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An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho
By Lewis Publishing Company, 1899, Page 301-302
New Plymouth is the youngest of the communities in the Payette valley, and is the result of the first organized effort to secure immigration. In the year 1893 the Payette Valley irrigation and Water Power Company completed the construction of an irrigation canal forty miles in length on the bench lands of the valley, and at once set about to induce settlement under it. B. P. Shawhan, in charge of this plant, in 1894 associated himself with William E. Smythe, then chairman of the executive committee of the National Irrigation Congress, for the establishment in the Payette valley of a community under the general plan of colonization, but also to include a number of novel and advantageous features. The plan formulated was based on the principle of co-operative business interests, government by the people, the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors in any manner, and social and civic equality.
The city of Chicago was selected as the most available point at which to introduce the project, and during the summer of 1895 a committee of seven was sent to Payette to investigate the country. Its report was so favorable that in the fall of that year some thirty-five families subscribed to the plan offered and settled where New Plymouth now stands. During that winter —1895-6—a town site of three hundred and twenty-five acres was laid out, upward of ten miles of streets graded, thirty-six hundred shade trees planted, and a village hall and two houses for general occupancy erected. From that time to the present the growth of New Plymouth has gone steadily forward. People from all sections of the United States have become its citizens. To-day, although it is less than three years ago when its being was certainly decided upon, it has handsome residences on its streets, commodious public buildings, business buildings, a considerable population of intelligent and industrious people and has passed the stage where its successful future was in doubt.
When the irrigation ditch was completed, the year before the establishment of New Plymouth, the lands which it now waters and of which New Plymouth is the logical and geographical center, were as innocent of the taming hand of man as in the days when fierce mountain torrents swept it from divide to divide. Now there are upward of three thousand acres of land under fence and annually yielding crops; there are one thousand acres of orchard, some of which will this year bear fruit; and from a desert it has become a garden.
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