Being a discourse on Idaho - her history, her people, her cities, her sports, her industries and her prosperity - with the intention of portraying the background that gives rise to her happy homes and energetic citizenry and of tracing her industrial development to the substantial foundation on which her present era of prosperity rests. All indications point to continued growth and development.

The year of 1929 has seen Idaho advance one full stride nearer the realization of the hopes and dreams that buoyed up the pioneer settlers through years of hardship and toil.

What We Were and What We Are

IDAHO - Gem of the Mountains! America's Switzerland. A land of purple and gold. A veritable homeland. The home of happiness. The home of natural beauty.

Such majestic mountains. Such regal peaks. Such azure skies. Such marvelous sunsets. Such mighty rivers. Such dazzling water-falls. Such beautiful forests. Such an assemblage of wild flowers. Idaho - Nature in her most artistic mood.

A strong country. A stern country. A lovely country. A country to be conquered - by the brave. A country of tremendous wealth - for the faithful. A country that endears - the hardy and adventurous.

Pine and fir and spruce. Great timber lands. Bear and deer and elk and moose. Virgin wilderness. Trout by the thousands. Rippling waters. Mossy banks. Carpets of needles. Game trails. Shade and sweet breezes.

A seat of industry. Farm lands. Irrigated acres. Grains. Vegetables. Seed. Bands of sheep. Wool. Mutton. Herds of cattle. Beef Hides. Tallow. Flocks of turkeys. Pens of swine. Pork. Sausage. Spare-ribs. Factories. Sugar. Lumber. Cement. Dairy cattle. Butter. Milk. Cheese, Mining. Gold. Silver. Copper. Lead. Zinc. Mica.

A place of happiness. Dancing. Parties. Hiking. Motoring. Fishing. Hunting. Camping. Picnicking. Theatres. Music. Singing. riding. The good things of life. Prosperity. Health. Love. Beauty. Joy.

Idaho - still a comparatively young state. Shunned by early homeseekers because of its rough and unrelenting geographic mien. They hurried by mineral wealth, timber and soil as valuable or even more so than that which was their goal.

Vast snow-capped mountain ranges, scorched barren deserts - Idaho held forth but little promise. Those first to come journeyed on to the Oregon land. Tales of heat and thirst in deserts, of cold and hunger in mountains they told. Years have proved they failed to recognize the masked wealth of the country.

To Idaho wilderness came in 1809 one David Thompson. A fur trader. An employee of the Northwest Trading company. The first trading post he built. On the northeast shore of Lake Pend d'Oreille. The land was rich in furs. Other companies came. Fort Hall was established in 1834. Fort Boise a short time later.

Glamourous days. Days when the reds and whites bartered. Beads for beaver. Knives for mink. Guns for fox. Velvety furs. Dollars to the trader in the fur markets. Green, blue, yellow beads and cloth. Joy in the buck's wigwam. Days of profitable trading.

But lean days came. The Indians trapped too surely. Catches dwindled. Profits dwindled. The traders shook their heads. Posts began to decay. Were abandoned. The traders left. Their task was done.

Then tranquil years. A trapper now and then. A hunter. A band of hardy explorers. The Indians feasted and starved. Dreamed of glittering glass. No furs. No glass. Worthless country - they thought. Then - GOLD! Magic metal. Gold - in large quantities. Discovered by Captain E.D. Pierce. Oro Fino creek. The news spread. A rush! A boom! A stampede! Over night the nation's mining men started. Where fur trader quit, miner began.

New discoveries. In Boise basin. By George Grimes. More discoveries. In many places. Grim, hard-nosed miners came. Daring the wilderness. Laughing at dangers. Scorning peril. Ready to fight or frolic after gold. Gold. Gold. They knew no obstacles. Not even human life - if it stood in the way.

Roaring camps boomed. Over night. Wild valleys became populated. Forested canyons were penetrated. By hunters. By prospectors. Secluded spots sprouted towns. Packers searched them out with supplies. Roads were built. Machinery was brought in. Men burrowed deep into the mountain sides.

By night they played. Fought. Caroused. In saloon. In dance hall. In gambling den. A sanguine period. Savage deeds of banditry. Marauding by predatory whites. Indian raids. Burned cabins. Scalped victims. Necktie parties. Life was cheap.

But - placer grounds were worked out. Pay dirt showed less and less. Yellow metal grew scarce. Feet began to itch. Discoveries were made elsewhere. In the Klondike. In the Yukon. Alaska's glittering called. New fields beckoned. Fickle miners left. Without a backward glance. Without regrets. Idaho's surface gold was gone. Their task was done.

A residue remained. Those rooted in the soil. Who had turned to agriculture. Who had turned to livestock. Who had fed the mining men. They had invested. Growing fields and herds of cattle were their profits. They had to stay. The country was shattered under them. Rebuild. There laid their salvation. A huge task. But they were hardy. Courageous. They started. Plans on a great foundation. The soil. Not fur. Not gold. But the annual production of the soil was to be their harvest. A wise choice - the foundation of the state's industries today. A choice that survived the changing times.

Cattle were imported. From Kansas. From Texas. From Colorado. From New Mexico. By the thousands. Driven across the plains. Little outfits grew. Big outfits thrived. Sheep came. War raged. Sheep, more economical, won.

Stock needed hay. Land needed water. Farmer needed money. Irrigation developed. Vast schemes were broached. Co-operation prevailed. Leaders emerged. Work was done. Ends were accomplished. Dreams were realized. Land received water. Hay was raised. Farmers propered. The foundation of an empire was laid.

Idaho's history is short - but glorious. It has its heroes. Its heroism. Hallowed names. Inspiring deeds. Monumental stones stand in respectful memory. Steunenberg, martyred governor. David Thompson, first trading post builder. Francis Payette, Fort Boise's first chief. The Whitmans and Spauldings, early missionaries. Chief Tendoy of the Lemhis, friend of the whites. George Grimes, discoverer of gold in Boise basin. Captain Bonneville, pituresque explorer. William Craig, Idaho's first permanent settler. These names sparkle, with hundreds of others, in deeds of courage and conviction throughout Idaho's historical pages.

One can glory in the stamina and bravery of the Indian fighters. Men who took the field during the uprisings. In the courage of Colonel Conner, whose command decisively defeated a large band of Indians under Chiefs Bear Hunter and Sagwitch at Battle creek, near the town of Franklin. In the resourcefulness of Lieutenant W.C. Brown who, with Umatilla Indian scouts and a few army sharpshooters, following the raiding Sheepeaters into the mountains and captured them.

And one can glory in the patriotism of those who sacrificed their lives to make the country secure for those who inhabit it today.

The hardships of pioneering are past. The period of experimentation is over. Idaho has definitely taken her place as a state. Her most recent hisjtory - after the last of the Indian uprisings - has been a history of development.

Developing the stat's industries to the stage where the resident might confidently expect a livelihood in return for his labor was as important to Idaho's growth and well-being as the safety of the lives of the settlers. Much of this development work has been accomplished within the last 30 years. Great irrigation schemes have been completed. Thousands of acres of sagebrush have been converted to productiveness. The livestork business has been placed on a sound basis. Mining properties have been financed and developed until the state leads in mineral production. Men with vision pushed the lumbering industry until the state is one of the principal sources of high-grade lumber in the United States. Markets have been developed for Idaho products. Idaho lambs. Idaho potatoes. Idaho beans. Idaho peas. Idaho celery.

In order to progress the young state needed leaders. Men with vision. Men with the ability and determination to overcome obstacles. But leaders were in demand. Proven qualities of leadership were not to be had at a beck and call. Especially at the beck and call of a raw state with little financial means.

Idaho was forced to develop her own leaders. Men from the rank and file with the courage and resourcefulness to carry plans to completion were to be her salvation. Such men appeared and without hesitation assumed the task of guiding the commonwealth out of the wilderness of confusion and disorganization. And Idaho's president enviable industrial edifice is ample evidence of their ability. They carried the state's battles to Washington - and won. They fought among themselves in the state capitol - and the best man won. They carried the industrial fight to the farmer and the miner and the lumberman. They onverted these men to the more scientific methods of operation. They taught them the value of soil preservation, of forest perpetuation, of mineral conservation.

The total area of Idaho is 84,313 square miles. The Salmon river divides the state into two parts - north and south. In the north are thriving mining and lumbering industries. Agriculture is the principal industry in the southern part of the state.

Things About Us

At beginning of its agriculture development the state of Idaho was sadly in need of more people. Vast irrigation projects required many settlers. there was properity for many - but little for few. To the thickly populated districts of the east the call was sounded. Come west. Come west. Come to Idaho - the land of the future.

And they came. Single and married. Young men just starting in life. Middle-aged men dissatisfied. Those with adventurous souls. From the middle west and the east they came. Bursting asunder old ties, they buried the past and hoped for the future. Teachers quit their class rooms. Clerks threw down their pens. Farmers left their fields. Professional men abandoned their practices. Bringing their hopes, courage and determination they came west.

In Idaho they found little but promise. A vast country of great possibilities - but a country still to be tamed. A country still in the raw. Yet, they were undaunted. Theirs was the privilege of founding an empire. They rolled up their sleeves. They began the task of carving for themselves a livelihood from the country.

Hardships were many. Failures frequent. Plans went awry. Canals broke. Growing crops wilted overnight. Still they stuck. Still they toiled. In the distance was their goal. Happiness and prosperity.

This was the fire which tempered Idaho's citizenry. the battle for success has indelibly stamped its character. Idaho citizens - like Idaho spuds, Idaho lambs, Idaho beans - are a product of the country. And like the potato, the lamb and the bean, the citizenry is of excellent quality.

From Kansas, from Nebraska, from the Dakotas, from the east, the middle west and the south they came. Of varied habits, accents and natures. But Idaho's melting pot has made them one.

Idaho citizenry reflects the characteristics of the state. The wide spaces are seen in our friendliness. The agreeable climate has a counterpart in our sunny natures. the lavishness of the soil is reflected in our hospitality. Our happiness can be traced to nature's joys. The mighty, awe-inspiring mountains, the great plains, the forests and the climate have joined hands in the task of human character building.

The Kansas school teacher, the New Jersey bookkeeper, the Dakota wheat grower, the Pennsylvania foundryman and the Vermont factory worker have rubbed shoulders in Idaho irrigation ditches and emerged - just Idahoans. A strong, forceful country this Idaho. It rebuilds, alters, changes its residents to fit its natural characteristics.

Idaho is a homeland. Its people are home people. Throughout the length and breadth of the state happy shouts and cries of children can be heard. Parks full of joyous youngsters. Youths courting in the twilight. Dogs and kiddies scampering on the lawns. School rooms bubbling over with enthusiasm. Touseled heads. Glowing, fresh-scrubbed faces. Big bright eyes.

Idaho people are busy people. There is much to do. Big as the country is there is but little room for idlers. From the early years has come a heritage of industry, of energy, of enthusiasm, of resourcefulness. Idaho people find happiness in their daily pursuits. And they like the good things of life. Automobiles. Comfortable homes. Conveniences. Social contacts.

Idaho is a state of many activities - some of them of widely varied natures. Pursuits of the range, the forest, mineral ground and of the cultivated fields all have their followings. And on the dress and habits of men are indelibly stamped in many instances their respective vocations.

Distinct types in Idaho are the lumberjack, the sheepherder, the sheep owner, the cowman, the miner, the prospector, the trapper, the forest ranger, the agriculturist.

With his high-topped caulked shoes and checked jacket the logger can be spotted blocks away. He walks with the spraddle-legged stride of a man who puts his feet in untried places. The sheepherder - droll, dusty, bewhiskered and followed by his dogs. A man of little speech, accustomed to the solitudes of the range. The sheep owner - quick, clear-eyed, with corduroy clothes and inevitable stiff-brimmed hat - driving big cars along rough desert roads and dangerous mountain grades at neck-breaking pace. The cowman, with his rolled-brim 10-gallon hat and his high-heeled boots and legs that bend outward at the knees. Theminer - dirt begrimed overalls, ribbed rubber shoes, water-proof hat with carbide lamp attached. The old prospector - grizzled and bent, with his saddle horse and pack mule, seeking gold. The trapper - slouched hat, overalls, hunting boots and the unmistageable odor that comes from much handling of fur-bearing carcasses. The forest ranger - neat, forest-green uniform and pine tree badge. And the agriculturist - salt of the earth.

Coming Next - Towns We Live In

Return To Idaho @ gesswhoto.com


Copyright 2000 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved