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American Falls, History

This version was saved 2 years, 8 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Todd Winters
on June 15, 2017 at 3:53:12 pm
 

Welcome to Information about American Falls, Idaho

 

American Falls was a landmark waterfall on the Snake River, named after a party of American trappers whose boat went over the falls. The Wilson Price Hunt expedition in 1811 camped at the falls one night and the expedition of John C. Frémont was here in 1843. The Oregon Trail passed north of town, through the present-day reservoir. Power plants first sprang up at the falls in 1901. American Falls was the first town in the U.S. To be entirely relocated; it was moved in 1925 to facilitate construction of the nearby American Falls Dam. The old townsite sits at the bottom of the reservoir, northwest of the present city. A larger dam was completed in 1978, downstream from the deteriorating 1927 structure, which was later demolished

 

About Power County, Idaho...

 

Insofar as is known, white men first entered what is now Power County in southeastern Idaho in 1811 - only a few years after Lewis and Clark's epic journey through the Northwest to the Pacific Ocean. A party of American Fur Company Trappers was floating down the Snake River when they encountered turbulent waters at American Falls. Although they escaped injury, most of their supplies and trading goods were either lost or damaged. The Whitman-Spalding missionary party also passed by "The Falls" on August 5, 1836. And in1854 John C. Fremont recorded visiting "The Falls" in his journal.

Idaho became a state on July 3, 1890. Power County was then included in Oneida County. However, the opening in 1910 of this part of the state for the homesteading of dry land farms, resulted in a marked influx of settlers. And, it was difficult for these new sew settlers - especially during the winter - to travel to the county seat in Malad. Thus, Power County was established on January 30, 1913. The county was named after the power plant at American Falls and American Falls became the county seat. Power County is bordered on the north by Bingham County, on the south by Oneida Coutny, on the west by Blaine and Cassia Counties and on the east by Bannock County. It encompasses 1,403 square miles and presently has about 7500 residents. Although it is smaller than many of Idaho's other 43 counties, it is larger than the state of Rhode Island, which encompasses only 1.214 square miles.

Power County contains a major river (the Snake), a large reservoir (at American Falls). Three mountain ranges (the Bannock and Sublett Ranges and the Deep Creek Mountains), an Indian Reservation (Fort Hall), and a National Forest (Minidoka). The County is primarily agricultural, but has a phosphate plant, a power plant, a potato processing plant, and soon will have a coal gasification plant.

Points of interest in Power County include Indian Springs, Crystal Ice Caves, Massacre Rocks State Park, Great Rift National Landmark, The American Falls Reservoir and Dam, and the Power County Historical Museum in American Falls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Links

 

Historical Documents

 
Images of AF Dam  1925 Moving American Falls    
       
       
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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