Acknowledged as one of the fastest growing states of America, Idaho with its harsh yet scenic landscape is an escape from the concrete jungles for outdoor enthusiasts.
Its geography of rivers, lakes, canyons, wilderness and mountain ranges filled with minerals and precious stones are a gift to the fun-loving residents, likely obsessed about their state crop potato.
Impressive Idaho Facts here offers a sneak peek into the abundance of this lovely place and adorable people before you get to visit someday.
Idaho Facts: The Humble Origin | 1 – 5
01. A blade like tool made of rock discovered recently by archeologists proved that human beings existed 13,500 years ago in Idaho.
02. Nez Perce, Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai, Shoshone, Bannock, and Blackfeet are some native Indian tribes identified that still continue to live in Idaho.
03. American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the first non-native people to reach Idaho in 1805.
04. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 between the US and Britain marked the permanent ownership transfer of Idaho area to America.
05. Firstly, as Oregon Territory (1848), it became a Washington Territory and then its own Idaho Territory and joined the US in 1890 as the 43rd state.
Idaho Facts: Timeline 1801-1900 | 6 – 10
06. Explorers Lewis and Henry passed through Idaho in 1805, followed by fur trader Andrew Henry building a fort on Snake River in 1810 and missionaries Henry and Eliza setting up Lapwai missions in 1836.
07. Through the Oregon Treaty signed with Britain in 1846, Idaho became part of the US, part of Oregon at first and later Washington in 1848 and 1853 respectively.
08. Year 1860 was significant on account of the discovery of gold at Orofino Creek and due to the first permanent settlement that was established in Franklin.
09. The territory of Idaho first had Lewiston as capital in 1863 that shifted to the present Boise in 1864.
10. On July 3, 1890, the territory of Idaho became the 43rd state of the United States of America.
Idaho Facts: The Name Game | 11-15
11. When Congressional committee considered a new territory around Pikes Peak Region, S W Beall in the April 18, 1860 issue of the Rocky Mountain News wrote that Idaho name was popular.
12. The Congressional Globe of May 10 and 11, 1860 recorded Idaho as a native Indian name meaning ‘Gem of the Mountains.’
13. As published in the New York Daily Tribune, December 11, 1875, Physician, Prospector and Political Lobbyist George M. Willing claimed to have named it after a little girl Ida.
14. Joaquin Miller, the ‘poet of the Sierras’ spelt it as ‘E-dah-hoe’ and interpreted as ‘the light or diadem on the line of the mountain,’ while another version interpreted ‘land of many waters.’
15. Historians accepted the Miller version but were aware that the name Idaho existed before that definition; Colorado and Montana were other names considered for the territory before naming Idaho.
Idaho Facts: Statistical Geography | 16 – 20
16. Idaho has 44 counties and is bordered by Canada in the north, Montana and Wyoming in the east, Utah and Nevada in the south, and Oregon and Washington in the west.
Understand why some fighting native Americans could escape into Canada during the Nez Perce War in 1877!
17. Idaho ranks the 14th biggest state in land area with 82,643 square miles but has a sparse population of 1,754,208 as on July 1, 2018 (V2018) ranking seventh least densely populated in the US.
18. The Rocky Mountains across north and center of the state has the highest Borah Peak (12,662 feet) and the deepest gorge of North America, Hells Canyon (7,900 feet) as well.
19. Volcanic eruptions almost entirely flattened the southern Columbia Plateau about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago while the Basin and Range Province, Bear River Basin, high ridges, valleys with grassy plateaus are part of Southeast Idaho.
20. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is the largest contiguous federally managed wilderness at 2.367 million acres (9,580 km2).
Idaho Facts: Meandering Rivers | 21 – 25
21. Idaho state has the most river miles in the country. There are over river 3,100 miles that serve the irrigation, energy and recreational needs in their pristine and scenic forms.
22. Salmon River, the longest single-state contained river in the country runs through Central Idaho and divides the state into two time zones before it converges into Snake River.
23. The Snake River, the largest tributary of the Columbia River is Idaho’s lifeblood; it has over 15 dams for irrigation, hydroelectricity and navigation.
24. Hells Canyon, the deep gorge of Snake River sets the boundary between Idaho and Oregon. Shoshone Falls, a waterfall of Snake river is called the ‘Niagara of the West’ and is 65 meters higher than Niagara.
25. The Rivers Owyhee, Lochsa, Selway, Boise, Big Wood, Clark Fork, Jarbidge, Coeur d’Alene, St Joe etc. are others that meander throughout Idaho.
Idaho Facts: The Gem State | 26 – 30
26. Idaho mines more than 72 gemstones including star garnets, amethysts, rubies and diamonds, and is aptly nicknamed as the Gem State.
27. The largest diamond of the US was discovered in Idaho.
28. In the entire world, the state gem ‘Star Garnet’ is found only in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, apart from India.
29. Idaho ranks high among the states in the mining of Silver, Antimony, Lead, Cobalt, Garnet, Phosphate rock, Vanadium, Zinc, Mercury and Travertine, a type of marble.
30. Idaho Gold Rush produced about 90 tons of gold from placers, earning several million dollars, of which some mines are still active.
Idaho Facts: The Potato Love | 31 – 35
31. Among the US states, Idaho contributes a third of potatoes, the world’s fifth important crop (after wheat, corn, rice and sugarcane).
32. While 9% are certified seed, 29% are shipped fresh, the balance 62% are processed (frozen and dehydrated to make French fries).
33. Growing about 27 billion potatoes every year, Idaho has a Potato Museum in Blackfoot displaying the world’s largest potato chip and the world’s most enormous styrofoam potato.
34. The Idaho Potato Commission introduced ‘Grown in Idaho’ seal as early as 1959 and the mascot Spuddy Buddy in 1994, still voted the no.1, favorite and familiar mascot world over.
35. Since 1928, Idaho was the first state to introduce a graphic potato in license plate with inscriptions like ‘Idaho Potatoes,’ ‘World Famous Potato’ and ‘Famous Potatoes.’
With potato as a staple diet, the Huckleberry tea is good for starch digestion, probably why the Huckleberry is the state fruit!
Idaho Facts: Pride of Idaho | 36 – 40
36. The Shoshone native Sacagawea, who served as a guide and interpreter to American explorers Lewis and Clark was born in Lemhi River Valley, Idaho.
37. Hailing from Hailey, Idaho, Journalist and Poet Ezra Pound brought about a ‘modern’ movement in English and American Literature.
38. Largest food and drug retailers in the US, Albertsons’ founder Joe Albertson opened his first store on 16th and State Streets at Boise, Idaho in 1939,
39. The colossal sculptures of the four prominent American Presidents on Mount Rushmore was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, born at St Charles, Bear Lake, Idaho.
40. Former Astronaut and present Director of the US Geological Survey, James F. Reilly was born in Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Idaho Facts: Rags to Riches | 41 – 45
41. Forbes ranks Frank Vandersloot as the richest man of Idaho, #217 among 400 richest Americans and #472 among the billionaires of the world at $ 3.6B as of Oct. 2019, who owns 117,500 acres across Idaho, Utah and Montana.
42. Vandersloot is an entrepreneur (founder CEO – Melaleuca, Inc), radio network owner (Riverbend Communications), rancher (Riverbend Ranch), political campaign financier, who moved to Cocolalla, Idaho as an infant and presently lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
43. Born to a railroad laborer, Vandersloot tended his own and neighboring farms at age 12, enrolled into college through money saved, and studied working part-time cleaning a laundromat.
44. Vandersloot became the first family member to enter college and graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from BYU, Idaho (previously Ricks College) without debts, calling it one of his ‘proudest accomplishments.’
45. Vandersloot’s Melaleuca manufactures more than 450 health supplement products and sells them directly to more than 1.8 million consumers every month through its online store.
Idaho Facts: Fun Town Wallace | 46 – 50
46. In 2004, Mayor of Wallace proclaimed, “I, Ron Garitone, Mayor of Wallace, Idaho, and all of its subjects, and being of sound body and mind, do hereby solemnly declare and proclaim Wallace to be the Center of the Universe.”
47. The less than 800 residents of the town are confident on the theory of probabilism that if someone cannot prove that Wallace is not the Center of the Universe, then it is, by all means.
48. Previously, Wallace was the ‘Silver Capital of the World’ founded as a ‘placer center’ in 1884; now every building downtown has been registered on the National Register of Historic Place.
49. British actor and comedian Danny Wallace wrote a book on the spot, marriages were solemnized, beauties were crowned, and festivals with food and music were celebrated at the Center of the Universe.
50. Since 1992 Rick Shaffer called himself as Prime Minister of Wallace, and he became the only one in America to be recognized 16 years later through a charter as Prime Minister – Hospitality & Goodwill.
Idaho Facts: Some Dumb Laws | 51 – 55
51. It is illegal for a man in Idaho to present his sweetheart candies weighing more than 50 pounds.
52. Across the state, it is illegal to fish sitting on a camel, and in Boise it is illegal to fish from the back of a giraffe.
53. It is illegal to hunt from a helicopter in Idaho no matter if it is flying or grounded.
54. Eagle, Idaho has a law that forbids a person to sweep dirt from his house into the street.
55. According to the ‘Smile Ordinance’ 1948 of Pocatello, Idaho, it was illegal not to smile; it was passed to overcome the dampened spirit of the severe winter.
Idaho Facts: Fun | 56 – 60
56. From the Heavens Gate, Idaho, it is possible to view Washington, Montana and Oregon.
57. The longest main street in America is 37 miles located at the City of Island Park; most of the city’s main street that ranges from 500 to 5000 meters is US Route 20.
58. The first McCall Winter Carnival was started in 1924 by the locals to shoo away the inevitable winter boredom and had the first 248 visitors arriving from Boise by train.
59. The Treefort Music Fest is a multi-day, multi-venue indie rock festival held in downtown Boise and one of the most successful modern country music in America.
60. For potato love, the treat ‘Ice Cream Potato’ has been formulated with vanilla ice cream in potato shape, coated with cocoa powder topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and syrup.
Idaho Facts: More Fun | 61-65
61. There are no major professional teams in Idaho but the state boasts the smurf turf, the only blue football field in the world at Boise State University.
62. The state slogan is: Great Potatoes, Tasty Destinations.
63. Ghost towns like Wickahoney, Burke, Gilmore, Leesburg, De Lamar, Bonanza, Custer, Placerville etc. were boomtowns that previously mined millions of dollars’ worth of gold and had populations up to 7,000.
64. The Atomic City in Bingham county that had the National Reactor Testing Station active in the ‘70s has a population of 29 according to the 2010 census.
65. The Dog Bark Park Inn at Cottonwood, Idaho is the world’s only and biggest beagle-shaped bed and breakfast that requires booking months in advance for $100 a night.
Idaho Facts: First Of All | 66 – 70
66. Idaho’s Capital Building is the only one of its kind in the country to be heated through geothermal water at 3,000 feet underground.
67. Idaho women were the first to win the right to vote. Emma Edwards Green of Idaho was the only woman to design a state seal.
68. The largest hops farms in the United States are found in Idaho.
69. Idaho is called the ‘Lentil Capital of the World’ on account of the numerous varieties of crops produced in the state.
70. The world’s tallest western white pine measuring 219 feet grows in Idaho.
Idaho Facts: Wow! | 71 – 75
71. St Joe River, the 140-mile long tributary of Coeur d’Alene Lake in northern Idaho is the highest navigable river in the world.
72. The humble town of Kellogg, Idaho offers the longest gondola ride in the world at the Silver Mountain Ski Resort that runs 3.1 miles and climbs over 3400 feet.
73. The boardwalk afloat the beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene is 3,300 feet long, providing the best views of the lake and it is also the longest in the world.
74. In October 2011, a new Guinness world record was set in Rupert, Idaho by Bryan Jentzsch, when he designed and constructed the largest straw bale maze.
75. In February 2013, another world record was created when 13-month old Hereford Bull, Miles McKee bred by Colyer Herefords, Bruneau, Idaho, sold at six million price tag.