Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Idaho

IDAHO, a State in the Western division of the North American Union; bounded by Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia; admitted to the Union July 3, 1890; number of counties, 41; capital, Boisé; area 84,800 square miles; pop. (1900) 161,772; (1910) 325,594; (1920) 431,866.

Topography.—The surface of the State is exceedingly mountainous. The Rocky Mountains form the N. E. boundary separating Montana from Idaho, and send out spurs in a W. direction extending to the Sierra Nevadas. The principal ranges are the Salmon, Bitter Root, Bear River, and Saw Tooth. The Salmon range extends along the Salmon river and reaches an altitude of 12,000 feet; the summits being rugged and several being covered with snow. The Goose Creek and Bear River mountains extend along the S. portion of the State. Three-fourths of the State — the S. portion — is arid, agriculture being practiced only by means of irrigation. The soil is very fertile and the water supply abundant. The principal irrigated sections of the State are in the Bear, Snake, Boisé, Payette and Weiser river valleys. These valleys lie at an altitude of from 700 to 5,000 feet. The Snake river, a tributary of the Columbia, and the Wood, Bruneau, Boisé, Payette, Weiser and Salmon rivers, its principal branches, form the drainage system of the S. portion of the State; the principal rivers of the N. part are the Spokane, St. Joe, St. Mary's, Clearwater, Cœur d'Alêne, Priest, and North Fork of the Columbia. The entire State drains into the Columbia with the exception of a small portion in the S. E., which is drained by Bear river into the Salt Lake basin. A large area in the S. portion is drained by streams which sink a short distance from the mountains (the lost river drainage system) and find an outlet to the Snake river by subterranean channels. There are numerous lakes, including the Pend d'Oreille, Cœur d'Alêne, Bear, Henry, and Payette lakes. There are many beautiful waterfalls in the State, the Snake river having four important ones, namely, Shoshone, a 210-foot fall, Twin, Salmon, and American Falls. The mean elevation of the State is about 4,700 feet.

Geology.—Most of the State is covered with Azoic, Eozoic, and Tertiary formations. Numerous fossils have been found, including the remains of the mastodon, elephant, tapir, monkey, alligator, and saurian families. Large portions of the State are of recent volcanic formation, and the whole region is noted for its geysers, steam and soda springs and natural hot baths.

Soil.—The soil is largely of volcanic origin, and is very fertile when water is applied. The mountains are for the most part covered with forests, which are largely evergreen. The S. counties are covered with sage plains which, under irrigation, are well adapted to agriculture. The N. portion of the State and the upper portions of the Boisé, Weiser, and Payette valleys are covered with dense forests, the principal timber being white and yellow pine, fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock, and tamarack.

Mineralogy.—Gold, silver, and lead occur in abundance throughout all the mountains in the State. Large bodies of gold-bearing gravel are found along the Snake, Salmon, and Boisé rivers, the Boisé basin being noted for its auriferous gold deposits. About one-third of the lead mined in the United States comes from the Cœur d'Alêne district. The production and value of the principal metals in 1917 was as follows lead, 196,780 tons, valued at $33,846,119 zinc, 38,927 tons, valued at $8,145,122; copper, 7,827,574 pounds, valued at $2,136,928; silver, 12,029,338 fine ounces, valued at $9,912,175; gold, 38,933 fine ounces, valued at $804,809. The total value of the mineral products of the State in 1917 was $55,244,026.

Agriculture.—The N. part of the State is noted for its wheat. Owing to the sheltered location of many of the irrigated valleys agricultural products cover a wide range. All cereals and the ordinary garden vegetables and small fruits are grown. Peaches, pears, apples, apricots, and prunes are the principal products of horticulture. The mountains of the S. portion afford excellent pasturage and, with irrigation, the plains of the Snake river and its tributary valleys are rapidly being converted into cereal fields. The production and value of the principal crops in 1919 was as follows: corn, 840,000 bushels, valued at $1,386,000; oats, 7,700,000 bushels, valued at $7,546,000; barley, 3,360,000 bushels, valued at $4,704,000; wheat, 18,705,000 bushels, valued at $38,345,000; hay, 1,625,000 tons, valued at $35,750,000; potatoes, 5,400,000 bushels, valued at $8,154,000.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914, 698 manufacturing establishments in the State, employing 8,919 wage earners. The capital invested amounted to $144,961,000; wages paid amounted to $7,491,000; value of materials used to $14,892,000; and the value of the finished product to $28,454,000. The principal articles of manufacture include flour and grist, railroad cars, lumber and timber products, printed matter, harness and saddlery, dairy products, furniture, foundry and machine-shop products, clothing, tobacco, and cigars.

Banking.—In 1919 there were 71 National banks in operation, having $4,385,000 in capital, $3,298,882 in outstanding circulation, and $18,643,000 in United States bonds. There were also 138 State banks.

Education.—There are about 125,000 pupils in the public schools. The teachers number about 3,000. The average salary of women teachers is about $73.00 a month and of men teachers about $95.00. The total expenditure for educational purposes is about $5,000,000 annually. For higher education there were high schools (public), private secondary schools, public normal schools. College of Idaho and the University of Idaho.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Mormon, Roman Catholic, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, Lutheran, and Protestant Episcopal.

Railroads.—The total railway mileage in the State in 1919 was 3,629 miles of single main line track. There was practically no new construction in the past years. The systems having longest mileage are the Oregon Short Line, the Northern Pacific, and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul.

Finances.—The receipts for the biennial period ending Sept. 30, 1918, were $8,641,270, and the disbursements $9,121,013. There was a balance at the end of the year of $705,187. The State has a bonded debt of about $3,000,000.

Charities and Corrections.—The charitable and correctional institutions of the State include the Soldiers' Home at Boisé; Insane Asylum at Blackfoot; Sanitarium at Orofino; Sanitarium at Nampa; and a penitentiary at Boisé.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of two years. Legislative sessions are held biennially, and are limited in length to 60 days each. The Legislature has 37 members in the Senate and 65 in the House. There are two representatives in Congress. The State government in 1920 was Republican.

History.—Idaho was for years successively a part of Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Nebraska, and was explored early in the 19th century by Lewis and Clarke. A mission was established at Cœur d'Alêne in 1842, but till the discovery of gold in 1852 the State was visited only by hunters. Idaho was organized as a Territory, March 3, 1863, but in 1864 part of it was set apart as Montana and in 1868, another part, forming part of Wyoming. In the summer of 1889 a convention framed a constitution and a petition for admission to the Union, being admitted the following year, the 30th State in order of admission.

Collier's 1921 Idaho.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921