Power County Historical Society

In the beautiful hills of Idaho is a county called Power, where the beauty of the west is shared by farmers, ranchers, fishermen, businessmen, teachers, families and friends.

Here in our homes, we bask in the sun that is seldom too hot and bundle up for the winters frosty winds. Glorious sunsets throw rays of gold across the fields of wheat with roots more shallow than mine.

Our children come home to feel their youth again, to celebrate their heritage and to refresh themselves before they return to the battlefields of the world. Proud we are, of the sacrifices of our fathers. We present to you their labors and their dreams.

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 were 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 in 1854 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 County, 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.


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Copyright © 2009 Dianne May. All rights reserved.
Last Revised:11/13/09