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Idaho played a key role in the development of atomic energy. During World War II, the federal government established the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, which was used to research and develop nuclear technology. Today, the lab is one of the leading research facilities in the world for nuclear energy and other forms of advanced technology.
Franklin County, located in southeastern Idaho, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Northern Shoshone, Bannock, and Nez Perce. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources in the area, such as fish from the Snake River and game from the nearby mountains.

European exploration and settlement began in the early 19th century, with trappers and traders venturing into the region. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through Franklin County in 1805, marking the first recorded contact between Europeans and Native Americans in the area. Fur trading posts were established, attracting more settlers and leading to further exploration and settlement.

In 1863, Franklin County was officially established as one of the original nine counties in Idaho Territory. The county was named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the local economy, as settlers began to cultivate the fertile soil and take advantage of the abundant water resources for irrigation.

The 20th century brought significant changes to Franklin County. The arrival of the railroad in the early 1900s facilitated the transportation of goods and boosted economic growth. The population increased, along with the establishment of new towns and businesses. Today, Franklin County remains an agricultural hub, with farming and livestock production playing a vital role in the local economy. The county is also known for its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreational opportunities, and strong sense of community.

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

  • 1862: Franklin County is founded.
  • 1870: Preston becomes the county seat.
  • 1879: The railroad reaches Franklin County, boosting its development.
  • 1880: A new courthouse is constructed in Preston.
  • 1901: The Oneida Stake Academy (later known as Preston High School) is established in Preston.
  • 1929: The Bear River Massacre Site is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
  • 1950s: The Montpelier Energy Corporation builds a nuclear reactor near Montpelier.
  • 1970s: The Idaho National Engineering Laboratory expands, bringing economic growth to the county.
  • 1983: The LDS Church opens the Franklin Idaho Temple in Preston.
  • 2010: Franklin County commemorates its 150th anniversary.