Welcome to the Payette ID GenWeb Project
Payette Post Office in Historical Context
From National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, January 30, 1989
H.J. "Jim" Kolva and Steve Franks
Payette is at the confluence of the Snake and Payette Rivers near the Oregon border. Boise is approximately 60 miles southeast. The seat of Payette County, Payette is a retail and service center for the surrounding agricultural area. In 1980 Payette's population was 5,448.
In the 1860s, a ferry and trading post, later known as Boomerang, was established on the south side of the Payette River near it confluence with the Snake River. In 1871 irrigation began and a post office, the only one between Baker, Oregon and Boise, Idaho, was established. Boomerang,which was almost entirely a tent town, became a trade center for a vast area (its horse racing drew entries from as far as 200 miles).
In 1883 Boomerang became the headquarters for the Union Pacific Railroad builders for two years when 250,000 ties were floated down the Payette River and taken ashore there. The name Boomerang was derived from the boom that was stretched across the river to catch the floating ties. In 1884 the railroad crossed the river and a new town site was established on the north side around the depot. The new town was named Payette, for Francis Payette, a storekeeper for the Hudson Bay Company who was one of the first white men to settle in the territory, back in 1815. On July 20, 1883, the new town's first post office was established. By 1890 Payette 's population was 591; a year later the town was
incorporated. The importance of agriculture to the region was firmly established in 1890 when an additional 10,000 acres was irrigated and experimentation with fruit, row, and field crops began. From 1900 to 1910 Payette's population grew from 614 to 1,948. With agriculture the mainstay of the economy, growth since then has been moderate and stable. From 1920 to 1930 it grew from 2,433 to 2,618; between 1940 and 1950 it grew from 3,322 to 4,032. In 1960 Payette's population was 4,451; from 1970 to 1980 it grew from 4,521 to 5,448.
On the northeast corner of S. 9th Street and Center Avenue, facing south, the Payette Post Office is one block east of the city's principal business district street. Adjacent to the north is a modern apartment complex; to the east are single-family residences. The city park is across Central to the south. The 1950s Public Library is along the east side of the park. A former gas station occupies the northwest corner of the intersection with single-family houses to its north and one-story commercial buildings to its west. A one-story brick office building is on the southwest corner of the intersection.
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