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Idaho was once home to one of the largest sawmills in the world. The Potlatch Lumber Company, which was based in the town of Potlatch, produced more than 2 billion board feet of lumber between 1906 and 1956.
Bingham County, located in southeastern Idaho, has a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, who relied on the abundance of natural resources found in the area for their livelihoods. In the early 19th century, European fur trappers began exploring the region, establishing trade relationships with the Native American population.

In the late 1800s, the discovery of gold and other valuable minerals brought a wave of settlers to the region, leading to the establishment of several mining towns in what would become Bingham County. The discovery of gold in the Salmon River near Pierce in 1860 sparked the Idaho gold rush, attracting thousands of fortune seekers to the area. This led to the establishment of Bannock City, which served as the first territorial capital of Idaho.

As mining continued to be a major industry in the area, Bingham County underwent rapid development. The completion of the Utah and Northern Railway in the 1870s brought increased commerce and transportation options, further fueling the growth of the county. The county's economy diversified with the development of agriculture, particularly in the cultivation of potatoes and sugar beets, which are still significant industries today.

Bingham County also played a significant role in World War II, as it was home to the P15 German Prisoner of War camp near Shelley. Thousands of German prisoners were housed in the camp, contributing to the local economy through their labor on farms and in manufacturing industries.

Today, Bingham County continues to be a thriving community with a strong agricultural base, as well as a growing manufacturing sector. The county is known for its natural beauty, including the scenic Snake River that runs through it. With a combination of historical significance and natural attractions, Bingham County remains an important part of Idaho's heritage and economy.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Bingham County, Idaho.

  • Bingham County was established on January 13, 1885.
  • In 1886, Shelley was founded as the first settlement in Bingham County.
  • Blackfoot, the current county seat, was established in 1887.
  • In 1888, Bingham County saw a population boom due to its agricultural potential and the arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad.
  • The first newspaper in the county, the Blackfoot Register, began publication in 1889.
  • In 1895, the Idaho State Hospital South was established in Blackfoot.
  • From 1913 to 1922, Bingham County experienced significant growth in the sugar beet industry.
  • In 1949, the National Reactor Testing Station (now the Idaho National Laboratory) was created in the county.
  • In 1983, the Bingham County Historical Commission was formed to preserve and promote the county's history.