~Minidoka County~





  Minidoka County was created by the Idaho Legislature on January 28, 1913, by a partition of Lincoln County.

  The name Minidoka is of Dakota Sioux origin meaning "a fountain or spring of water." Minidoka was first used in 1883 as a name for the Union Pacific's Oregon Short Line, a railroad spur in the middle of the Snake River Plain. The spur later became the site of a watering station along the line. The village of Minidoka grew up next to the station. The Minidoka name was then given to a reclamation project under then President Theodore Roosevelt which included the construction of the Minidoka Dam, completed in 1904. Minidoka National Historic Site (in Jerome County) was part of the original reclamation project and hence shares the name.

  Minidoka County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Minidoka County history. The museum is home to the original Rupert Union Pacific Depot, built in 1906 and relocated to the museum in 1989. It is full of old time pictures and personal histories from the towns of Rupert, Paul, Heyburn, Acequia, Minidoka, Adelaide and Kimama.

  Acequia (pronounced ah-SEE-kwa) has a population of approximately 150.

  Heyburn was named after Weldon Heyburn, a U.S. Senator from Idaho from 1903-12. The population was 2,899 at the 2000 census.


An image taken from Heyburn, Idaho, looking South

towards the Albion Mountains surrounding Albion.


  Heyburn, Its Origin and Some Early History written from observation by J. A. Handy. Historical photographs of Heyburn can be found on the City of Heyburn historical photographs website.


The first depot built by brick by the railroad company was built at Heyburn.


  Minidoka is one of Idaho's most strongly Hispanic communities, with over three quarters of the population claiming Hispanic or Latino nationality. Population of Minidoka is about 130.

  The town of Paul received its name from Charles H. Paul, an engineer on the Minidoka Reclamation Project. It has a population of around 1,000.

  Rupert, founded in 1906, sprung up after the announcement of the Minidoka Reclamation Project, which provided irrigation and electricity following the completion of the Minidoka Dam in 1906. Electricity was plentiful after the building of the dam and led to Rupert being one of the first cities in the world to have its streets lighted by electricity. The population was 5,554 at the 2010 census. Rupert officially became "Christmas City, USA" in November 1987.


When it was completed in 1920, the Wilson Theatre was a big hit. Silent movies, and later, talkies, made the theatre the center of activity. The City of Rupert purchased the building in 1999 and the Renaissance Arts Center group began the restoration of the theater to its 1920s glory. It is in the National Register of Historic Places.


  The Minidoka Dam is an earthfill dam on the Snake River in south central Idaho. The dam, originally completed in 1906, is east of Rupert on county highway 400; it is 86 feet high and nearly a mile in length, with a 2,400-foot wide overflow spillway section. The dam and power plant were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Walcott Park, close to the dam, is a popular summertime picnic area.

  The Minidoka dam was the first Reclamation Service project in Idaho, part of the Minidoka Project of dams, reservoirs and canals. Construction began in 1904 and by 1906 most of the dam's canals and laterals were finished. By 1909, Minidoka Dam's power plant, the first federal power plant in the northwest, was completed. By its completion, the total cost of the dam was $5.8 million, which exceeded estimates. The Minidoka project brought water into the southeastern areas of Idaho near the cities of Rupert and Burley. The project was successful, as what was once an uninhabited sagebrush desert is now bountiful farmland.


Source: Minidoka County, City of Rupert, City of Heyburn, and Wikipedia