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THE OREGON SHORT LINE RAILROAD:
ITS HISTORY & IMPACT ON THE WOOD RIVER
VALLEY IN THE 20TH CENTURY
AGRICULTURAL ERA
Presentation to the Community Library
Part II, July 11, 2014
John W. Lundin (john@johnwlundin.com)
The author’s great-
grandparents, Matt
& Isabelle McFall &
children, 1888. Matt
& Isabelle moved to
Bellevue in 1881.
They built the
International Hotel
on Main Street,
which became the
premier place to stay
in the WRV (above).
It burned down in
1909. They moved to
Shoshone in 1893,
and built the McFall
Hotel in 1900.
(below).
Photos from Lundin collection &
the Community Library.
1890s: AGRICULTURE BEGINS TO REPLACE
MINING AS AN ECONOMIC BASE
During the 1890s, agriculture began to replace mining as Idaho’s
economic base, as sheep were brought into the WRV and thrived. The UP
and OSL actively promoted agriculture and immigration to Idaho.
In 1892, a Salt Lake paper published an article, Idaho: It Prospered in
1892 Notwithstanding the Depression in Mining. Irrigation canals had been
built, more land was plowed, and Idaho began to use its water to give life to
its “magnificent land” that “produces the best quality of everything that
grows in abundance.” This will make it “one of the richest of States even
without its precious metal mines.”
Congress passed the Desert Land (Carey) Act of 1894, transferring
federal land to states to encourage irrigation and development of the arid
west. Land could be claimed in 160 acre tracts so long as it was irrigated.
IRRIGATION MOVEMENT LOBBIES FOR FEDERAL
PROGRAMS FOR THE ARID WEST
The Irrigation Movement formed in the 1890s, led by William E.
Smyth, to lobby for federal support for irrigation programs in the arid West.
Yearly Irrigation Congresses were held to preach the “miracle of irrigation” to
transform the arid desert into flourishing farms.
Smyth and John Wesley Powell, the director of the USGS and the first
white to explore the Grand Canyon, admired the Mormon practice of
collectively run irrigation systems, and supported a federal program to
support small farms to develop irrigation systems in river basins. The
reclamation movement gained political power during the 1890s. In 1897, the
Army Corps of Engineers did a study, Reservoirs of the Arid Region, that
recommended federal construction of irrigation systems in the West.
1897: E.H. HARRIMAN BUYS UP & OSL OUT OF
BANKRUPTCY
In 1897, a investment group headed by E. H. Harriman bought the
Union Pacific Railroad out of bankruptcy for $81.5 M. In 1898, he obtained
control over the Oregon Short Line and the Oregon Railroad & Navigation
Company. Harriman acquired the Southern Pacific RR in 1900 for $40 M. He
put these components together to operate as “one continuous line” as
opposed to separate companies as before.
Harriman spent $160 M over the next decade rehabilitating his
railroads and expanding into new areas, competing against James J. Hill and
his Great Northern/Northern Pacific empire for control of rail transportation
in the West.
Edward Henry
Harriman (1848 –
1909).
Harriman took
control of UP at a
time of unparalleled
growth in the
economy. Harriman
“blazed through the
transportation
industry like a
comet,” and
transformed the UP
from “a faded,
mediocre carrier to
the most efficient
railroad west of the
Mississippi.” Klein,
Union Pacific.
Photo s from Wikipedia
Map of Union Pacific
System under
Harriman
Map from Klein, Union
Pacific
1898 GOLD RUSH
ENDS DEPRESSION.
The Silver Depression
was ended by the
Klondike Gold Rush,
which began on July
17, 1897. Within a
week, newspapers
were announcing
that the Depression
was over. By spring
1898, Klondikers
spent $25 M in
Seattle ($724M
today), and by 1900,
its assayers handled
$18 M in gold ($522
M in 2013 dollars).
Seattle PI, July 17, 1897.
Railroads competed
to transport
prospectors heading
west for the Klondike
Gold Rush. Since
70,000 of the
100,000 Klondikers
went through Seattle,
UP, NP and GN
competed for their
trade. The author’s
grandfather, Mark
Odell, left Cornell law
school in March
1898, and traveled to
the Klondike taking
the NP to Seattle.
The 1898 OSL
Schedule shows the
importance of the
Gold Rush. The OSL
was the “best route
to the Klondike,” as
its trains coordinated
with steamships
heading north - $15
to Skagway. The OSL
was the “shortest,
cheapest, and every
way best line from all
eastern and southern
points to Alaska.”
From Union Pacific
Museum
GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!
OSL Passengers would receive a folder called “The Klondike, The
Yukon, and Alaska,” providing “accurate information” about the region.
“The Klondike is on the tongues and pens, the telegraph wires and
typesetting machines of all creation.” Prospectors talk of “$100, $500 and
$800 in gold, washed from a single pan of sand and gravel.” Ships were
returning with “heaps of uncoined yellow gold…Every report is more
encouraging than the last…This means from $1,000 to $12,000 a day for every
man sluicing…We have one of the richest mining areas every found, with a
fair prospect that we have not yet begun to discover its limits.”
1898 OSL SCHEDULE PROMOTED SETTLEMENT IN IDAHO
“Utah and Idaho – the Home of Irrigation.”
Extensive irrigation systems developed by Brigham Young are
common in Utah and Idaho, along the entire line of the OSL, “where favorable
climatic conditions , the plentitude of water, and the rare fertility of the soil
conspire to make farming by irrigation certain of success…Millions of acres in
each of these new states are thus made available for settlement…In the
region where irrigation prevails, it insures not only the certainty of annual
crops, but the certainty of perfect development, and the certainty of
market…The invitation they offer is irresistible, and to it we add our own, that
all who wish to fully realize true farming independence will come and make
their homes within them.”
1898 OSL SCHEDULE PROMOTED SETTLEMENT IN IDAHO
“Mines and Mining in Idaho”
Another section of the schedule promoted the mining prospects in
Idaho in equally glowing terms including the Wood River and Boise Basin.
“WOOD RIVER. At Shoshone on the main line of the Oregon Short
Line a branch runs northward to the great Wood River district where are
located the Minnie Moore, Red Elephant, Bullion, Jay Gould, Walptone, Idaho,
Democrat, Vanderbilt, North Star, Red Cloud, and dozens of other silver-lead
mines which have in the past produced from a hundred thousand up into the
millions in silver, lead and gold.”
MINING RECOVERS IN WRV
Mining led the economic recovery in the WRV in the early 1900s, as
outside capital poured in to buy and reopen its mines. Idaho’s Mining
Inspector said “the year 1899 witnessed a great advance in mining
developments in the Wood River Valley.” In 1899, the Croesus Mine was
purchased for $85,000 and was worked by 35 men, and it was resold in 1901
for $350,000. In 1900, the Minnie Moore Mine was purchased for $30,000,
its owners invested $100,000 in the mine, it employed 120 men, and shipped
$50,000 of ore on the OSL every month.
In 1903, Idaho’s Mining Inspector said “Hailey is the center of the
richest mining district in the State, which is just awakening from a lethargic
condition of activity, and the Wood River mines are once again commencing
to cut quite a figure in the mining history of Idaho.”
The OSL began shipping large amounts of ore out of the WRV to
smelters located elsewhere since the Philadelphia Smelter did not reopen.
RECLAMATION ACT OF 1902
Led by President Theodore Roosevelt and John Wesley Powell,
Congress adopted the Reclamation Act in 1902, providing federal funding of
dams and irrigation projects to promote agriculture and settlement of the
arid west. Money was generated by the sale of public lands in 10 western
states, and project expenses would be paid by farmers using the water.
Millions of dollars became available to build irrigation systems in arid states.
The Reclamation Act provided $16M its first year, of which $2M was
appropriated for Idaho.
Idaho profited greatly from the Reclamation Act. By 1920, there
were 123,000 miles of canals serving 18,000 farms totaling 2M acres along
the Snake River and its tributaries. In 2012, Idaho had 11.7 M acres of
farmland according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
THREE MAIN PROJECTS IN CENTRAL IDAHO
1. MINIDOKA PROJECT. Minidoka Dam, built between 1904 – 1906, took
water from the Snake River. The Project ultimately consisted of 7 dams, 1,600
miles of canals, and irrigated 120,000 acres. Migrants from all over the world
settled there, and the new towns of Rupurt and Heyburn were formed.
2. TWIN FALLS PROJECT was designed by Ira Perrine and financed by
Frank Buhl and Peter Kimberly from funds from the sale of their steel mills in
Pa. The Twin Falls Land & Water Co. filed for water rights in 1900, to irrigate
250,000 acres using Snake River water. Milner Dam was built between 1903-
1905. The Twin Falls Investment Co. platted the city of Twin Falls in 1904. The
company sold 117,000 acres in 1905, and ultimately sold 2 M acres of
irrigated land.
3. MAGIC DAM & RESERVOIR on Camas Prairie, completed in 1910, took
water from the Big Wood River to irrigate 75,000 acres around Richfield,
Shoshone, Gooding & Dietrich with four canals.
Minidoka Dam. A
power plant
finished in 1909,
irrigated land
south of the Snake,
and provided
surplus power that
was sold locally,
providing an
example for
Federal projects
later. By 1910, the
Minidoka Project
irrigated 39,000
acres and 1,169
farms at a cost of
nearly $6.5M.
Photo from Bureau of
Reclamation
Twin Falls Land &
Water Co. crews
working on
Milner Dam,
completed in
1905. Its canals
irrigated 30,000
acres on the
north side of the
Snake, and
195,000 acres on
the south side.
Photo from Library of
Congress, 059593pv
The upper picture
shows Idaho
Irrigation Co. crews
building Magic Dam.
The dam, finished in
1910, cost $2M, and
was the largest
earthen dam in the
world at the time.
Four canals irrigated
75,000 acres of land
around Shoshone,
Richfield, Gooding &
Dietrich.
The lower picture
shows the control
gates on the Richfield
Canal.
Photo from the Community
Library & SHS, 1158-11
LAND OPENINGS
Developers
purchased large
tracts of land to be
irrigated, formed
new towns centered
around grand hotels,
and held mass land
sales that were
publicized nationally.
Thousands of buyers
traveled to Shoshone
on the OSL for the
openings. This shows
Idaho Irrigation Co.’s
Dietrich opening, in
May 1909.
Photo from 100 Years Together, A
Tribute to Lincoln County
LAND DEVELOPERS WERE HEROS
Central Idaho’s Reclamation Act projects resulted in the formation
of a number of new towns in the early 1900s, to serve the newly irrigated
farmland, and brought tens of thousands of immigrants to the state. New
towns included Twin Falls, Richfield, Gooding, Buhl, Dietrich, Bliss, Wendell,
Jerome, Heyburn, Rupert, and others.
Developers who turned sagebrush deserts into productive farmland
were widely admired. “Men who take thousands of acres of sagebrush
absolutely without value and by the magic powers of irrigation transform it to
thousands of valuable homes, dot the landscape with cities, and add to the
general happiness of the race, are worthy of places in the Hall of Fame.”
Betty Bever, Idaho and the Magic Circle.
Many of the irrigated
tracts of land sold in
land openings were
in Lincoln County,
and Shoshone
prospered as the
County Seat and the
railroad center for
the region. Later,
several new counties
were formed from
the original Lincoln
County. The orange
shows OSL’s main line
going through
Shoshone, and the
Wood River Branch
through Richfield.
TWIN FALLS OPENING
On July 1, 1903, the first opening was held for land developed by the
Twin Falls Land and Irrigation Co., irrigated by Snake River water from the
Milner Dam. 60,000 acres were offered for sale in Shoshone. “Little Jessie
McFall, the daughter of a Shoshone businessman,” selected the first person to
select land. The OSL offered special rates to “colonists” who came to the
opening. Land sold for $.50 an acre and water cost $25 an acre. Ads said it
was “one of the largest irrigated tracts in the world.”
The city of Twin Falls was formed in 1904, as a model city for the
tract. The Twin Falls Land and Water Co. initially irrigated 30,000 acres on the
north side of the Snake, in what became Jerome and Gooding Counties, and
195,000 acres on the south side. The company ultimately irrigated 2 M
acres.
The Buhl opening
was held in March
1907. Land was sold
for $ .50 an acre, and
the water rights were
$28 an acre. Buhl
had a grand hotel,
waterworks, and
electric power. OSL
built a rail extension
to Buhl in late 1907.
The McFall Hotel in
Shoshone is on the
bottom. Both were
designed by Boise
architect, W.S.
Campbell, who
designed the Idanha
Hotel in Boise.
Photos from Everett
Aplet.
The Richfield opening
was held in June 1907,
where 40,000 acres
were sold for $35.50 per
acre. The Idaho
Irrigation Co. collected
$1.4 M before the sale
took place. The OSL
carried 1,000 people to
the opening, and four
Pullman cars provided
overnight
accommodations.
Photo from 100 Years Together, A
Tribute to Lincoln County
Richfield was planned
to be a modern, all
brick city. The
$35,000 Richfield
hotel, called “the
ultimate in hotels,”
opened in 1909.
Richfield boomed as
the center of
construction for
Magic Dam and
Reservoir and the
Richfield canal, and
later as the start of
the OSL’s Hill City
branch.
Photos from 100 Years Together, A
Tribute to Lincoln County & brochure
from the ISHS, MS544 Box 8 Pam 9.
The Gooding opening
in November 1909,
offered 70,000 acres,
and was the only site
on the OLS main line
at the Toponis
railstop. The
townsite, formed in
1907, was Gov.
Gooding’s
homestead. The
Lincoln Inn burned
down in 1968
Photos from Flikr & the Twin Falls
Library
The Dietrich Opening
in May 1909, offered
30,000 acres irrigated
by water from Magic
Reservoir for sale for
$50.50 an acre. The
45 room $40,000
Dietrich Hotel had
steam heat, rooms
with baths “ensuite,”,
a barber shop,
billiard room, ladies
parlor and the “best
cuisine.”
Photos from 100 Years Together, A
Tribute to Lincoln County & Twin Falls
Library
The Eden-Hazelton
opening in April
1907, sold 30,000
acres at $30.50 an
acre. The Jerome-
Wendell and the
Bliss-King Hill
openings were in
January 1909. In
the June 1910 Big
Lost opening
around Arco,
settlers drew lots
and were let loose
to claim land in an
Oklahoma style
land rush.
Ad from Twin Falls News, March 31,
1905.
The upper pictures
show farmers
converting sagebrush
to agricultural land
using sagebrush
grubbers. The lower
picture shows a
sagebrush grubber.
Photos from Casey
Kenaston.
Potatoes became a
major crop for Idaho
after 1899, when a
spray against potato
beetle was
developed. Idaho’s
potatoes farms
increased from 2,000
acres in 1882, to
7,300 acres in 1890,
to 9,300 in 1900, to
33,000 acres in 1915.
Many carloads of
potatoes were
shipped by rail from
Idaho to national
markets.
Photos from Casey Kenaston
& Lundin collection
Marilyn Monroe
making Idaho
potatoes look
good! Potato
museum in
Blackfoot.
Photos from Pinterest.com &
Jim Matti
The McFall ranch was
discussed as a
successful operation
by the Idaho
Irrigation Co. “The
27 acre McFall apple
orchard four miles
out of Shoshone has
been producing
bumper apple crops
for 10 years without
a single failure….This
is a three-crop
country for
alfalfa…and three
cuttings produced 8
½ tons to the acre.”
Pictures from Lundin collection, &
the Community Library,
Sheep were
introduced into the
WRV in the 1880s &
1890s. By 1900, 2 M
sheep were shipped
on the OSL from the
WRV. In 1903, the
OSL bought land
around its depot in
Ketchum from the
Philadelphia Smelter
for sheep pens. In
the 1920s, Ketchum
& Camas Prairie
shipped more sheep
than anywhere
except for one
station in Australia.
Photos from the
Community Library
Idaho’s sheep
history is still
celebrated every
fall in the Wood
River Valley with
the Trailing of the
Sheep festival.
Pictures from Trailing of
the Sheep website
SHEEP INDUSTRY IS CELEBRATED IN SONG
Gun from Idaho
Herding Sheep for Granville Pace
Click go the Shears
Songs & Stories from Sheepherding, Western Folklife Center
RAILROADS WERE KEY TO IDAHO’S GROWTH
“The influx of farmers intensified in the late 1870s and early 1880s,
when the Oregon Short Line and the Utah and Northern…penetrated the
[Snake River] Valley. Idaho’s doors opened to the wider world; outside
markets beckoned, and the Snake River valley’s fertile soils, ample sunshine,
and water – all extensively advertised by the railroads – lured fresh settlers to
the area….The population rose accordingly; by 1890…the total stood at
roughly 88,000; by 1900, some 161,000 people made their homes here. The
early years of the 20th century were an era of spectacular growth for Idaho’s
farms and cities.
The streams of immigrants peaked during the first two decades of
the twentieth century, as thousands of people claimed farms under the 1894
Carey Act and the 1902 Reclamation Act….Largely because of this intensive
round of irrigation development, Idaho’s population more than doubled
between 1900 and 1910, rising to about 325,000.” Mark Fiege, Irrigated Eden.
RAILROADS PROMOTED IMMIGRATION
Transcontinental railroads actively promoted immigration to the
west, to sell land they owned and to develop business for their trains.
The Great Northern recruited immigrants from Europe, and
transported their goods west for $10 if they farmed near the railroad, built
grain elevators, distributed free seeds, and promoted extension programs.
The OSL promoted Idaho and encouraged immigration from its
beginning. In 1886, an immigration agent went around the country
promoting Idaho land and distributing the state’s apples and potatoes. After
the Reclamation Act was passed in 1902, the UP’s Bureau of Community
Publicity published promotional materials for 15 towns along the OSL. In
1916, it published Idaho Facts describing land available for purchase in the
state. The Big Wood Valley was the “granary of Southern Idaho.” The 1919
OSL schedule announced the formation of a Homeseeker’s Bureau for those
wishing to engage in farming along its routes.
Examples of Oregon
Short Line
promotional
brochures prepared
for a number of
Idaho Cities. They
were 30-40 pages
long, and described
the areas’ crops,
irrigation, town
amenities, climate,
resources and
economic
opportunities.
From ISHS MS544Box8Pam5, &
4a, & the Community Library
IMMIGRANT CARS
Union Pacific and the OSL offered immigrant rates to families settling
in Idaho. It cost $150 for a rail car holding 20,000 pounds, and $2 a pound for
less than a full car, from the Mississippi River. Adults were charged $24, and
children cost half fare. Thousands of settlers came to Shoshone on OSL
immigrant cars and many left accounts of their travel.
“An immigrant car was a box car. You rented it from the railroad, and
you put your horses and all your machinery…your wife and your kids and
everything, and you just moved.”
“In that car at one end, the household goods, the furniture. Good
furniture from a 10 room house and everything that went with it. And in the
other end of the car was the livestock, that was three horses and a cow.”
In 1905, Idaho had 21,000 farms covering 5 M acres worth $200M.
TOURISM
The OSL promoted
tourism from the
beginning. These
show ads promoting
Shoshone Falls,
reached from
Shoshone by stage, a
major tourist
destination in the
late 1800s. A photo
of Shoshone Falls was
on the front of the
1898 OSL schedule.
The Shoshone Ice
Caves were also
promoted.
Photo by Timothy O’Sullivan,
theatlantic.com/infocus/20
TOURS TO NATIONAL PARKS
In 1884, UP considered building a branch line to Yellowstone Park. In
1898, the OSL offered service to Yellowstone Park from Monida, Montana, a
stop on its Utah & Northern route. Passengers took the Monida &
Yellowstone Stage Line from Monida to the Park. Eight day tours from Omaha
cost $118, from Denver $106, and $84.50 from Salt Lake.
OSL formed the Yellowstone Park Railroad in 1905, to build a branch
from Pocatello to Yellowstone Park, which began operations in 1907. The
historic OSL depot is a visitors center in West Yellowstone.
Union Pacific lobbying power helped to establish Grand Canyon and
Zion National Parks, Bryce Canyon National Monument, Kaibab National
Forest, and the Sawtooth National Forest, areas served by the railroad. In
1903, UP created a Department of Tours, and it helped form the Bureau of
Service for National Parks and Resorts to provide tours and operate resorts in
southern Utah and northern Arizona.
Photos from
Yellowstone Historic Center website
TOURS TO GUYER HOT SPRINGS
Guyer Hot Springs Resort, two miles west of Ketchum, was
developed in 1882, by Capt. Henry Guyer and Issac Lewis. Until the 1920s, it
was a major resort that attracted visitors from inside and outside of the WRV,
including dignitaries like Jay Gould and John Jacob Astor who came in their
private rail cars. The OSL and UP promoted trips there for decades.
In 1889, UP published a brochure, Western Resorts for Health &
Pleasure Reached by the Union Pacific Railroad to promote tourism. It
included Hailey Hot Springs, Clarendon Hot Springs, and Guyer Hot Springs
“where there is no more attractive place in the northwest to spend a hot
summer.” Fares: from Pocatello, $9.40; Shoshone, $5.75; Mountain Home,
$8.10; Boise, $14.40.
In 1907, the OSL offered a special excursion train from Shoshone to
Guyer Hot Springs.
In 1907, the Wood
River Times
reported that the
OSL was going to
purchase Guyer
Hot Springs,
extend its tracks
there, and build a
first class resort to
include a large
hotel, cottages, a
gym, bowling alley,
plunges and “other
necessities for a
first class summer
resort.”
Photo from the
Community Library
OSL BUILT BRANCH LINES & SPURS
In the first two decades of the 1900s, the Oregon Short Line built a
number of branches and spur lines to connect other farming and mining
communities with its main line, bringing prosperity and growth.
In 1901, the OSL built a branch line from Blackfoot, Idaho, through
Arco to the new town of Mackay on the Big Lost River. John Mackay, who
made a fortune in the Comstock lode in Nevada, financed 80% of the line to
reach his copper mining interests. His company built the town of Mackay.
U.P.’s Land Company promoted settlement in the valley.
In 1904, the Twin Falls Branch was built from OSL’s main line at
Minidoka to Rupert, Burley, Twin Falls, and Buhl. In 1909, the Bliss cutoff was
built. Another spur connected Emmett and Payette, and short lines
connected the main line with Aberdeen, Homedale, Murphy, Paris, Wilder
and other small Idaho towns.
OSL depots at
Blackfoot and
Mackay
Photos from Flikr: The
Train Stations
HILL CITY BRANCH INTO CAMAS PRAIRIE
Completion of Magic Reservoir and Richfield Canal in 1910, and the
success of the sheep industry, led the OSL to build the Hill City Branch from
Richfield, north of Shoshone, through Camas Prairie to Hill City. The new line
began operations in late 1911. The OSL had plans to continue the line to
Boise and on to Coos Bay, Oregon. U.P.’s Land Company promoted Camas
Prairie, saying it “has 300,000 acres of land that can be farmed, either by
irrigation or by non-irrigation methods. It is the granary of Southern Idaho.
Land can be had from $20 per acre upwards, depending on their location, and
their water supply.”
It is often said that in the 1920s, Hill City and Ketchum shipped more
sheep by rail than any other place except for one station in Australia.
The new Richfield
depot built in
1908, and the first
train to go on the
Hill City line from
Richfield to Hill
City.
100 Years Together, A
Tribute to Lincoln County
Corral depot & Hill
City engine house.
Developers
promoted land
sales in the new
towns of Fairfield
and Hill City. In
1912, Hill City had
2 hotels, a general
store, 2 saloons, a
Post Office, lumber
yard, and a
number of shacks.
Photos from Union Pacific
Museum & the Community Library
1919 map of the
Oregon Short Line
showing its many
branches & spur
lines.
1919 OSL
schedule. There
were 16 stops
between Shoshone
& Ketchum. Trains
left Shoshone at
7:30 am, arrived in
Bellevue at 10:25,
and Ketchum at
11:15. They left
Ketchum at 1:00
pm and arrived in
Shoshone at 4:00
pm.
SHOSHONE BOOMED IN THE EARLY 1900s
In the first two decades of the 1900s, Shoshone boomed as it was
economic hub of the region. Shoshone was the center of a productive
agricultural region, and was in the middle of three major Reclamation Act
projects (and was called “the Best Dam County” in the country). It was the
County seat of Lincoln County formed in 1895, and was the “Junction”
between the Wood River branch and the main OSL east-west line. All the ore
from the newly reopened Wood River mines, the region’s agricultural
products, and materials for building the new Reclamation Act towns
surrounding it, were shipped through Shoshone. Thousands of farmers came
to Shoshone on OSL immigrant cars.
The McFall Hotel was expanded in 1902 and 1910 to accommodate
the new business, and its restaurant was kept open 24 hours a day since
railroads did not have dining cars and stopped along their routes to feed their
passengers.
RAILROADS BROUGHT EASTERN GOODS WEST
Refrigerator cars cooled by ice were invented in the 1870s, which
allowed perishable goods to be shipped by rail all over the country. Mark
Kurlansky, in his book, The Big Oyster: History in a Half Shell, described how
New York oysters were shipped all over the country by rail, providing seafood
to westerners.
In April 1899, the Lincoln House opened in Shoshone, billed as
“second to none” in the city, offering “fresh oysters by the plate or can,”
taking advantage of Shoshone’s location on Union Pacific’s east west line.
TRAINS BROUGHT
PRESIDENTS TO
IDAHO
On the left,
William Taft in
1910 & Theodore
Roosevelt in 1914,
in Shoshone.
President Truman
is shown on the
right in 1950. The
McFall Hotel is
behind the train in
all three pictures.
Photos from 100 Years Together,
A Tribute to Lincoln County
This picture of
Butch Cassidy
(Robert Leroy
Parker), the
Sundance Kid
(Harry Longbaugh)
& the Hole in the
Wall Gang was
taken in San
Antonio in fall
1900. Robert
Redford & Paul
Newman as
Sundance & Butch.
SHOSHONE WAS STILL THE WILD WEST
In fall 1900, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and their Hole in the
Wall gang stayed at the McFall Hotel in Shoshone. They had just held up a UP
train in Wyoming, and were on their way to rob a bank in Nevada to finance
Butch and Sundance’s escape to Bolivia. Some of the loot was stashed
around Shoshone. After the gang robbed the bank, they went to San Antonio
to hide out in a house of prostitution, where their famous picture was taken.
Two gang members returned to the McFall Hotel to “honeymoon” with their
new prostitute wives and dig up their loot. Pinkerton detectives later
interviewed the gang members and their “wives” to obtain their story. Farrell
Clark moved to Shoshone in 1906. He said it was a “wild and wooly railroad
town” with 9 saloons and 9 “girlie houses.” Cowboys would ride their horses
into saloons and shoot out all of the lights. Up to 50 tramps hung out at the
stockyards known as the jungle. Indians making their annual trek to Camas
Prairie to harvest camas came through town every year.
Butch Cassidy,
Sundance Kid &
the Hole in the
Wall Gang robbed
the Montpelier,
Idaho bank on
August 13, 1896,
getting $16,500.
The sheriff chased
them on a bicycle.
ATTITUDES WERE MUCH DIFFERENT
An ad that appeared in a Shoshone newspaper in 1910, shows how
much life has changed since then. The ad involved a product for people who
were unfortunate enough to be skinny.
Dr. Morrow’s new discovery, ANTI-LEAN, was guaranteed to make
people fat, strong and vigorous. All lean people are neurotic, have rapid
heart beats, poor digestion and assimilation. ANTI-LEAN quiets down their
nervousness and heart action, tones up their appetite, increases their
digestion, and regulates their bowels. When this done, nature will make
them fat.
Bever, Magic Circle.
OSL MADE BASEBALL SERIES POSSIBLE
Baseball became popular in the early 1900s in Idaho. Eight towns
along the OSL route had their own teams that played in the Idaho State
League, a semi-pro circuit. The League consisted of the Caldwell
Countyseaters, Boise Senators, Payette Melon Eaters, Weiser Kids, Nampa
Beet Diggers, Emmett Prune Pickers, Mountain Home Dudes, and Huntington
Railroaders. Idaho had blue laws that prohibited many forms of
entertainment on Sundays, so baseball games were the major activity. Teams
and spectators traveled on the OSL to games held in nearby towns. It cost
$3.20 to go from Boise to Weiser for a game. A Boise paper said a game at
Caldwell “almost denuded the town of its male inhabitants.”
Walter Johnson, who later became a major league star, pitched for
the Weiser Kids, attracted a huge following. He pitched 67 straight scoreless
innings, leading papers to describe his games as “too much Johnson.”
Anthony Lucas, Big Trouble.
AGRICULTURE & MINING LEAD BOOM IN TEENS
The teens were a prosperous time for Idaho. WW I, which started in
1914 in Europe, created a huge demand for the state’s agricultural products
and minerals. In 1913, Idaho’s Mining Inspector said Idaho’s mines
“outstripped all former records of production.” In 1915, mining was “the
most prosperous of its history by reason of excessive demand for base metals
brought about by the European War.” Mineral production increased
significantly after the U.S. entered WW I, which brought economic benefits to
the Wood River Valley.
Idaho’s farmers and miners prospered, as did the Oregon Short Line
that transported their products. Property owners borrowed money to expand
their holdings, and irrigation systems were expanded into new areas.
WORLD WAR I.
The federal
government took
control over all
railroads in Dec.
1917. UP
transported tens of
thousands of
soldiers across the
country during the
war. This picture
shows troops
loading onto a
train in Oregon.
Photo from Union Pacific
Museum
This picture shows
the Shoshone
Canteen in W.W. I.
The author’s
grandmother,
Alberta McFall
Lundin, is the
fourth woman
from the right.
Mrs. Gooding is to
the right of her.
Photo from Lundin
Collection
END OF WWI BRINGS ECONOMIC DECLINE
When WW I ended, demand for Idaho’s minerals and agricultural
products dropped dramatically, commodity prices fell, land values went
down, banks called in their loans and later failed when there was no money
to pay the loans. The value of Idaho farmland dropped by 2/3, and an
Agricultural Recession swept the Rocky Mountain west. “The Roaring
Twenties hit Idaho with a dull thud.”
The boom years for Idaho residents were over, and the railroads
serving the state suffered financial reverses that paralleled those of its
customers. The 1920s and 1930s were difficult times in Idaho.
RAILROADS FACE NEW CHALLENGES
UP constantly had to meet new challenges in the 20th century.
Federal laws were passed in 1903, 1906, and 1910 regulating railroads, and
the ICC was established to control their fares and routes. Harriman died in
1909, and new leadership had to be found. Other challenges included
competition from the opening of the Panama Canal in 1912, the emergence
of motor buses and cars, and oil pipelines in the teens and 1920s. Passenger
business declined for all transcontinental railroads in the 1920s and 1930s.
The collapse of the stock market in 1929 caused railroads to falter.
After WW I, UP reorganized to meet the new challenges. Before the
war, a number of subsidiaries were incorporated into the OSL, but UP and OSL
had separate presidents and organizations. After the war, UP consolidated,
and one president and organization oversaw the entire operation. In 1934,
the separate roads were done away with and the UP became a single unit,
and a single transportation system became a reality.
1936: UP DEVELOPED SUN VALLEY
In the 1930s, W. Averell Harriman (1891 – 1986), son of E. H.
Harriman, controlled the Union Pacific Railroad. UP, like all railroads, was
struggling from the effects of the Depression, and Harriman believed UP was
losing customers in the winter months to its southern competitors. A life long
skier, he decided to build a destination ski resort somewhere along the Union
Pacific line to attract more business. He hired an Austrian Count, Felix
Schaffgotsch, to find the best location for a ski resort. After touring the west,
and inspecting virtually all locations that were later developed as ski areas,
Schaffgotch chose Ketchum, Idaho, on UP’s Wood River Branch, as the site for
the new resort.
Union Pacific built the Sun Valley Ski Resort in seven months in 1936,
spending $1.5 million. It opened in December 1936, to great acclaim. Visitors
traveled to Sun Valley on Union Pacific trains.
SEATTLE TIMES, NOVEMBER 18, 1936.
“Sun Valley was born – a fashionable ski resort costing Harriman and
the Union Pacific something more than $1 million; offering a luxurious ultra-
modern hotel with accommodations for some 200 guests; sun bathing in
roofless ice igloos; mid-winter swimming in outdoor pools fed by natural hot
springs; ski-tows to raise skiers 1,470 feet in elevation on a 6,500 foot-long
hoist; the other which gives the skier 650 feet of elevation above the valley
level.”
Union Pacific engineers invented the chair lift for the new resort,
consisting of single person chairs hanging from an aerial cable to take skiers
up the hills quickly and comfortably. Sun Valley changed skiing in the U.S.
forever, and attracted movie stars, socialites, and many other outdoor
enthusiasts from all over the world. UP believed “the key was not merely to
get people there but to get the right people there.”
Count Felix
Schlaffgosch &
Averell Harriman,
in front of Sun
Valley Lodge
looking toward
Baldy.
Photo from the
Community Library
Sun Valley Lodge
looking east down
Trail Creek.
Photo from postcard in
Lundin collection
Left, UP engineers
experimenting
with chair lift,
Omaha, Nebraska.
Right, chair lift at
Dollar Mountain.
Sun Valley ad
showing fares from
Seattle - $34.50
first class, $13
lower berth. The
resort offered
skiing, skating, dog
sledging, sleighing,
swimming, and
dinner dancing.
Rates ranged from
$10 to $22 a
person per day.
Seattle Times, 3/14/37.
TRAINS WERE THE LIFE BLOOD OF SUN VALLEY
Sun Valley was located on a Union Pacific Branch line, so trains were
the primary means of transportation to the resort from its beginning.
Passengers rode the main UP east-west line to Shoshone, and transferred to
the Wood River Branch to Ketchum. Legions of passengers, including Earnest
Hemingway, stopped at the McFall Hotel in Shoshone for a drink or to stay
overnight while waiting for the last leg of their trip.
In 1941, Sun Valley began providing buses to transport skiers from
Shoshone to Ketchum, to supplement the one train a day service. By 1951,
the Shoshone to Ketchum mixed freight train ran three times a week, mainly
hauling freight. According to Walt Cochran, a local historian, this train service
was necessary because Sun Valley was heated by a coal-fired boiler, and coal
was brought in by train. Additionally, the resort did not have a laundry and its
dirty laundry was sent to Omaha for cleaning. By 1959, the number of stops
between Shoshone and Ketchum was reduced to six, down from 12.
SKI TRAINS TO SUN VALLEY
Ski trains were an important part of Sun Valley’s winter business. Ski
trains operated from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle and a few other
cities, coming all the way to the Ketchum depot. Ski trains from Los Angeles
were the best known. The first “City of Los Angeles” ski train arrived on
December 23, 1937. The trains had orchestras and extra bar cars so skiers
could party the whole trip. The L.A. ski train’s motto was: “Lock up your
women, lock up your beer, the L.A. ski train, just got here.”
The “Snowball Express” ran yearly from L.A. to Ketchum from 1958
to 1972, and carried a total of 12,957 skiers over the years. The train was so
popular that reservations had to be made a year in advance. Etiquette rules
for ski trains provided that the skier would conduct himself in the spirit of
good fellowship that prevails, but you will never see him drinking to excess,
waxing his skis in the aisles, playing a portable radio too loudly, boasting of his
prowess, pushing his way to the best seat, or lolling in the diner when others
are waiting.
Skiers & summer
tourists getting off
trains at Ketchum
depot.
Photos from the
Community Library
UP CONTINUED TO SERVICE THE WRV MINES & SHEEP
INDUSTRY
Union Pacific trains continued to service WRV mines and businesses,
and transport sheep in and out of the Valley. Some mining continued in the
WRV until the 1960s, and trains carried the ores produced to smelters located
elsewhere.
Between 1936 – 1957, the Triumph Mine on the East Fork of the
Wood River produced $28 - $29 M in ore. In the 1950s & 1960s, the Queen of
the Hills and Minnie Moore Mines outside of Bellevue were jointly operated,
and produced $3.5M in ore in he 1960s.
Pens near the Ketchum and Bellevue train stations were assembly
points for sheep being shipped out of the Wood River Valley.
1964 – UNION PACIFIC SELLS SUN VALLEY
In 1963, UP hired Bill Janss, a S. California real estate developer, as a
consultant for Sun Valley. Janss determined it would cost $6M to upgrade
and modernize the resort. Rather than make that investment at a time when
passenger rail traffic was dying, UP sold Sun Valley to Janss for $3M. Janss
invested $7M, developed the Warm Springs and Seattle Ridge portions of the
mountain, and built condos. In 1977, Janss sold Sun Valley to Earl Holding for
$12 M, who invested heavily in the resort making it a world class facility.
The Union Pacific glorified Sun Valley, making it a destination for
Hollywood stars, socialites and skiers from all walks of life. Ernest
Hemingway was a SV regular who completed For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1939,
staying at the lodge. Regular visitors included Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Errol
Flynn, Lucille Ball, Ann Southern, Marilyn Monroe and others. The Kennedy
family and the Shah of Iran skied at Sun Valley. “Until 1964, we were kind of a
private club for wealthy people.” Dorice Taylor, former SV resort publicity
director.
Ernest Hemingway
committed suicide
in Ketchum on July
2, 1961, and is
buried in Ketchum.
The Community
Library holds a
Hemingway
Festival every fall.
These pictures
show Hemingway
in Sun Valley in
1939, and his
Memorial on Trail
Creek.
Photos from Wikipedia
AMTRAK TAKES OVER RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE
In the 1950s and 1960s, passenger train service in the U.S. declined
due to competition from private cars and airline service, made worse by lack
of investment in facilities by the railroads. Passenger service became a losing
financial proposition, and the railroad companies lobbied Congress to let
them abandon passenger service.
The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, allowed railroads to get out
of the passenger business. It established the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation (known as Amtrak from American Travel by Track) to operate
inter-city passenger rail service. Amtrak service began on May 1, 1971, with
21 routes in 43 states. Union Pacific gave up passenger service in 1971, after
losing $27 million the prior year. From 1977 to 1997, Amtrak service ran from
Seattle to Denver, with stops at Boise, Shoshone and Pocatello, but that route
was abandoned as part of a national Amtrak cutback.
AMTRAK
“A quasi-federal agency named Amtrak has kept overland trains in a
state of reliable mediocrity since 1971.”
Train: Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World, Tom Zoeliner
END OF RAIL SERVICE INTO WRV
Regular passenger service into the WRV ended in 1971. The last
passenger train to come to Ketchum was the “Preamble Express,” a 14 car
special pulled by four engines that brought 130 UP executives to Sun Valley
for a Board Meeting in August 1975.
One train a week continued to haul freight in and out of the Valley
until November 1980. In June 1882, the Interstate Commerce Commission
approved UP’s abandonment of the Wood River Branch from Richfield to
Ketchum, which UP said cost $772,000 a year to operate. In 1983, UP
abandoned the Hill City Branch from Shoshone to Richfield, then through
Camas Prairie to Hill City.
The Preamble
Express was the
last passenger
train to come to
Ketchum on May
19, 1975. It was a
14 car special train
bringing UP
executives to Sun
Valley for a Board
meeting. 300
students at
Hemingway School
toured the train.
Mountain Express,
August 22, 1975
UP donated its
depot to Ketchum
in May 1975, for
use as an ore
wagon museum.
The depot
collapsed the
following winter
during a heavy
snowstorm.
Insurance
proceeds were
used to build a
new museum in
downtown.
Mountain Express,
August 22, 1975
1982 - UP
abandoned the
WRV branch. A
WRV businessman
offered UP
$775,000 for the
branch line to
operate as a
tourist attraction,
but UP wanted $27
M so the line was
abandoned.
Idaho Statesman,
8/21/82
Travelers can still
see evidence of
the railroad on
Camas Prairie.
These pictures
from Fairfield show
an old UP caboose
serving as a
visitor’s center,
and a grain
terminal. The OSL
depot in Fairfield is
used as the Camas
County Museum.
Photos from Lundin
collection & Amy Ballard
Hill City
Photos from Lundin
collection
In 1987, UP
removed the rails
from the WRV
roadbed. The
Idaho Dept. of
Transportation
obtained the right-
of-way, and the
Blaine County
Recreation District
built a trail using
proceeds from a
$1.7 bond issue.
The $4m trail was
finished in 1992.
Map from Blaine County Recreation
District. Photo from Sandy Hofferber.
The Blaine County
trail on the old OSL
right-of-way from
Bellevue to Hulen
Meadows is a
heavily used year
around facility.
PhotoS from Blaine County
Recreation Districtwebsite
Sheep on the
Blaine County trail
on the old OSL
right-of-way, a
merging to two
historic traditions.
Photos from Mary
Austin Crofts.
THE END

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OSL: A history of its impact on the Wood River Valley, Idaho_part02

  • 1. THE OREGON SHORT LINE RAILROAD: ITS HISTORY & IMPACT ON THE WOOD RIVER VALLEY IN THE 20TH CENTURY AGRICULTURAL ERA Presentation to the Community Library Part II, July 11, 2014 John W. Lundin (john@johnwlundin.com)
  • 2. The author’s great- grandparents, Matt & Isabelle McFall & children, 1888. Matt & Isabelle moved to Bellevue in 1881. They built the International Hotel on Main Street, which became the premier place to stay in the WRV (above). It burned down in 1909. They moved to Shoshone in 1893, and built the McFall Hotel in 1900. (below). Photos from Lundin collection & the Community Library.
  • 3. 1890s: AGRICULTURE BEGINS TO REPLACE MINING AS AN ECONOMIC BASE During the 1890s, agriculture began to replace mining as Idaho’s economic base, as sheep were brought into the WRV and thrived. The UP and OSL actively promoted agriculture and immigration to Idaho. In 1892, a Salt Lake paper published an article, Idaho: It Prospered in 1892 Notwithstanding the Depression in Mining. Irrigation canals had been built, more land was plowed, and Idaho began to use its water to give life to its “magnificent land” that “produces the best quality of everything that grows in abundance.” This will make it “one of the richest of States even without its precious metal mines.” Congress passed the Desert Land (Carey) Act of 1894, transferring federal land to states to encourage irrigation and development of the arid west. Land could be claimed in 160 acre tracts so long as it was irrigated.
  • 4. IRRIGATION MOVEMENT LOBBIES FOR FEDERAL PROGRAMS FOR THE ARID WEST The Irrigation Movement formed in the 1890s, led by William E. Smyth, to lobby for federal support for irrigation programs in the arid West. Yearly Irrigation Congresses were held to preach the “miracle of irrigation” to transform the arid desert into flourishing farms. Smyth and John Wesley Powell, the director of the USGS and the first white to explore the Grand Canyon, admired the Mormon practice of collectively run irrigation systems, and supported a federal program to support small farms to develop irrigation systems in river basins. The reclamation movement gained political power during the 1890s. In 1897, the Army Corps of Engineers did a study, Reservoirs of the Arid Region, that recommended federal construction of irrigation systems in the West.
  • 5. 1897: E.H. HARRIMAN BUYS UP & OSL OUT OF BANKRUPTCY In 1897, a investment group headed by E. H. Harriman bought the Union Pacific Railroad out of bankruptcy for $81.5 M. In 1898, he obtained control over the Oregon Short Line and the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company. Harriman acquired the Southern Pacific RR in 1900 for $40 M. He put these components together to operate as “one continuous line” as opposed to separate companies as before. Harriman spent $160 M over the next decade rehabilitating his railroads and expanding into new areas, competing against James J. Hill and his Great Northern/Northern Pacific empire for control of rail transportation in the West.
  • 6. Edward Henry Harriman (1848 – 1909). Harriman took control of UP at a time of unparalleled growth in the economy. Harriman “blazed through the transportation industry like a comet,” and transformed the UP from “a faded, mediocre carrier to the most efficient railroad west of the Mississippi.” Klein, Union Pacific. Photo s from Wikipedia
  • 7. Map of Union Pacific System under Harriman Map from Klein, Union Pacific
  • 8. 1898 GOLD RUSH ENDS DEPRESSION. The Silver Depression was ended by the Klondike Gold Rush, which began on July 17, 1897. Within a week, newspapers were announcing that the Depression was over. By spring 1898, Klondikers spent $25 M in Seattle ($724M today), and by 1900, its assayers handled $18 M in gold ($522 M in 2013 dollars). Seattle PI, July 17, 1897.
  • 9. Railroads competed to transport prospectors heading west for the Klondike Gold Rush. Since 70,000 of the 100,000 Klondikers went through Seattle, UP, NP and GN competed for their trade. The author’s grandfather, Mark Odell, left Cornell law school in March 1898, and traveled to the Klondike taking the NP to Seattle.
  • 10. The 1898 OSL Schedule shows the importance of the Gold Rush. The OSL was the “best route to the Klondike,” as its trains coordinated with steamships heading north - $15 to Skagway. The OSL was the “shortest, cheapest, and every way best line from all eastern and southern points to Alaska.” From Union Pacific Museum
  • 11. GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! OSL Passengers would receive a folder called “The Klondike, The Yukon, and Alaska,” providing “accurate information” about the region. “The Klondike is on the tongues and pens, the telegraph wires and typesetting machines of all creation.” Prospectors talk of “$100, $500 and $800 in gold, washed from a single pan of sand and gravel.” Ships were returning with “heaps of uncoined yellow gold…Every report is more encouraging than the last…This means from $1,000 to $12,000 a day for every man sluicing…We have one of the richest mining areas every found, with a fair prospect that we have not yet begun to discover its limits.”
  • 12. 1898 OSL SCHEDULE PROMOTED SETTLEMENT IN IDAHO “Utah and Idaho – the Home of Irrigation.” Extensive irrigation systems developed by Brigham Young are common in Utah and Idaho, along the entire line of the OSL, “where favorable climatic conditions , the plentitude of water, and the rare fertility of the soil conspire to make farming by irrigation certain of success…Millions of acres in each of these new states are thus made available for settlement…In the region where irrigation prevails, it insures not only the certainty of annual crops, but the certainty of perfect development, and the certainty of market…The invitation they offer is irresistible, and to it we add our own, that all who wish to fully realize true farming independence will come and make their homes within them.”
  • 13. 1898 OSL SCHEDULE PROMOTED SETTLEMENT IN IDAHO “Mines and Mining in Idaho” Another section of the schedule promoted the mining prospects in Idaho in equally glowing terms including the Wood River and Boise Basin. “WOOD RIVER. At Shoshone on the main line of the Oregon Short Line a branch runs northward to the great Wood River district where are located the Minnie Moore, Red Elephant, Bullion, Jay Gould, Walptone, Idaho, Democrat, Vanderbilt, North Star, Red Cloud, and dozens of other silver-lead mines which have in the past produced from a hundred thousand up into the millions in silver, lead and gold.”
  • 14. MINING RECOVERS IN WRV Mining led the economic recovery in the WRV in the early 1900s, as outside capital poured in to buy and reopen its mines. Idaho’s Mining Inspector said “the year 1899 witnessed a great advance in mining developments in the Wood River Valley.” In 1899, the Croesus Mine was purchased for $85,000 and was worked by 35 men, and it was resold in 1901 for $350,000. In 1900, the Minnie Moore Mine was purchased for $30,000, its owners invested $100,000 in the mine, it employed 120 men, and shipped $50,000 of ore on the OSL every month. In 1903, Idaho’s Mining Inspector said “Hailey is the center of the richest mining district in the State, which is just awakening from a lethargic condition of activity, and the Wood River mines are once again commencing to cut quite a figure in the mining history of Idaho.” The OSL began shipping large amounts of ore out of the WRV to smelters located elsewhere since the Philadelphia Smelter did not reopen.
  • 15. RECLAMATION ACT OF 1902 Led by President Theodore Roosevelt and John Wesley Powell, Congress adopted the Reclamation Act in 1902, providing federal funding of dams and irrigation projects to promote agriculture and settlement of the arid west. Money was generated by the sale of public lands in 10 western states, and project expenses would be paid by farmers using the water. Millions of dollars became available to build irrigation systems in arid states. The Reclamation Act provided $16M its first year, of which $2M was appropriated for Idaho. Idaho profited greatly from the Reclamation Act. By 1920, there were 123,000 miles of canals serving 18,000 farms totaling 2M acres along the Snake River and its tributaries. In 2012, Idaho had 11.7 M acres of farmland according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
  • 16. THREE MAIN PROJECTS IN CENTRAL IDAHO 1. MINIDOKA PROJECT. Minidoka Dam, built between 1904 – 1906, took water from the Snake River. The Project ultimately consisted of 7 dams, 1,600 miles of canals, and irrigated 120,000 acres. Migrants from all over the world settled there, and the new towns of Rupurt and Heyburn were formed. 2. TWIN FALLS PROJECT was designed by Ira Perrine and financed by Frank Buhl and Peter Kimberly from funds from the sale of their steel mills in Pa. The Twin Falls Land & Water Co. filed for water rights in 1900, to irrigate 250,000 acres using Snake River water. Milner Dam was built between 1903- 1905. The Twin Falls Investment Co. platted the city of Twin Falls in 1904. The company sold 117,000 acres in 1905, and ultimately sold 2 M acres of irrigated land. 3. MAGIC DAM & RESERVOIR on Camas Prairie, completed in 1910, took water from the Big Wood River to irrigate 75,000 acres around Richfield, Shoshone, Gooding & Dietrich with four canals.
  • 17. Minidoka Dam. A power plant finished in 1909, irrigated land south of the Snake, and provided surplus power that was sold locally, providing an example for Federal projects later. By 1910, the Minidoka Project irrigated 39,000 acres and 1,169 farms at a cost of nearly $6.5M. Photo from Bureau of Reclamation
  • 18. Twin Falls Land & Water Co. crews working on Milner Dam, completed in 1905. Its canals irrigated 30,000 acres on the north side of the Snake, and 195,000 acres on the south side. Photo from Library of Congress, 059593pv
  • 19. The upper picture shows Idaho Irrigation Co. crews building Magic Dam. The dam, finished in 1910, cost $2M, and was the largest earthen dam in the world at the time. Four canals irrigated 75,000 acres of land around Shoshone, Richfield, Gooding & Dietrich. The lower picture shows the control gates on the Richfield Canal. Photo from the Community Library & SHS, 1158-11
  • 20. LAND OPENINGS Developers purchased large tracts of land to be irrigated, formed new towns centered around grand hotels, and held mass land sales that were publicized nationally. Thousands of buyers traveled to Shoshone on the OSL for the openings. This shows Idaho Irrigation Co.’s Dietrich opening, in May 1909. Photo from 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County
  • 21. LAND DEVELOPERS WERE HEROS Central Idaho’s Reclamation Act projects resulted in the formation of a number of new towns in the early 1900s, to serve the newly irrigated farmland, and brought tens of thousands of immigrants to the state. New towns included Twin Falls, Richfield, Gooding, Buhl, Dietrich, Bliss, Wendell, Jerome, Heyburn, Rupert, and others. Developers who turned sagebrush deserts into productive farmland were widely admired. “Men who take thousands of acres of sagebrush absolutely without value and by the magic powers of irrigation transform it to thousands of valuable homes, dot the landscape with cities, and add to the general happiness of the race, are worthy of places in the Hall of Fame.” Betty Bever, Idaho and the Magic Circle.
  • 22. Many of the irrigated tracts of land sold in land openings were in Lincoln County, and Shoshone prospered as the County Seat and the railroad center for the region. Later, several new counties were formed from the original Lincoln County. The orange shows OSL’s main line going through Shoshone, and the Wood River Branch through Richfield.
  • 23. TWIN FALLS OPENING On July 1, 1903, the first opening was held for land developed by the Twin Falls Land and Irrigation Co., irrigated by Snake River water from the Milner Dam. 60,000 acres were offered for sale in Shoshone. “Little Jessie McFall, the daughter of a Shoshone businessman,” selected the first person to select land. The OSL offered special rates to “colonists” who came to the opening. Land sold for $.50 an acre and water cost $25 an acre. Ads said it was “one of the largest irrigated tracts in the world.” The city of Twin Falls was formed in 1904, as a model city for the tract. The Twin Falls Land and Water Co. initially irrigated 30,000 acres on the north side of the Snake, in what became Jerome and Gooding Counties, and 195,000 acres on the south side. The company ultimately irrigated 2 M acres.
  • 24. The Buhl opening was held in March 1907. Land was sold for $ .50 an acre, and the water rights were $28 an acre. Buhl had a grand hotel, waterworks, and electric power. OSL built a rail extension to Buhl in late 1907. The McFall Hotel in Shoshone is on the bottom. Both were designed by Boise architect, W.S. Campbell, who designed the Idanha Hotel in Boise. Photos from Everett Aplet.
  • 25. The Richfield opening was held in June 1907, where 40,000 acres were sold for $35.50 per acre. The Idaho Irrigation Co. collected $1.4 M before the sale took place. The OSL carried 1,000 people to the opening, and four Pullman cars provided overnight accommodations. Photo from 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County
  • 26. Richfield was planned to be a modern, all brick city. The $35,000 Richfield hotel, called “the ultimate in hotels,” opened in 1909. Richfield boomed as the center of construction for Magic Dam and Reservoir and the Richfield canal, and later as the start of the OSL’s Hill City branch. Photos from 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County & brochure from the ISHS, MS544 Box 8 Pam 9.
  • 27. The Gooding opening in November 1909, offered 70,000 acres, and was the only site on the OLS main line at the Toponis railstop. The townsite, formed in 1907, was Gov. Gooding’s homestead. The Lincoln Inn burned down in 1968 Photos from Flikr & the Twin Falls Library
  • 28. The Dietrich Opening in May 1909, offered 30,000 acres irrigated by water from Magic Reservoir for sale for $50.50 an acre. The 45 room $40,000 Dietrich Hotel had steam heat, rooms with baths “ensuite,”, a barber shop, billiard room, ladies parlor and the “best cuisine.” Photos from 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County & Twin Falls Library
  • 29. The Eden-Hazelton opening in April 1907, sold 30,000 acres at $30.50 an acre. The Jerome- Wendell and the Bliss-King Hill openings were in January 1909. In the June 1910 Big Lost opening around Arco, settlers drew lots and were let loose to claim land in an Oklahoma style land rush. Ad from Twin Falls News, March 31, 1905.
  • 30. The upper pictures show farmers converting sagebrush to agricultural land using sagebrush grubbers. The lower picture shows a sagebrush grubber. Photos from Casey Kenaston.
  • 31. Potatoes became a major crop for Idaho after 1899, when a spray against potato beetle was developed. Idaho’s potatoes farms increased from 2,000 acres in 1882, to 7,300 acres in 1890, to 9,300 in 1900, to 33,000 acres in 1915. Many carloads of potatoes were shipped by rail from Idaho to national markets. Photos from Casey Kenaston & Lundin collection
  • 32. Marilyn Monroe making Idaho potatoes look good! Potato museum in Blackfoot. Photos from Pinterest.com & Jim Matti
  • 33. The McFall ranch was discussed as a successful operation by the Idaho Irrigation Co. “The 27 acre McFall apple orchard four miles out of Shoshone has been producing bumper apple crops for 10 years without a single failure….This is a three-crop country for alfalfa…and three cuttings produced 8 ½ tons to the acre.” Pictures from Lundin collection, & the Community Library,
  • 34. Sheep were introduced into the WRV in the 1880s & 1890s. By 1900, 2 M sheep were shipped on the OSL from the WRV. In 1903, the OSL bought land around its depot in Ketchum from the Philadelphia Smelter for sheep pens. In the 1920s, Ketchum & Camas Prairie shipped more sheep than anywhere except for one station in Australia. Photos from the Community Library
  • 35. Idaho’s sheep history is still celebrated every fall in the Wood River Valley with the Trailing of the Sheep festival. Pictures from Trailing of the Sheep website
  • 36. SHEEP INDUSTRY IS CELEBRATED IN SONG Gun from Idaho Herding Sheep for Granville Pace Click go the Shears Songs & Stories from Sheepherding, Western Folklife Center
  • 37. RAILROADS WERE KEY TO IDAHO’S GROWTH “The influx of farmers intensified in the late 1870s and early 1880s, when the Oregon Short Line and the Utah and Northern…penetrated the [Snake River] Valley. Idaho’s doors opened to the wider world; outside markets beckoned, and the Snake River valley’s fertile soils, ample sunshine, and water – all extensively advertised by the railroads – lured fresh settlers to the area….The population rose accordingly; by 1890…the total stood at roughly 88,000; by 1900, some 161,000 people made their homes here. The early years of the 20th century were an era of spectacular growth for Idaho’s farms and cities. The streams of immigrants peaked during the first two decades of the twentieth century, as thousands of people claimed farms under the 1894 Carey Act and the 1902 Reclamation Act….Largely because of this intensive round of irrigation development, Idaho’s population more than doubled between 1900 and 1910, rising to about 325,000.” Mark Fiege, Irrigated Eden.
  • 38. RAILROADS PROMOTED IMMIGRATION Transcontinental railroads actively promoted immigration to the west, to sell land they owned and to develop business for their trains. The Great Northern recruited immigrants from Europe, and transported their goods west for $10 if they farmed near the railroad, built grain elevators, distributed free seeds, and promoted extension programs. The OSL promoted Idaho and encouraged immigration from its beginning. In 1886, an immigration agent went around the country promoting Idaho land and distributing the state’s apples and potatoes. After the Reclamation Act was passed in 1902, the UP’s Bureau of Community Publicity published promotional materials for 15 towns along the OSL. In 1916, it published Idaho Facts describing land available for purchase in the state. The Big Wood Valley was the “granary of Southern Idaho.” The 1919 OSL schedule announced the formation of a Homeseeker’s Bureau for those wishing to engage in farming along its routes.
  • 39. Examples of Oregon Short Line promotional brochures prepared for a number of Idaho Cities. They were 30-40 pages long, and described the areas’ crops, irrigation, town amenities, climate, resources and economic opportunities. From ISHS MS544Box8Pam5, & 4a, & the Community Library
  • 40. IMMIGRANT CARS Union Pacific and the OSL offered immigrant rates to families settling in Idaho. It cost $150 for a rail car holding 20,000 pounds, and $2 a pound for less than a full car, from the Mississippi River. Adults were charged $24, and children cost half fare. Thousands of settlers came to Shoshone on OSL immigrant cars and many left accounts of their travel. “An immigrant car was a box car. You rented it from the railroad, and you put your horses and all your machinery…your wife and your kids and everything, and you just moved.” “In that car at one end, the household goods, the furniture. Good furniture from a 10 room house and everything that went with it. And in the other end of the car was the livestock, that was three horses and a cow.” In 1905, Idaho had 21,000 farms covering 5 M acres worth $200M.
  • 41. TOURISM The OSL promoted tourism from the beginning. These show ads promoting Shoshone Falls, reached from Shoshone by stage, a major tourist destination in the late 1800s. A photo of Shoshone Falls was on the front of the 1898 OSL schedule. The Shoshone Ice Caves were also promoted. Photo by Timothy O’Sullivan, theatlantic.com/infocus/20
  • 42. TOURS TO NATIONAL PARKS In 1884, UP considered building a branch line to Yellowstone Park. In 1898, the OSL offered service to Yellowstone Park from Monida, Montana, a stop on its Utah & Northern route. Passengers took the Monida & Yellowstone Stage Line from Monida to the Park. Eight day tours from Omaha cost $118, from Denver $106, and $84.50 from Salt Lake. OSL formed the Yellowstone Park Railroad in 1905, to build a branch from Pocatello to Yellowstone Park, which began operations in 1907. The historic OSL depot is a visitors center in West Yellowstone. Union Pacific lobbying power helped to establish Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, Bryce Canyon National Monument, Kaibab National Forest, and the Sawtooth National Forest, areas served by the railroad. In 1903, UP created a Department of Tours, and it helped form the Bureau of Service for National Parks and Resorts to provide tours and operate resorts in southern Utah and northern Arizona.
  • 44. TOURS TO GUYER HOT SPRINGS Guyer Hot Springs Resort, two miles west of Ketchum, was developed in 1882, by Capt. Henry Guyer and Issac Lewis. Until the 1920s, it was a major resort that attracted visitors from inside and outside of the WRV, including dignitaries like Jay Gould and John Jacob Astor who came in their private rail cars. The OSL and UP promoted trips there for decades. In 1889, UP published a brochure, Western Resorts for Health & Pleasure Reached by the Union Pacific Railroad to promote tourism. It included Hailey Hot Springs, Clarendon Hot Springs, and Guyer Hot Springs “where there is no more attractive place in the northwest to spend a hot summer.” Fares: from Pocatello, $9.40; Shoshone, $5.75; Mountain Home, $8.10; Boise, $14.40. In 1907, the OSL offered a special excursion train from Shoshone to Guyer Hot Springs.
  • 45. In 1907, the Wood River Times reported that the OSL was going to purchase Guyer Hot Springs, extend its tracks there, and build a first class resort to include a large hotel, cottages, a gym, bowling alley, plunges and “other necessities for a first class summer resort.” Photo from the Community Library
  • 46. OSL BUILT BRANCH LINES & SPURS In the first two decades of the 1900s, the Oregon Short Line built a number of branches and spur lines to connect other farming and mining communities with its main line, bringing prosperity and growth. In 1901, the OSL built a branch line from Blackfoot, Idaho, through Arco to the new town of Mackay on the Big Lost River. John Mackay, who made a fortune in the Comstock lode in Nevada, financed 80% of the line to reach his copper mining interests. His company built the town of Mackay. U.P.’s Land Company promoted settlement in the valley. In 1904, the Twin Falls Branch was built from OSL’s main line at Minidoka to Rupert, Burley, Twin Falls, and Buhl. In 1909, the Bliss cutoff was built. Another spur connected Emmett and Payette, and short lines connected the main line with Aberdeen, Homedale, Murphy, Paris, Wilder and other small Idaho towns.
  • 47. OSL depots at Blackfoot and Mackay Photos from Flikr: The Train Stations
  • 48. HILL CITY BRANCH INTO CAMAS PRAIRIE Completion of Magic Reservoir and Richfield Canal in 1910, and the success of the sheep industry, led the OSL to build the Hill City Branch from Richfield, north of Shoshone, through Camas Prairie to Hill City. The new line began operations in late 1911. The OSL had plans to continue the line to Boise and on to Coos Bay, Oregon. U.P.’s Land Company promoted Camas Prairie, saying it “has 300,000 acres of land that can be farmed, either by irrigation or by non-irrigation methods. It is the granary of Southern Idaho. Land can be had from $20 per acre upwards, depending on their location, and their water supply.” It is often said that in the 1920s, Hill City and Ketchum shipped more sheep by rail than any other place except for one station in Australia.
  • 49. The new Richfield depot built in 1908, and the first train to go on the Hill City line from Richfield to Hill City. 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County
  • 50. Corral depot & Hill City engine house. Developers promoted land sales in the new towns of Fairfield and Hill City. In 1912, Hill City had 2 hotels, a general store, 2 saloons, a Post Office, lumber yard, and a number of shacks. Photos from Union Pacific Museum & the Community Library
  • 51. 1919 map of the Oregon Short Line showing its many branches & spur lines.
  • 52. 1919 OSL schedule. There were 16 stops between Shoshone & Ketchum. Trains left Shoshone at 7:30 am, arrived in Bellevue at 10:25, and Ketchum at 11:15. They left Ketchum at 1:00 pm and arrived in Shoshone at 4:00 pm.
  • 53. SHOSHONE BOOMED IN THE EARLY 1900s In the first two decades of the 1900s, Shoshone boomed as it was economic hub of the region. Shoshone was the center of a productive agricultural region, and was in the middle of three major Reclamation Act projects (and was called “the Best Dam County” in the country). It was the County seat of Lincoln County formed in 1895, and was the “Junction” between the Wood River branch and the main OSL east-west line. All the ore from the newly reopened Wood River mines, the region’s agricultural products, and materials for building the new Reclamation Act towns surrounding it, were shipped through Shoshone. Thousands of farmers came to Shoshone on OSL immigrant cars. The McFall Hotel was expanded in 1902 and 1910 to accommodate the new business, and its restaurant was kept open 24 hours a day since railroads did not have dining cars and stopped along their routes to feed their passengers.
  • 54. RAILROADS BROUGHT EASTERN GOODS WEST Refrigerator cars cooled by ice were invented in the 1870s, which allowed perishable goods to be shipped by rail all over the country. Mark Kurlansky, in his book, The Big Oyster: History in a Half Shell, described how New York oysters were shipped all over the country by rail, providing seafood to westerners. In April 1899, the Lincoln House opened in Shoshone, billed as “second to none” in the city, offering “fresh oysters by the plate or can,” taking advantage of Shoshone’s location on Union Pacific’s east west line.
  • 55. TRAINS BROUGHT PRESIDENTS TO IDAHO On the left, William Taft in 1910 & Theodore Roosevelt in 1914, in Shoshone. President Truman is shown on the right in 1950. The McFall Hotel is behind the train in all three pictures. Photos from 100 Years Together, A Tribute to Lincoln County
  • 56. This picture of Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker), the Sundance Kid (Harry Longbaugh) & the Hole in the Wall Gang was taken in San Antonio in fall 1900. Robert Redford & Paul Newman as Sundance & Butch.
  • 57. SHOSHONE WAS STILL THE WILD WEST In fall 1900, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and their Hole in the Wall gang stayed at the McFall Hotel in Shoshone. They had just held up a UP train in Wyoming, and were on their way to rob a bank in Nevada to finance Butch and Sundance’s escape to Bolivia. Some of the loot was stashed around Shoshone. After the gang robbed the bank, they went to San Antonio to hide out in a house of prostitution, where their famous picture was taken. Two gang members returned to the McFall Hotel to “honeymoon” with their new prostitute wives and dig up their loot. Pinkerton detectives later interviewed the gang members and their “wives” to obtain their story. Farrell Clark moved to Shoshone in 1906. He said it was a “wild and wooly railroad town” with 9 saloons and 9 “girlie houses.” Cowboys would ride their horses into saloons and shoot out all of the lights. Up to 50 tramps hung out at the stockyards known as the jungle. Indians making their annual trek to Camas Prairie to harvest camas came through town every year.
  • 58. Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid & the Hole in the Wall Gang robbed the Montpelier, Idaho bank on August 13, 1896, getting $16,500. The sheriff chased them on a bicycle.
  • 59. ATTITUDES WERE MUCH DIFFERENT An ad that appeared in a Shoshone newspaper in 1910, shows how much life has changed since then. The ad involved a product for people who were unfortunate enough to be skinny. Dr. Morrow’s new discovery, ANTI-LEAN, was guaranteed to make people fat, strong and vigorous. All lean people are neurotic, have rapid heart beats, poor digestion and assimilation. ANTI-LEAN quiets down their nervousness and heart action, tones up their appetite, increases their digestion, and regulates their bowels. When this done, nature will make them fat. Bever, Magic Circle.
  • 60. OSL MADE BASEBALL SERIES POSSIBLE Baseball became popular in the early 1900s in Idaho. Eight towns along the OSL route had their own teams that played in the Idaho State League, a semi-pro circuit. The League consisted of the Caldwell Countyseaters, Boise Senators, Payette Melon Eaters, Weiser Kids, Nampa Beet Diggers, Emmett Prune Pickers, Mountain Home Dudes, and Huntington Railroaders. Idaho had blue laws that prohibited many forms of entertainment on Sundays, so baseball games were the major activity. Teams and spectators traveled on the OSL to games held in nearby towns. It cost $3.20 to go from Boise to Weiser for a game. A Boise paper said a game at Caldwell “almost denuded the town of its male inhabitants.” Walter Johnson, who later became a major league star, pitched for the Weiser Kids, attracted a huge following. He pitched 67 straight scoreless innings, leading papers to describe his games as “too much Johnson.” Anthony Lucas, Big Trouble.
  • 61. AGRICULTURE & MINING LEAD BOOM IN TEENS The teens were a prosperous time for Idaho. WW I, which started in 1914 in Europe, created a huge demand for the state’s agricultural products and minerals. In 1913, Idaho’s Mining Inspector said Idaho’s mines “outstripped all former records of production.” In 1915, mining was “the most prosperous of its history by reason of excessive demand for base metals brought about by the European War.” Mineral production increased significantly after the U.S. entered WW I, which brought economic benefits to the Wood River Valley. Idaho’s farmers and miners prospered, as did the Oregon Short Line that transported their products. Property owners borrowed money to expand their holdings, and irrigation systems were expanded into new areas.
  • 62. WORLD WAR I. The federal government took control over all railroads in Dec. 1917. UP transported tens of thousands of soldiers across the country during the war. This picture shows troops loading onto a train in Oregon. Photo from Union Pacific Museum
  • 63. This picture shows the Shoshone Canteen in W.W. I. The author’s grandmother, Alberta McFall Lundin, is the fourth woman from the right. Mrs. Gooding is to the right of her. Photo from Lundin Collection
  • 64. END OF WWI BRINGS ECONOMIC DECLINE When WW I ended, demand for Idaho’s minerals and agricultural products dropped dramatically, commodity prices fell, land values went down, banks called in their loans and later failed when there was no money to pay the loans. The value of Idaho farmland dropped by 2/3, and an Agricultural Recession swept the Rocky Mountain west. “The Roaring Twenties hit Idaho with a dull thud.” The boom years for Idaho residents were over, and the railroads serving the state suffered financial reverses that paralleled those of its customers. The 1920s and 1930s were difficult times in Idaho.
  • 65. RAILROADS FACE NEW CHALLENGES UP constantly had to meet new challenges in the 20th century. Federal laws were passed in 1903, 1906, and 1910 regulating railroads, and the ICC was established to control their fares and routes. Harriman died in 1909, and new leadership had to be found. Other challenges included competition from the opening of the Panama Canal in 1912, the emergence of motor buses and cars, and oil pipelines in the teens and 1920s. Passenger business declined for all transcontinental railroads in the 1920s and 1930s. The collapse of the stock market in 1929 caused railroads to falter. After WW I, UP reorganized to meet the new challenges. Before the war, a number of subsidiaries were incorporated into the OSL, but UP and OSL had separate presidents and organizations. After the war, UP consolidated, and one president and organization oversaw the entire operation. In 1934, the separate roads were done away with and the UP became a single unit, and a single transportation system became a reality.
  • 66. 1936: UP DEVELOPED SUN VALLEY In the 1930s, W. Averell Harriman (1891 – 1986), son of E. H. Harriman, controlled the Union Pacific Railroad. UP, like all railroads, was struggling from the effects of the Depression, and Harriman believed UP was losing customers in the winter months to its southern competitors. A life long skier, he decided to build a destination ski resort somewhere along the Union Pacific line to attract more business. He hired an Austrian Count, Felix Schaffgotsch, to find the best location for a ski resort. After touring the west, and inspecting virtually all locations that were later developed as ski areas, Schaffgotch chose Ketchum, Idaho, on UP’s Wood River Branch, as the site for the new resort. Union Pacific built the Sun Valley Ski Resort in seven months in 1936, spending $1.5 million. It opened in December 1936, to great acclaim. Visitors traveled to Sun Valley on Union Pacific trains.
  • 67. SEATTLE TIMES, NOVEMBER 18, 1936. “Sun Valley was born – a fashionable ski resort costing Harriman and the Union Pacific something more than $1 million; offering a luxurious ultra- modern hotel with accommodations for some 200 guests; sun bathing in roofless ice igloos; mid-winter swimming in outdoor pools fed by natural hot springs; ski-tows to raise skiers 1,470 feet in elevation on a 6,500 foot-long hoist; the other which gives the skier 650 feet of elevation above the valley level.” Union Pacific engineers invented the chair lift for the new resort, consisting of single person chairs hanging from an aerial cable to take skiers up the hills quickly and comfortably. Sun Valley changed skiing in the U.S. forever, and attracted movie stars, socialites, and many other outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. UP believed “the key was not merely to get people there but to get the right people there.”
  • 68. Count Felix Schlaffgosch & Averell Harriman, in front of Sun Valley Lodge looking toward Baldy. Photo from the Community Library
  • 69. Sun Valley Lodge looking east down Trail Creek. Photo from postcard in Lundin collection
  • 70. Left, UP engineers experimenting with chair lift, Omaha, Nebraska. Right, chair lift at Dollar Mountain.
  • 71. Sun Valley ad showing fares from Seattle - $34.50 first class, $13 lower berth. The resort offered skiing, skating, dog sledging, sleighing, swimming, and dinner dancing. Rates ranged from $10 to $22 a person per day. Seattle Times, 3/14/37.
  • 72. TRAINS WERE THE LIFE BLOOD OF SUN VALLEY Sun Valley was located on a Union Pacific Branch line, so trains were the primary means of transportation to the resort from its beginning. Passengers rode the main UP east-west line to Shoshone, and transferred to the Wood River Branch to Ketchum. Legions of passengers, including Earnest Hemingway, stopped at the McFall Hotel in Shoshone for a drink or to stay overnight while waiting for the last leg of their trip. In 1941, Sun Valley began providing buses to transport skiers from Shoshone to Ketchum, to supplement the one train a day service. By 1951, the Shoshone to Ketchum mixed freight train ran three times a week, mainly hauling freight. According to Walt Cochran, a local historian, this train service was necessary because Sun Valley was heated by a coal-fired boiler, and coal was brought in by train. Additionally, the resort did not have a laundry and its dirty laundry was sent to Omaha for cleaning. By 1959, the number of stops between Shoshone and Ketchum was reduced to six, down from 12.
  • 73. SKI TRAINS TO SUN VALLEY Ski trains were an important part of Sun Valley’s winter business. Ski trains operated from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle and a few other cities, coming all the way to the Ketchum depot. Ski trains from Los Angeles were the best known. The first “City of Los Angeles” ski train arrived on December 23, 1937. The trains had orchestras and extra bar cars so skiers could party the whole trip. The L.A. ski train’s motto was: “Lock up your women, lock up your beer, the L.A. ski train, just got here.” The “Snowball Express” ran yearly from L.A. to Ketchum from 1958 to 1972, and carried a total of 12,957 skiers over the years. The train was so popular that reservations had to be made a year in advance. Etiquette rules for ski trains provided that the skier would conduct himself in the spirit of good fellowship that prevails, but you will never see him drinking to excess, waxing his skis in the aisles, playing a portable radio too loudly, boasting of his prowess, pushing his way to the best seat, or lolling in the diner when others are waiting.
  • 74. Skiers & summer tourists getting off trains at Ketchum depot. Photos from the Community Library
  • 75. UP CONTINUED TO SERVICE THE WRV MINES & SHEEP INDUSTRY Union Pacific trains continued to service WRV mines and businesses, and transport sheep in and out of the Valley. Some mining continued in the WRV until the 1960s, and trains carried the ores produced to smelters located elsewhere. Between 1936 – 1957, the Triumph Mine on the East Fork of the Wood River produced $28 - $29 M in ore. In the 1950s & 1960s, the Queen of the Hills and Minnie Moore Mines outside of Bellevue were jointly operated, and produced $3.5M in ore in he 1960s. Pens near the Ketchum and Bellevue train stations were assembly points for sheep being shipped out of the Wood River Valley.
  • 76. 1964 – UNION PACIFIC SELLS SUN VALLEY In 1963, UP hired Bill Janss, a S. California real estate developer, as a consultant for Sun Valley. Janss determined it would cost $6M to upgrade and modernize the resort. Rather than make that investment at a time when passenger rail traffic was dying, UP sold Sun Valley to Janss for $3M. Janss invested $7M, developed the Warm Springs and Seattle Ridge portions of the mountain, and built condos. In 1977, Janss sold Sun Valley to Earl Holding for $12 M, who invested heavily in the resort making it a world class facility. The Union Pacific glorified Sun Valley, making it a destination for Hollywood stars, socialites and skiers from all walks of life. Ernest Hemingway was a SV regular who completed For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1939, staying at the lodge. Regular visitors included Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Ann Southern, Marilyn Monroe and others. The Kennedy family and the Shah of Iran skied at Sun Valley. “Until 1964, we were kind of a private club for wealthy people.” Dorice Taylor, former SV resort publicity director.
  • 77. Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in Ketchum on July 2, 1961, and is buried in Ketchum. The Community Library holds a Hemingway Festival every fall. These pictures show Hemingway in Sun Valley in 1939, and his Memorial on Trail Creek. Photos from Wikipedia
  • 78. AMTRAK TAKES OVER RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE In the 1950s and 1960s, passenger train service in the U.S. declined due to competition from private cars and airline service, made worse by lack of investment in facilities by the railroads. Passenger service became a losing financial proposition, and the railroad companies lobbied Congress to let them abandon passenger service. The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, allowed railroads to get out of the passenger business. It established the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (known as Amtrak from American Travel by Track) to operate inter-city passenger rail service. Amtrak service began on May 1, 1971, with 21 routes in 43 states. Union Pacific gave up passenger service in 1971, after losing $27 million the prior year. From 1977 to 1997, Amtrak service ran from Seattle to Denver, with stops at Boise, Shoshone and Pocatello, but that route was abandoned as part of a national Amtrak cutback.
  • 79. AMTRAK “A quasi-federal agency named Amtrak has kept overland trains in a state of reliable mediocrity since 1971.” Train: Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World, Tom Zoeliner
  • 80. END OF RAIL SERVICE INTO WRV Regular passenger service into the WRV ended in 1971. The last passenger train to come to Ketchum was the “Preamble Express,” a 14 car special pulled by four engines that brought 130 UP executives to Sun Valley for a Board Meeting in August 1975. One train a week continued to haul freight in and out of the Valley until November 1980. In June 1882, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved UP’s abandonment of the Wood River Branch from Richfield to Ketchum, which UP said cost $772,000 a year to operate. In 1983, UP abandoned the Hill City Branch from Shoshone to Richfield, then through Camas Prairie to Hill City.
  • 81. The Preamble Express was the last passenger train to come to Ketchum on May 19, 1975. It was a 14 car special train bringing UP executives to Sun Valley for a Board meeting. 300 students at Hemingway School toured the train. Mountain Express, August 22, 1975
  • 82. UP donated its depot to Ketchum in May 1975, for use as an ore wagon museum. The depot collapsed the following winter during a heavy snowstorm. Insurance proceeds were used to build a new museum in downtown. Mountain Express, August 22, 1975
  • 83. 1982 - UP abandoned the WRV branch. A WRV businessman offered UP $775,000 for the branch line to operate as a tourist attraction, but UP wanted $27 M so the line was abandoned. Idaho Statesman, 8/21/82
  • 84. Travelers can still see evidence of the railroad on Camas Prairie. These pictures from Fairfield show an old UP caboose serving as a visitor’s center, and a grain terminal. The OSL depot in Fairfield is used as the Camas County Museum. Photos from Lundin collection & Amy Ballard
  • 85. Hill City Photos from Lundin collection
  • 86. In 1987, UP removed the rails from the WRV roadbed. The Idaho Dept. of Transportation obtained the right- of-way, and the Blaine County Recreation District built a trail using proceeds from a $1.7 bond issue. The $4m trail was finished in 1992. Map from Blaine County Recreation District. Photo from Sandy Hofferber.
  • 87. The Blaine County trail on the old OSL right-of-way from Bellevue to Hulen Meadows is a heavily used year around facility. PhotoS from Blaine County Recreation Districtwebsite
  • 88. Sheep on the Blaine County trail on the old OSL right-of-way, a merging to two historic traditions. Photos from Mary Austin Crofts.