is situated about three miles east of Moscow and here he farmed till the early part of the year 1875. In the mean time a number of other settlers had located claims in his vicinity whose names as taken from the records of the Pioneer Association of Latah County were William Ewing. John Russell. James Deakin, George W. Tomer, Henry McGregor, Thomas Tierney. William Taylor, William Calbreath. John and Bart Niemyer. John Neff, James and Al Howard, Reuben Cox, O. H. P. Beagle, James Montgomery and probably a few others, whose names have been lost in the lapse of years.
In 1872 the first mail route was established in this section and the post-office was situated about one mile east of Moscow and called Paradise post-office. The mail was then carried from Lewiston on horseback by Major Winpey. In May 1875. Mr. Lieuallen, at the urgent request of his neighbors, decided to establish a little store at some convenient point and having purchased from John Neff that tract of land extending westward from the present Main street for one-half mile, he erected a little one-story building on the vacant lot just north of Kelley’s jewelry store, laid in a small stock of merchandise and christened the embryo village, and thus Moscow was started on the road to future prosperity. He hauled his goods from Walla Walla, then the nearest railroad point, and that was reached only by Dr. Baker’s “rawhide road.” Two ordinary wagon-boxes would have held his entire stock in the store, but the prevailing prices made up-in size for the smallness of the stock. Five pounds of flour sold for one dollar, brown sugar was fifty cents per pound, common butts and screws were fifty cents per pair and everything else in proportion. But at Lewiston prices were infinitely worse. Some of our older settlers will remember paying C. C. Bunnell one dollar for one-half a joint of stovepipe, although a whole joint could be bought for fifty cents. He charged fifty cents for cutting it and had half left. In 1877 the post-office was moved to Moscow and located in a little shed in the rear of Lieuallen’s store, he becoming Moscow’s first postmaster. The office I furniture consisted of a boot-box, about the size of a half-bushel, which Postmaster Lieuallen used as a I receptacle for the mail. This box is still preserved I as one of the relics of the early history of Moscow. About this time John Benjamin, now at Kendrick, Idaho, put up a little “shack” and opened a black-smith shop, and a little box house was torn down, and moved over from the former Paradise post-office, and put up on a little knoll which was just back of Zumhoff & Collins’ present blacksmith shop. This was afterward remodeled and moved on to William Hunter’s lot adjoining I, C. Hattabaugh’s. The only other building the village contained was an old log barn, which may yet be seen standing, just south of the fair grounds, on the John Niemeyer place. In June 1877, came the Joseph Indian war. At the first alarm the settlers with their families sought safety in temporary forts and stockades that were hastily constructed as a protection against the raids of the j treacherous redskins. Moscow’s first stockade was I built near the residence formerly occupied by J. S. I Howard, who died in the early ’80s. The permanent stockade was built where part of Moscow now stands, back of the residence of John Russell and now the residence of Mrs. Julia A. Moore. The stockade was built out of logs from six to ten inches in diameter set on end in the ground close together. They were I hauled from the mountains six miles distant and at ‘ a time when it was taking a man’s life in his hands to make a trip. These old posts may yet be seen along the road to the south of the Moore residence. Here about thirty settlers and their families spent many anxious days and nights. The greatest danger was from the Coeur d’Alene Indians of the north joining their forces with those of the wily leader of the Nez Perces and making a raid on the settlers, who were very poorly supplied with arms and more poorly supplied with ammunition. But through the efforts of their chief, who was always peace-ably disposed toward the whites, and the timely assistance of the good Father Cataldo, the mission priest, they were held in check. In the meantime the United States troops and volunteers pressed the hos-tile Joseph and his warriors so hard that they re-treated across the old Lo-Lo trail to Montana, where they were finally captured. The very scarcity of settlers in this section caused the savages to turn their attention southward toward Grangeville and Mount Idaho, where there were more scalps and plunder to be obtained. By way of digression one little incident of this war may be mentioned, as it concerns one of the most estimable ladies of Moscow who was also one of our earliest pioneers. Herself, husband and little child, a boy about ten years of age, and another settler and family were fleeing from near the southern portion of the county to Mount Idaho for a place of safety. En route they were surrounded by a band of the bloodthirsty cut-throats and at the first fire her husband fell, mortally wounded. Calling his little son to his side he told him to slip away if possible and go for assistance. The little fellow succeeded in eluding the savages and made his way to Mount Idaho, thirty miles distant. Early next morning a score of avenging settlers arrived at the scene of the fight, but too late except to succor his mother, who had been shot through both limbs and left for dead; the others had all been killed. Tenderly she was conveyed to the settlement and in time recovered from her wounds. She has since married and Mrs. Eph. Bunker is known and respected by all. Her little boy is now a man, and who is better known to the boys who call him friend than Hill Norton?
The first sawmill in the Paradise valley was about six miles northeast of Moscow, owned by Stewart & Beach, but it was soon moved away. Just at the close of the Nez Perce war, R. H. Barton, our present efficient postmaster, arrived in the Palouse country, bringing with him a portable sawmill, which he hauled all the way from Corine, Utah, with an ox team. He settled in the foothills six miles east of Moscow and here, together with S. J, Langdon and Jack Kump, succeeded, after many difficulties, in manufacturing lumber late in the fall of 1878.
In the meantime Hi Epperly bought out the interest of Kump who returned to Utah, and these three men continued in the business over two years, sawing all the lumber used in Moscow at that time, including the lumber used in building our first hotel, erected by Mr. Barton. On the same ground where stood the Barton House, afterward burned down, there now stands that magnificent structure known as “The Moscow.”
By this time several had pitched their tents in Moscow, among them Curtis and Maguire, who had wandered here distributing eyeglasses among the members of our little community, collecting thereon their usual commission. Attracted by the many natural advantages of the locality, they built a little box house where the Moscow National Bank building now stands, and were ready for business, St. George Richards had also built on the lot just south of Miss Farris’ millinery store, and kept a stock of drugs in the front room. The stock consisted principally of a barrel of old Bourbon and a few bottles of Hostetter’s stomach bitters.
Early in the spring of the following year W. J. McConnell our ex-governor, visited Moscow and. impressed with the richness of the country and its future possibilities, bought out Mr. Curtis and went into partnership with Mr. Maguire, under the firm name of McConnell, Maguire & Company. This new firm at once proceeded to erect a large and commodious store on the corner of Second and Main streets, where now stands the Moscow National Bank. The store was one hundred and twenty feet deep, with a thirty-foot frontage, and was stocked with fifty thou-sand dollars’ worth of goods. The people in the surrounding country were greatly encouraged at the sight of this, at that time, mammoth store, and from that time on the town began to grow rapidly. When this store was complete, Moscow had the immense population of twenty-five. The news of the great store at Moscow spread everywhere and people from all parts of the Potlatch and Palouse country flocked to Moscow to do their trading, and it is no exaggeration to say that to no other men living in Moscow is the town so much indebted for its present size and flourishing condition as to ex-Governor McConnell and J. H. Maguire. Dr. H. B. Blake. Moscow’s first physician, and the Rev. Dr. Taylor arrived during the year 1878, and James Shields and John Kanaley came in the fall. John Henry Warmouth had started a hotel on the present site of the U. S. Store, and also kept whisky for “medical purposes.” Shields and Kanaley boarded with him; Splawn and Howard had built a saloon where the Commercial Bank building now stands, and A. A. J. Frye had a small house on the present site of the Commercial Hotel, and “Hog” Clark kept a butcher shop on the lot now occupied by the drug store of Hodgins & Rees. They often amused themselves by shooting holes through the ceiling of Howard’s saloon or taking a shot at the whisky bottles on the rude shelves, and by way of variation Scott Clark would proceed to paint the town red until someone would yell “Indians” when Clark would at once subside. The next summer, that of 1879, there were but three families living in Moscow. R. H. Barton had moved to the north Palouse and engaged in the sawmill business with Jerry Biddison, leaving Dr. Reeder, Asbury Lieuallen and A. A. J. Frye to hold the fort. While Barton was living in Moscow, and before he went to the Palouse, he had been keeping boarders; Johnson’s family had in the meantime come out from the east and were working with Biddison on the Palouse, and so when Barton went to Palouse to go into the sawmill he sent the Johnsons to Moscow to attend to the boarding house, which they did till the spring of 1880, when one morning Barton got up and found the dam had washed out and all his logs floated down the river to Palouse City. Being disgusted with the turn affairs had taken, he came back to Moscow and built the old Barton House and also a livery stable, where the handsome Skatteboe brick now stands. The old wooden building was moved back and became a part of the Red Front stables. Moscow did not grow much during the summer of 1879. James Shields had gone into the implement business in a building later occupied by Kelly & Allen, and this was afterwad torn down to make room for the handsome brick in which the James Shields Company now have their quarters. When he opened business he had in- stock two wagons, half a dozen plows and a second-hand standing plow-coulter. Barton bought the coulter for what he would have to pay for a first-class breaking-plow nowadays and traded for one wagon which he in turn traded to Splawn for the house and lot adjoining his being a portion of the ground now occupied by the Hotel Moscow. About this time C. & M. C. Moore built the Peerless, after-ward the Moscow, roller mill, which was located just west of the ball park and was destroyed by fire about four years ago. This, together with the noted McConnell & Maguire’s store, gave the town a start, and it has been growing ever since, except in 1884, when Moscow became almost bankrupt, owing to the collapse of Villard and the failure to complete the railroad into the growing city. Before this the residents of Moscow and vicinity had to go to Palouse City for flour, and of course that diverted from this place a great deal of trade that rightly belonged here.
People who come to our city today have but little conception of the hardships and difficulties which fell to the lot of the early settlers. All the grain had to be hauled to Wawawai and shipped by boat down the Snake River, and all other products had to be sent the same way. Freight rates were exorbitant and prices for grain were low, while everything brought in was almost worth its weight in money. Had this not been one of the richest and most productive countries in the world, every one would have been bankrupt. But Moscow continued to steadily increase in population and wealth till 1890 when her position as one of the leading cities of the state was assured. From that date to the summer of 1893 was witnessed a prosperous and growing city and a happy and con-tented people, and these three years will long be remembered as the time during which Moscow reached the high-water mark of prosperity. Everybody made money and everyone had money, and the volume of business transacted here during that period was enormous. Among the great business enterprises which were rapidly building up fortunes for their owners at that time may be mentioned the elegantly furnished and palatial store of the McConnell-Maguire Company, who had built up a business which any Chicago or New York house might justly have been proud of; the magnificent establishment of Dernham & Kaufmann on the southeast corner of Main and Third, they carrying at that time a one hundred thousand dollar stock, the largest amount of goods in any store in the Palouse or Potlatch country; the mammoth business of the M. J. Shields Company, which taxed to its utmost capacity their three-story brick, with its one hundred and sixty foot frontage; this company was also owner of the electric-light plant which lighted the city, the Moscow planing mill, which gave employment to fifty skilled mechanics, and was, besides, interested in five large grain warehouses outside of Moscow; and the Chicago Bargain House, an exclusive dry-goods store owned by Messrs. Creighton & Company who had just moved into their new and commodious quarters in the Skatteboe block. Many other lesser business houses and corporations, too numerous to mention at this point, were flourishing and all combined to make Moscow one of the wealthy cities of the northwest, and the wealthiest in Idaho. With individuals and with cities prosperity is no test of stability, and it was destined that Moscow should pass through the refining and crucial test of adversity, crop failures, and business depression before we could prove to the world and to ourselves that the superstructure we had reared was as solid and permanent as the foundations laid by the pioneers of the ’70s. In the fall of 1893 a long continued wet season caused almost the entire loss of our staple product, the wheat crop, and to make matters worse there was a complete demoralization in prices on all products. Wheat dropped from eighty-five cents per bushel to fifty cents, then down lower and lower till it seemed that it would be a drug on the market. Debtors were absolutely unable to meet their obligations, the farmer had no money to pay his bills, the smaller concerns could not settle their accounts with the wholesale houses and money could not be borrowed, even though giltedge security was offered. The panic spread to large cities, and business houses of long standing and established credit toppled and fell into ruins, carrying with them many smaller firms. Banks everywhere were compelled to close their doors. In Portland there were seven bank failures recorded in one day. A number of our business houses were driven to the wall, but the most far reaching failure of all was that of one of our largest and most important establishments, the McConnell-Maguire Company. In 1894 and 1895 wheat was quoted in Moscow as low as twenty-three cents per bushel, and it seemed as though universal bankruptcy was inevitable, but the pendulum of adversity had reached the lowest point of its arc and slowly but steadily it swung onward and upward to better prices and better times, and we had time to draw a long breath and find out “where we were at.” One fact patent to all was that, though some of our strongest props had crumbled and fallen, yet Moscow was still here, and, though tried in the crucible off hard times, had maintained her title as the Queen City of northern Idaho. In 1896 an abundant crop, with prices of our staple product touching seventy cents per bushel, brushed away the last traces of depression. Along all lines was seen unusual activity, old debts were cancelled, old scores straightened up and new business houses opened and old ones enlarged their quarters. Moscow has truly proven that, unspoiled by prosperity, she can, unscathed, withstand the “slings and arrows” of adversity.
The county seat of Latah, and with a population of five thousand, Moscow stands to-day the gem city of the northwest and is an educational center of unsurpassed facilities with her public schools and the University of Idaho (described elsewhere in this volume). Nowhere in the northwest can be found a more thriving town. Its location is favorable to its rapid growth and development, its site being both healthful and accessible to the surrounding country. The principal business center is on Main Street. To stand at the north end of this principal street and look south without having a knowledge of the population of the city, one would think, judging from the palatial business brick buildings to be seen, that it might be a city of ten or fifteen thousand people.
Socially speaking, Moscow has no equal in the northwest, for it is a city of cultured ladies and beautiful, rosy-cheeked maidens. During the long winter months there is no dearth of amusements, musicals, social dancing parties, theater parties, etc., follow each other in rapid succession, and the stranger within our walls is always sure of a pleasant time and a hearty welcome. There are to be seen here neither “finicky” cliques that make life a misery in many of the smaller cities nor the chilly exclusiveness to be found in a metropolis. Thus it may be seen that Moscow is a very desirable place to live. We have two railroads, the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company’s line and the Northern Pacific. (The Moscow & Eastern Railroad Company has been organized (1899) and will soon build its line, which will tap the vast white-pine timber belt of Idaho, in which it is estimated there is 1,293,000.000 feet of lumber. This road will be an immense accession to Moscow’s prosperity.) The city is well supplied with the purest water, free from all organic and deleterious matter and derived from artesian wells situated within the city limits. The climate is delightful and healthful, and within a short drive of mountain or forest is situated our beautiful city. These are environments especially appreciated by invalids and convalescents, and the benefits derived from a residence amid this diversity of scenes is incalculable. No epidemic has ever visited us, and no prevailing disease makes its home here. It is a matter of fact that the longevity attained by many of our citizens is greater in proportion to our population than in other places. We are fanned by airs untainted by malaria and we have sunshine and shadow in sufficient quantity to suit the most fastidious. Between the months of March and October the rainfall is much less than during the remaining months, when we have an abundance of rain and snow, often enjoying the finest of sleighing, and the tinkle, tinkle of the merry bells may be heard night and day for several weeks at a time. Our average temperature is about fifty degrees, the thermometer seldom registering ten degrees below zero in the winter or higher than ninety degrees in the summer. The “Chinooks.” or warm winds, during the spring rapidly melt the snow, which carries in its bosom a fruitful and refreshing fullness to the soil. Finally. Moscow is a natural distributing point and has a class of business men who always work in harmony and concert for the upbuilding of all her interests, and she is destined to become a great manufacturing center, which will increase her population, her wealth, her prestige and make her a power and producer among the great cities of the northwest.
The newspapers of Moscow are duly considered in the chapter devoted to the press of the state.
Moscow’s first schoolhouse was built in 1878, just beyond the south Palouse. It was known as the Maguire schoolhouse. In the fall of that year R. H. Barton was engaged to teach, and district No. 5 was supplied with its first educational facilities. But this location was not satisfactory to the inhabitants of Moscow, it being nearly a mile from the one store the village contained, so a petition was circulated to move it in closer. It was finally decided to settle the matter by a vote to be held at the schoolhouse, as the country people did not wish to change its location, on the ground that it was easier to move the town to the schoolhouse. It seemed, as though their wishes would prevail, as there were many more votes from the country than from the town. But Asbury Lieuallen threw off his coat and rustled around among the floating population and by running a free ‘bus all day between his store and the polls, carried the election. John Russell donated a piece of ground, and a new building was put up on the present location of the Russell school. It was not long before the young and growing city found that this building was entirely too small, and those interested in the welfare of Moscow early gave consideration to the erection of a public-school building capable of affording accommodation to the school children then residents of the village, making some allowance for any increase that might take place. Silas Imbler, one of Moscow’s beneficent citizens, donated a splendid piece of land on which to place the proposed building. The site is most centrally located in the northeastern portion of the city. At the time of which we are writing it was admirably suited to the convenience of the residents, being equidistant from all. The new building, finished in 1883, was capable of accommodating one hundred and twenty pupils, and was thought to be of sufficient size to meet all the requirements for the next decade. In the meantime reports as to the richness of the country and the productiveness of the soil began to go abroad, with the result that the country began rapidly to settle, and Moscow, with the neighboring district, began to take the leading place in northern Idaho, so that in 1889 the trustees of the public-school found it necessary to procure additional school accommodations. They immediately set to work, had plans prepared, and soon the contract was let for the erection of the present Russell school. The cost of this structure was sixteen thousand dollars, making in all twenty-two thousand dollars for school buildings. No pains were spared to make this school second to none in the state. In this endeavor the trustees received the hearty endorsement of the citizens of Moscow. The school furniture is all of the most modern and improved manufacture. The interior of the building is so arranged that each department can be reached with the least possible confusion. The different rooms are so located that each grade can depart from the building with-out intruding on the province of, or coming in con-tact with, members of other departments, thus avoiding the slightest confusion. This is borne out by the fact that the entire school, numbering over four hundred pupils, has vacated the building in less than thirty seconds. On the 3d day of July 1890, Idaho was admitted into the Union and since that time the state has experienced a steady increase in population. Moscow continued to keep the lead, so much so that during the seven months of the last school term of 1892, in spite of her new school building, she was compelled to rent a place of worship and to utilize it for a school in which to place over fifty of her children. Many thought this state of affairs would not continue longer than the end of the term but on the reassembling of the school in the fall it was found that the same state of affairs existed, thus making it necessary for the trustees to secure another temporary building. This was found to be impossible, so a new room was fitted up on the present site and the building, on south Main street now occupied by Emery’s photograph gallery, was rented and as many children placed therein as could be accommodated. In spite, however, of the most strenuous efforts the school began again to be overcrowded. It was clearly seen that one of two things had to be done either to overcrowd the building they had, thus making it impossible for the teachers to do justice to the children, or to purchase property and erect another building to serve the purpose of a high school, thus taking from the Russell school those pupils who had passed the curriculum prescribed by the board and were prepared to enter a higher grade and more advanced course of study. They chose the latter course, and purchased a tract on Third Street for which they paid about four thousand dollars. The plans had already been prepared and the contract was let for over twenty thousand dollars, exclusive of school furniture and heating apparatus. This building, as finished, is of hard brick, with a stone foundation. It is fitted up with the most modern improvements and is constructed according to the most approved principles, both for sanitary arrangements and ventilation. Although the capacity of this school is four hundred and twenty-five pupils, the same old trouble has been worrying the trustees for the last two years.
The two large school buildings have been crowded to their utmost, as well as a smaller building occupied exclusively by primary pupils.
The schools are divided into eleven grades, each in charge of an experienced and competent teacher. The greatest care is exercised by our trustees in selecting teachers, and none but those who show a mastery of the subjects essential to a sound education, and also an adaptation to teach, find a place in our public schools.
The University of Idaho is located in Moscow and is an institution which is a credit to the state. It is fully described on other pages of this work.
The Presbyterian church of Moscow was organized January 25, 1880, by the Rev. Daniel Gamble, who served the church only about a year. The society is in most excellent working condition and has taken a place as one of the leading churches of Moscow.
The First Baptist church of Moscow was organized August 6, 1876, at Paradise Valley school-house by Rev. S. E. Stearns, who supplied the church once a month as the pastor for about two years. The old church, built in 1878, was for some years the only house of worship in the town. In 1897, feeling the need of more room, the old building was torn down and a handsome edifice erected in its place.
The Christian Church was organized in the old Maguire schoolhouse by Elder D. B. Matheny and in this vicinity he was the first to preach the gospel as taught by the people known as the Disciples of Christ. Fifteen years ago Elder C. J. Wright reorganized the work in Moscow and built up a membership of over two hundred. After his departure the work ceased and the church practically disbanded till the winter of 1888, when Elder William McDonald again reorganized, and continued to preach till the following June. In the spring of 1890 Elder William F. Caroden took charge and perfected the organization. In 1891 a church edifice was erected and services were first held in it on February 14 of that year by Elder L. Rogers assisted by James Sargent, since which time there has been a constant growth in membership.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Moscow was organized August 8, 1881, by Rev. Calvin M. Bryan, with a membership of about twenty. After a two-years pastorship he was succeeded by Rev. Theodore Hoagland, by whom their first church was built, in 1883-4, on a tract of land donated by Henry McGregor. The society has an excellent edifice and also a parsonage.
The Episcopal Church was established by the Rev. Mr, Gill in 1888. Previous to this time, however. Rev. J. D. McConkey, who was located at Lewiston, made a number of visits to Moscow and preached here in the interest of this church. The present church was built about the year 1892.
The Swedish Lutheran Church was organized about 1886 by Rev., P. J. Carlson, who had charge of this work till 1891. During this time the present church was erected.
The Norwegian Methodist Church was established in 1886 by the Rev. Carl Erickson, and the present place of worship was built about 1888.
The Catholic Church of Moscow was organized in 1882 by Father Teomitie. Their present building was erected in 1886 by Father Hartleib.
The Dunkards have an organization here and a house of worship, but we have been unable to secure the data in regard to its early history.
The Seventh Day Adventist’s church was organized in 1890 and a building erected by Rev. Scoles.
Resources Of Latah County
In writing a history of the thriving city of Moscow, it is necessary to speak of the varied resources of the surrounding country, of which it is the principal receiving and distributing center. Latah county contains within its limits the most favored section of what is known as the famous Palouse country, widely known for its genial climate, picturesque scenery and wonderful productiveness of soil. The western and southern portions of the county are a rolling prairie under thorough cultivation. The products are wheat, flax, barley, oats, beans, hay, fruit and vegetables. At the present time the cereals are the principal crops, although the other products are encroaching each year upon the grain acreage and gradually reducing it. The fruit industry is yet in its infancy, but is growing with great rapidity. In the southern portion of the county, where the altitude is the lowest, the orchards are more advanced, having been planted earlier, but in the remote northern part peaches have been raised very successfully and the yield of apples, pears, prunes, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and the smaller fruits is certain and simply enormous. The trees, unless securely propped, break down almost every year with the weight of their yield. All this part of Latah county, contiguous to Moscow is an empire within itself and constitutes one of the richest agricultural countries in the world. Wheat aver-ages thirty-five bushels per acre, barley and oats forty to fifty, and flax fifteen to twenty bushels. By careful cultivation there are many who produce greater yields than the average. In this section no irrigation whatever is required, the natural rainfall being always sufficient to insure bounteous crops without the expense of establishing an artificial water system.
Within the confines of Latah county is the greater part of the largest body of white pine now standing in the United States. So far as the examinations have gone it is estimated that this body of timber contains the enormous amount of two billion feet of white pine and five billion feet of other timber consisting of yellow pine, tamarack, red and white fir, and cedar. The title of the greater portion of these timberlands is vested in the state for the benefit of educational and charitable institutions. On some of
Prominent Cities and Towns of the State
it claims have been located and the rest is subject to homestead and timber entry. If this body of timber stood in any state east of the Mississippi river there would not be a quarter section left vacant, but here all is different. Well worn trails traverse this dense forest in every direction but their only travelers are the restless prospectors with their outfits seeking a phantom Klondyke and passing carelessly by the sure fortune that capital will in the near future glean from this valuable tract. The importance and necessity of opening up this vast timber region to the manufacturer, and the great advantages and benefits that would necessarily accrue to this city have of late be-come so apparent to the business men of Moscow and vicinity that steps have been taken for the early construction of a railroad to and through this forest of untold value, upon no tree of which the lumberman’s ax has yet fallen. A company has been incorporated under the name of the Moscow & Eastern Railway Company and a survey made from our city to the timber belt. This proposed road when completed will traverse the forest for a distance of thirty miles, thus affording good mill-sites along any portion of this distance. Ten sawmills can be located along this line, with an annual output of lumber that could be safely reckoned at fifty million feet. In addition to this there would be a large amount of wood, ties, shingles, etc., prepared for market.
Long before this county was considered adapted to the pursuit of agriculture, successful mining was carried on within its confines. As far back as the ’60s we have record of placer claims having been worked along our different water courses. Besides rich deposits of gold and silver, there are also valuable mica and opal mines within its limits. It may not be known to all that the Idaho exhibit of opals, that attracted such widespread attention at the World’s Fair, came from Latah county.
In 1881 a mine of mica was discovered about thirty miles from Moscow by J. T. Woody, and in a short time a number of other locations were made in the same vicinity. The principal placer mines in the county are situated in the Hoodoo district, which has been worked for the last thirty-five years. Other mines being worked successfully are on Jerome creek. Swamp creek. Gold creek and many others and in Howard gulch. Garden gulch, Crumrine gulch and others on Moscow Mountain. The first quartz mill in the county was operated on a ledge on Moscow Mountain and owned by Dr. Worthington and D. C. Mitchell. In 1896 a mill was started in the Daisy mine on Jerome creek, which is now on a paying basis. On Ruby creek is a most valuable gold and silver mine called the Silver King. For years gold has been taken from the ledges of Moscow Mountain by the arastra process, and if this mountain of wealth was situated in some remote locality, difficult of access it would be considered a veritable Klondyke. The Gold Bug, Golden Gate and the Big Ledge are the principal mines now being worked there.
Oneida county was organized August 2, 1865, and then embraced all of southeastern Idaho from Utah to Montana, and contained, in whole or in part, the counties of Cassia, Bear Lake, Bingham, Bannock and Fremont. In 1884 the present county of Oneida was organized, and it contains thirty-two hundred and seventy-six square miles, two-fifths of it being adapted to farming purpose, while the remainder is used for grazing or is mountainous land. Malad City, now the county seat, was incorporated in 1896 and now has an excellent mayor and board of trustees. It was settled in 1864 by Henry Peck, Louis Gaulter, William H. Thomas and Benjamin Thomas, who came here with their families, but all have now passed away. There are now about eighteen hundred people in Malad, two-thirds of the population being representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They have a large and costly tabernacle, and the Presbyterians also have a church and school. The Josephites, or reorganized church of Latter Day Saints, likewise have a chapel. An independent school district has been formed in the city and a large and commodious schoolhouse is now in course of erection. There are six general mercantile stores, two drug stores, two meat markets, a bank, two blacksmith shops and a large roller-process, water-power flouring mill, with a daily capacity of fifty barrels. There is also a large new creamery for the manufacture of butter and cheese, and a rag-carpet weaving factory completes the list of the business industries. The courthouse is a frame building, well adapted to the purposes for which it is intended, and the city also supports a good weekly newspaper, the Enterprise. Collingsworth, the nearest railway station, is thirty-five miles distant, and Malad City is situated in a beautiful valley which is about ten by fifteen miles in extent, containing one hundred thousand acres of rich farming land, well watered. Grain and hay are raised in abundance, and cattle and sheep raising are leading industries among the inhabitants.
The attractive village of Juliaetta is located in Latah county, on the Potlatch River, and its rail-road facilities are those afforded by the Moscow-Lewiston branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The town .was founded and platted by Robert Schupfer, who had entered from the government, in 1878 the quarter section of land upon which the village is located. He had improved his farm, having built thereon a house, located within one-fourth of a mile from the present business section of the town. The first house in Juliaetta was built by Perry Thomas, and the place now has a population of five hundred. It has a fine large public-school building, while the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches have attractive edifices. The German Lutherans also hold services in the village. Industrially the place has four well stocked general merchandise stores, a furniture store, a bank, a brewery, a bakery, two livery stables and a good roller-process flouring mill. This mill is operated by water power, which is supplied by the Potlatch River, which here flow-s swiftly in a narrow channel, affording a fine power, adequate for all demands which may be placed upon it by future industrial enterprises. The town has a well managed hotel, owned and conducted by Charles Snyder, who had the honor of naming the village. He had a ranch near by, and there he succeeded in having a post-office established, naming the same after his two pretty daughters, Julia and Etta, hence the name of the town, Juliaetta, since he eventually removed the post-office to the town, where he opened a store, and the little village naturally assumed the cognomen of the post-office. The place is beautifully situated on the banks of the river, amid the hills, which add to its healthfulness and picturesque appearance. It receives its support from a wide range of excellent agricultural lands, on which large crops of wheat, oats, flax, hay and fine fruits are raised each year. The town was incorporated in 1892, its first board of trustees having the following personnel: Robert Shupfer, J. E. Halleck, F. P. Seigler, T. H. Carither and Charles Snyder. The present board is com-posed of Messrs. J. R. Collins, F. Earnest, J. L. Whettid, D. H. Sutherland and M. P. Stevens, the last mentioned being the clerk of the board as well as editor of the Juliaetta Register, to which due reference is made in the chapter on the press of the state. Of the fraternal organizations the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is represented here by a lodge and an adjunct of Daughters of Rebekah, while there are also lodges of Knights of Pythias and Star of Bethlehem.
The town in Idaho known by this name is situated on the Oregon Short Line Railroad, in Bannock County, deriving its name from a large number of mineral springs in the place and in the vicinity, in most of which soda is present in a large proportion. The medicinal properties of these springs have been found of great value in the treatment of many of the diseases from which humanity suffers.
The first settlement of the place, in 1863, was made by a small colony of dissenters from the Brigham Young Church of Jesus Christ of Lat-ter Day Saints. The devout people who were the first settlers of Soda Springs were followers of young Joseph Smith and differed materially in their religious ideas from the main body of the church, and because of their alleged disbelief were driven out of Utah. They appealed to General Conners, at Fort Douglas, for assistance, and he with a military guard conveyed them to “Old Town” Soda Springs, supplied them with rations, and left Captain Black with a small detachment of soldiers to protect them. A treaty was effected with the Indians, who agreed not to molest them. They were very destitute and undoubtedly would have perished had it not been for the rations given them by the soldiers. General Conners had the land surveyed and allotted to about fifty families who had located here at this time, but later most of the families went away, one by one, and became scattered, and of that band of pioneer settlers there now remain in the town only Nels Anderson and his wife. William Bowman and Mrs. C. Eliason.
The town has now about six hundred and fifty inhabitants. It is surrounded by a wide extent of farming and grazing lands, and is a point where extensive shipping of sheep and cattle is done. It has a mineral-water bottling works, the water shipped from this place being considered equal in medicinal effectiveness to any mineral water in the world. There are two church edifices in the town, one owned by the Latter Day Saints and the other by the Presbyterians, the latter a very cozy stone edifice, surrounded by shade trees. There are six general merchandise stores in the town, all doing a good business, and those that have been there the longest have met with excellent success. There is a waterpower saw and planing mill there, as one of the leading industries. The town has four hotels, one of which is large and pretentious, two drug stores and two physicians.
Mrs. C. Eliason, one of the few remaining first settlers of Idaho Springs, gives this account of the manner in which the town came to be settled: A number of Latter Day Saints at Salt Lake City refused to obey the mandates of President Brigham Young, and formed what is called the Re-organized Church of the Latter Day Saints. They planned and founded the church after the teaching of the junior Joseph Smith, the son of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The leader of the new organization was Joseph Morris, and its councilor was a Mr. Banks. They, with about three hundred men, women and children, left Salt Lake City, determined to worship God after their own hearts. Going into camp at South Weberg, a short distance from Ogden, they were attacked by seven to eight hundred men from Salt Lake City. They defended themselves until six of their number were killed and many wounded, and their ammunition expended. They sent out a flag of truce, and the attacking party came to the camp, led by Mr. Burton, who asked Mr. Morris whether he would give up his opposition to the authority of Young. Mr. Morris answered, “Never!” “Then,” Mr. Burton replied, “we will try your God.” Mr. Morris asked to be allowed to speak, and, the permission granted, he said: “I have taught only the truth, whether you will receive it or not.” Without further words Burton shot him! A lady who stood by Mr. Morris and who tried to take his part was also shot: and they also shot Mr. Banks, the councilor. Mrs. Bowman had said, “Why did you kill that man? you bloodthirsty hound!” Burton replied, “No woman can call me that and live,” and he shot and killed her also. They then took the rest of the men prisoners to Salt Lake City, kept them a day and then released them, and they returned to their camp. “They were ordered off from there,” continues Mrs. Eliason, “and they were a poor, outcast people.”
After the fight everything they had was taken and confiscated, and they could not maintain their organization against such disadvantages: and the men scattered and sought work wherever they could get anything to do. The following spring General Conners came to Fort Douglas, and to him they went for help: and he furnished teams and moved them to what is now called Old Town Soda Springs. There he had a survey made and gave small allotments of land, and they dug holes in the ground and covered them with brush, and lived in them, in great destitution. A small detachment of soldiers under Captain Black was left to protect them, and their captain made a treaty with the Bannack Indians to let them live there in peace. Had it not been for rations supplied by the soldiers many of them must have starved.
This little company of soldiers staid with the colony for about two years. After a time the colony broke up, some members going to Car-son valley, some to Washington territory, or Montana, and some back to Salt Lake City. Those who remained built log houses and began to live in comparative comfort. Mrs. Eliason’s husband Arick Eliason, raised a few cattle. With a scythe he cut a quantity of wild hay and sold it for four hundred dollars, and that gave them their first little start. From emigrants who passed that way to Montana or to Boise basin, they bought a pair of oxen, for one hundred and sixty dollars, and a wagon, for one hundred dollars. After this Mr. Eliason cut tar-wood in the mountains and made tar, which he took to Cache valley and exchanged for provisions and other necessaries; and from this time his fortunes im-proved, and by hard work and indefatigable industry he became comparatively well off. He died in 1893, aged seventy-six years.
Mr. and Mrs. Eliason were natives of Sweden and were converted there to the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They arrived at Salt Lake on the 5th of October, 1860. Mr. Eliason took up a ground ranch near Soda Springs and bought land in Montana, and in 1898 his widow built a nice little cottage in Soda Springs, where she now resides in peace and comfort. She has had six children, namely: Caroline, who became the wife of Ed. Culvert; Annie, now Mrs. Henry Smith: Joseph, John, Isaac and Jacob. Most of these sons are now-well-to-do farmers. Mrs. Eliason is seventy years of age.
Franklin is the oldest town in Idaho. It is located in Oneida county in the beautiful Cache valley, about one mile north of the Utah state line, and on a branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad about one hundred miles north of Salt Lake City. When this great state was unpeopled save by the wild sons of the forest a company of brave and faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made their way to the “Gem of the Mountains,” arriving at the present site of Franklin, April 14, 1860. Around them spread the lovely valley, and nature seemed to have provided all that man deems necessary to livelihood. The honored patriarchs, Samuel Rose Parkinson and Thomas Smart, both still residing in the town, together with a Mr. Anderson, were appointed to survey the town, and having no compasses they took God’s sure guide, the north star, whereby they laid out the lines of the village. About fifty families took up their residence here in 1860, and the distribution of land was by lot, five acres of meadow, ten acres of upland and an acre and a quarter in the village were given to each man, whose ground was assigned to him by lot, and the greatest harmony prevailed throughout the distribution. The band of pioneers built modest little log houses in the form of a hollow square, the backs forming part of the walls of the fort. For some time a guard was kept, for fear of Indian attack. The days brought privations and hardships, but the little colony had the most implicit faith in God, and with great energy they began the task of earning a living and making homes in the wild region. They made ditches to convey the water to their lands, and not forgetful of the intellectual needs, in the fall of i860, they built a little log schoolhouse, the first institution of learning in this great commonwealth. There they also held their religious services, and prayers and songs of praise arose to the God they worshiped. Those pioneer days, however, have long since passed, and the Latter Day Saints have erected a large and well furnished tabernacle, which is surrounded by a grove of beautiful trees, and the Presbyterians have also built a nice little church. The school district is now erecting a large brick schoolhouse; a beautiful square has been set aside to serve as a park, and progress and beauty are seen on every hand. Fine shade trees abound, and almost every home is surrounded by some beautiful specimens of these monarchs of the forest.
In 1874 the railroad was built, the church urging the settlers along the line to aid in making the grade, so that they contributed materially to the success of the enterprise which has thus brought Franklin into close connection with the outside world. A large shipping business is now carried on, sheep, cattle and produce being exported in large quantities. Most of the citizens are farmers, having their homes in the village, with farms near the corporation. The town has a fine large stone roller-process mill, with a capacity of one hundred and twenty-five barrels: an excellent butter and cheese factory; an extensive union store and several smaller ones, and is enjoying a prosperous existence. The people have remained true to the faith of their fathers, almost ninety per cent of the six or seven hundred inhabitants being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Preston is an enterprising business center, with a population of fifteen hundred, and is located at the upper end of the beautiful and fertile Cache valley, one hundred and ten miles north of Salt Lake City. Railroad communication is obtained through a branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The town was platted in 1885 by William Parkinson, John Larson and Augustus Canfield, and the post-office was established about the same time. The growth of the place has been continuous and healthy, and Preston is now the best business center of Oneida county, having many excellent enterprises and commercial establishments. There is a large wagon, carriage and farm implement store, three extensive and prosperous general mercantile stores, a clothing store, a harness shop and store, two hotels and other places of business usually found in a progressive town of the west. There are also two good newspapers. The town is surrounded by a broad and rich farming country, peopled by a thrifty, intelligent and successful class of agriculturists, who do business in Preston, both as purchasers and shippers. The attractive residences of the town are surrounded by lovely shade trees and Preston is justly celebrated for its beauty.
About ninety per cent of the inhabitants are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and they have erected a large church and a splendid stake academy, the latter built at a cost of nearly fifty thousand dollars. Preston also supports a well equipped and uniformed company of the Idaho State Militia, known as Company B, and composed of forty-five of the representative young men of the place. There is also a good district school in Preston, and the people are an intelligent, enterprising and progressive class, readily supporting all measures and movements for the public good.