Idaho State Facts - Idaho History Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Idaho history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name Idaho
Capital Boise
43.60665 N, 116.22610 W
Rocky Mountains
Constitution Ratified 1890
Statehood July 03, 1890
43rd state
Number of Counties 44 Counties in Idaho
Largest County
(by population)
Ada County
1,055 sq. mi.

Idaho History Firsts & State Facts

  • 1860 - The economy of Idaho City originally developed around gold mining in the 1860s.
  • 1860 - During the 1860s an Oregon Shoreline Railroad base camp called Boomerang was constructed in Payette.
  • 1872 - Idaho's first territorial prison was opened in 1872. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was converted into a public facility after the last prisoners were removed in 1974.
  • 1877 - Native Americans of the Nez Perce tribe, led by Chief Joseph, fought off federal forces for months in parts of Idaho before surrendering near the Canadian border.
  • 1879 - The "Idaho Enterprise" published its first issue on June 6, 1879 and is one of the oldest weekly publications in Idaho.
  • 1891 - Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell was founded as the College of Idaho and is the state's oldest four-year institution of higher learning.
  • 1894 - Downey's first mercantile store, the W. A. Hyde Co., was built in 1894.
  • 1896 - Council Valley shortened its name to Council.
  • 1905 - On August 8, 1905, Kimberly auctioned city lots for prices ranging from $100 to $750.
  • 1907 - President Theodore Roosevelt established the Caribou National Forest. The area now covers more than 1 million acres in southeast Idaho.
  • 1920 - The entire town of American Falls was moved in the 1920s when the original American Falls Dam was constructed.
  • 1924 - Local McCall resident and Olympic ski champion, Cory Engen, started the celebration known as the Winter Carnival to help curb the boredom of the long McCall winters.
  • 1927 - Shelley has been the home of the Idaho Annual Spud Day since 1927.
  • 1931 -
  • 1935 -
  • 1936 - The first alpine chairlift was used in Sun Valley. In 1936 the fee was 25 cents per ride.
  • 1951 - The town of Arco became the first community in the world electrified by nuclear power, when a local plant began production in 1951.
  • 1955 -Arco was the first city lit by Atomic Energy, July, 1955.
  • 1973 - The Sawtooth Recreation Area opened its doors north of Ketchum, making the community the gateway to the Sawtooths. Sawtooth Mountain/Sawtooth National Recreational Area was named for its jagged profile.
  • 1975 - Adopted Idaho State Horse: Appaloosa on Mar 25, 1975
  • 1990 - Adopted Idaho State Fish: Cutthroat Trout on Apr 5, 1990
  • 1992 - Adopted Idaho State Insect: Monarch Butterfly on Mar 31, 1992
  • 2000 - Adopted Idaho State Fruit: Huckleberry on Feb 14, 2000
  • 2004 - Adopted Idaho State Raptor: Peregrine Falcon

More Idaho History Firsts & State Facts

  • The statehouse in Boise is geothermally heated from underground hot springs
  • Idaho is bordered by Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Canada
  • Top 3 Industries: 1. Manufacturing 2. Agriculture 3. Tourism
  • The Gem State: Idaho produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones.
  • Idaho is the 13th Largest State in the U.S.
  • Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers - more than any other state.
  • Elk River is the home of the Idaho Champion Western Red Cedar Tree, the largest tree in the state. Estimated to be over 3000 years old this giant is more than 18 feet in diameter and stands 177 feet tall.
  • The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is the largest in the lower 48 states-2.3 million acres of backcountry.
  • The Cataldo mission is the oldest building in the state.
  • Soda Springs is the largest man-made geyser in the world.
  • Bruneau Dunes State Park has the tallest single structured sand dune in North America.
  • Shoshone Falls spills over a 212-foot drop near Twin Falls. Twin Falls was the sight of Evil Knievels jump in 1974.
  • Shoshone Falls, The Niagara of the West, spills over a 212-foot drop near Twin Falls
  • Idaho's Salmon River near Riggins is the longest free-flowing river that heads and flows within a single state.
  • Seven Devils' Peaks, one of the highest mountain ranges in Idaho, Includes Heaven's Gate Lookout, where sightseers can look into four states.
  • Idaho, especially the city of Grace, is most famous for their certified seed potatoes.
  • Treasure Valley, around Nampa, is known as Idaho's Banana Belt.
  • Anderson Dam is known for its blue-ribbon fly-fishing.
  • Idaho is the leading producer of potatoes in the nation, accounting for nearly one-third of the national production.
  • Rexburg is home to Ricks College, the largest private two-year college in the nation.
  • Perched at 9,500 feet on Trinity Mountain is the highest fire lookout in the Boise National Forest.
  • In Idaho law forbids a citizen to give another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than 50 pounds.
  • Nearly 85% of all commercial trout sold in the U.S. is produced in the Hagerman Valley.
  • The city of Grace in the Gem Valley is most famous for their certified seed potatoes.
  • Blackfoot is home of the Eastern Idaho State Fair.
  • The Dworshak Reservoir is over 50 miles long. The Dworshak Dam is in Orofino.
  • Grangeville is located in north central Idaho. The community is considered the getaway to five wilderness areas and four national forests totaling 5 1/2 million acres. The total is second only to Alaska in designated wilderness area.
  • The Lewis & Clark Highway (United State Highway 12) is the shortest route from the midwest to the Pacific Coast and the longest highway within a national forest in the nation.
  • The elevation of Cambridge is 2,650 feet above sea level with the surrounding mountains reaching elevations around 8000 feet and plummeting to around 1500 feet in Hells Canyon.
  • Heyburn, originally named Riverton, is the fourth oldest community in the Mini-Cassia area and the second frontier town to be settled in what is now the county of Minidoka.
  • Bruneau Dunes State Park contains North America's tallest single structured sand dune. It stands 470 feet high.
  • Bruneau Canyon Overlook offers a view into a 1,200 foot-deep, 800-foot-wide river canyon.
  • The Kamiah Valley is rich in the heritage and legends of the Nez Perce. It was here, among the ancestors of the present day Nez Perce, the Appaloosa horse was first bred, primarily for use as a war animal.
  • Idaho's world famous hot springs are located in Lava Hot Springs.
  • Hells CanyonHells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge, encompasses a vast and remote region with dramatic changes in elevation, terrain, climate and vegetation. Carved by the great Snake River, Hells Canyon plunges more than a mile below Oregon's west rim, and 8,000 feet below snowcapped He Devil Peak of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains. There are no roads across Hells Canyon's 10-mile wide expanse, and only three roads that lead to the Snake River between Hells Canyon Dam and the Oregon-Washington boundary.
  • Kuna is known as the Gateway City to the Birds of Prey Natural Area.
  • Birds of Prey Wildlife Area is home to the world's most dense population of nesting eagles, hawks, and falcons.
  • At 5897 feet elevation, Mackay calls itself the Top of Idaho because it is the nearest city to Mt. Borah, the highest mountain in Idaho.
  • Soda Springs boasts the largest man-made geyser in the world.
  • Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. The elevation is 738 feet above sea level.
  • The Treasure Valley area around Nampa is known as Idaho's Banana Belt
  • Pocatello is home to Idaho State University.
  • Post Falls is known as Idaho's River City.
  • Saint Stanislaus Church, in Rathdrum, is the oldest brick church in the state of Idaho.
  • Rigby is known as the birthplace of television since it is Philo T. Farnsworth's hometown. Farnsworth pioneered television technology.
  • Under Idaho law only two forms of city government are allowed: a mayor/councilor or a council/manager form.
  • Sun Valley is recognized as the home of America's first destination ski resort.
  • Weiser is Home of the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest.
  • Meridian is named for the Boise Meridian, the Idaho land surveyor's north-south line running through Initial Point, located 16 miles due south of the city.
  • Annually Mountain Home Air Force Appreciation Day boasts presenting the largest parade in Idaho.
  • Idaho ghost towns include Silver City, Yankee Fork, Gold Dredge, and the Sierra Silver Mine.
  • The 1940 film "Northwest Passage" was filmed in McCall.
  • The Fosbury Flop, a high jumping technique, was invented by Ketchum resident Dick Fosbury.
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State Facts & History Firsts
State Fun Facts - History Firsts