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.
Washington County, Idaho holds a rich history dating back thousands of years. The region was once inhabited by indigenous Native American tribes, primarily the Nez Perce and Paiute bands, who relied on its fertile land for farming and hunting. European explorers, notably the Lewis and Clark Expedition, visited the area in the early 19th century. However, it wasn't until the mid-1800s that Washington County began to experience significant settlement.

In the 1860s, gold was discovered in the Salmon River, leading to a gold rush in the area. This drew many settlers, and the town of Weiser was established in 1863. The county itself was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1879 and named after the first President of the United States, George Washington.

Agriculture played a pivotal role in the development of Washington County. The fertile soil and the mild climate made it ideal for cultivating crops such as wheat, fruit orchards, and root vegetables. As the region grew, more towns were established, including Cambridge, Midvale, and Indian Valley.

In the early 20th century, the arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad boosted the local economy, facilitating the transportation of agricultural produce and connecting Washington County to wider markets. The railroad also contributed to population growth as it brought more people to the area. Today, Washington County remains agriculture-focused, with farming being the primary industry in the region.

Throughout its history, Washington County has evolved from the ancestral lands of Native American tribes to a thriving agricultural community. Its rich heritage, natural beauty, and strong sense of community continue to shape its identity and make it a significant part of Idaho's history.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Washington County, Idaho.

  • 1805 - Lewis and Clark Expedition pass through the area.
  • 1820s - Fur trappers and traders start to explore the region.
  • 1863 - Washington County is established as one of the original nine counties of Idaho Territory.
  • 1879 - The town of Weiser is founded as a railroad town.
  • 1892 - The Idaho Northern Railroad reaches Cambridge, promoting further settlement in the area.
  • 1917 - The Brundage Ski Resort is established in the mountains of Washington County.
  • 1941 - The Cambridge Air Field is built to train pilots during World War II.
  • 1951 - The Brownlee Dam on the Snake River is completed, providing hydroelectric power and flood control.
  • 1975 - The Weiser River Trail is converted from a former railroad line into a popular recreational trail.
  • 1995 - Washington County Historical Society is established to preserve and promote the history of the county.
  • 2019 - The population of Washington County reaches approximately 10,000 people.