Background and History

Power County was established in 1913. American Falls is the county seat with a population of approximately 4400. Total area of the county is 1,411 square miles, or 903,040 acres. Federal and State lands comprise approximately 33% of the county that is dominated by expanses of flat plains and two major valleys bounded by mountain ranges. Elevations range from 4250 feet at the Minidoka Migratory Waterfowl Preserve to 8675 feet on the Bannock Range of the Deep Creek Mountains. Average rainfall is 12-14 inches per year.


When American Falls was first established in 1888, it was located where the American Falls Reservoir is today. In 18 months between 1925 and 1926, the town was moved to its current location to make way for the dam and reservoir. Movers from Ohio & Texas were hired to move the town using steam engines and gasoline tractors at a cost of $3 million. Over 340 homes as well as 46 businesses, 3 hotels, 5 churches, and 1 school were moved to the new town site.

 The Snake River is the dominant water feature. Completion of the American Falls Dam in 1927, created a 55,860 acre reservoir providing irrigation and recreation water. Approximately 159,000 acres in eastern Power County are part of the Bannock-Shoshone Fort Hall Indian Reservation.

The first settlers to Power County were cattle and sheep ranchers. Mormon pioneers and German-Russian immigrants homesteaded the land. Arbon and Rockland Valleys consist of dry farming and cattle ranching, while lands west of the Snake River are primarily irrigated. Crops produced in Power County include wheat, barley, corn, sugar beets, oilseeds, and Idaho’s world famous potatoes.

The agricultural economy has resulted in families of several generations owning and operating businesses in the community. The population has maintained slow and steady growth. The newest area of growth in the county comes from the Hispanic population. This demographic is rapidly building families and lives in Power County. They account for many of the recently opened businesses. The Hispanic population has also created a large workforce for our community and broadened the scope of talented workers.