Idaho January 12, 2019
8 Things You Didn’t Know About The History Of Idaho
We all know that Idaho is a pretty unique state (in our minds, it’s the
most special state in the entire country). That’s why we love getting to know everything we can about the great state of Idaho. If you’re a longtime resident of the Gem State, you probably think you know all there is to know about our state. However, you might be surprised to find that there are some little-known facts about Idaho history that you’ve probably never heard of before. Read about these 8 bizarre facts below and see how many are new to you!
1. Idaho used to be a rectangle. Boring!
It's true. We didn't always have our iconic shape. In fact, when Idaho was recognized as a territoy by President Lincoln in 1863, the territory included Montana and a majority of Wyoming. It created a nice, geometric rectangle. However, the size of the land was simply too large for government authorities to run properly so Wyoming and Montana broke off, creating Idaho's jagged imprint.
2. Latah County is the only county in the U.S. that was created by an act of Congress.
The creation of Latah County has a unique story behind it. The county was created in 1888 by an act of Congress in a move to pacify citizens of the county. Residents of Northern Idaho has threatened to annex themselves from the rest of the state and become part of Washington the year before the county was officially created.
3. Idaho was the real Wild West. Butch Cassidy even made a stop here.
Yep, Idaho's Wild West really had it all. Tumbleweeds, cowboys, and even some real rough n' tumble bank robberies. In 1896, the legendary Butch Cassidy stopped in the small town of Montpelier and robbed them of over $7,000. Idaho authorities searched for Cassidy for over a week, but he had already made his escape.
4. Volcanoes are to thank for our world-famous potatoes.
Have you ever wondered why Idaho of all places is considered the nation's "Potato Capital"? It turns out that Idaho just so happens to have the perfect environment for growing the best potatoes ever. According to the Idaho Potato Museum, volcanic debris from past eruptions is to thank for our mineral-rich soil—ideal for growing spuds.
5. We weren't originally called Idaho.
Back in 1861, Congress actually dubbed our region the "Colorado Territory". They eventually decided to give the name to what is now known as Colorado and made Idaho a territory of its own in 1863. And thank goodness for that, because there's something
off about calling ourselves "Coloradans"!
6. President Theodore Roosevelt established Caribou National Forest.
Although the Caribou National Forest has since merged with the Targhee National Forest, you might be surprised to know that it was President Teddy Roosevelt who established the park back in 1907.
7. Idaho allowed women to vote long before the 19th Amendment.
Idaho was actually pretty ahead of the times when it came to the Suffrage Movement of the mid-1800s. Idaho joined the movement in 1896 and Abigail Scott Duniway would become the first woman registered to vote in the Gem State.
8. The Idaho Lieutenant Governor was once kidnapped!
Who said Idaho was boring? Back in 1929, the newly elected Lieutenant-Governor, William Barker Kinne, was driving from Lewiston to Orofino. On the way, four armed men kidnapped him and stole his automobile. They took Kinne, along with two other victims, into the foothills near Greer and tied them to a tree before escaping. The bandits were found two days later, hiding along the Potlatch River.
How many of these facts surprised you? What’s your favorite weird fact about Idaho history? Let us know in the comments! If you thought these facts were fascinating, you’ll probably be interested in
The 10 Historical Landmarks You Absolutely Must Visit In Idaho.