Fruitland Downtown Master Plan
Prepared for The City of Fruitland
Prepared by PlanMakers
School and Church
The current Fruitland Community Park is part of the original school grounds. Built in 1909, the brick two-story schoolhouse had four rooms - two upstairs, two downstairs and a bell tower on the roof. In 1912, four more rooms were added to the back of the school. School enrollment continued to increase, requiring further expansion in 1916. The school adopted the motto "Poma Terra," or "apple land" in 1921. Payette County was established in 1917.
In 1928 a handsome new high school was built across the street. Tourtellotte and Hummel, architects of the state Capitol, designed a gymnasium and classroom addition in 1939. Later it became the middle school and now serves as the Old School Community Center and community library. In front of the school hangs the old elementary school bell from the original bell tower.
After a new elementary school was built in the 1950s, the old one was torn down and the land converted to park and sports use for the high school, later the middle school. The Fruitland School District sold the east portion of the school site for a new post office in 1988, then conveyed the park to the City of Fruitland on October 16, 1997. The Fruitland Community Park was upgraded by the city in 1999 with a bell tower kiosk, picnic shelter, play area and restrooms.
Built in 1909, the Fruitland Elementary School was located on the Fruitland Community Park site. Notice the handsome arched brick entrance and bell tower, which has been rebuilt in the park. (ISHS 72-193.3F)
Two lots were given by the founders for the Methodist Church and two for the Brethren Church. The first church was a frame building built in 1908 by the Brethren and replaced in 1942 on the original site. The Methodist Church, with a corner bell tower, was built soon after and has since been enlarged. The Baptist Church was replaced with a brick church located at 4th and Nebraska streets. See the Sanborn Company maps in the Appendix.
Growing and Shipping Fruit
Nothing matches the thrill of an orchard fragrant with bloom or the sight of trees loaded with ripe fruit in the crisp autumn. Fruitland was dotted with orchards in the early years, where the Idaho apple hung high, long before the potato took the spotlight. At one time Fruitland shipped more apples than any other community in the state.
Women employees crating apples in one of Fruitland's packing houses circa 1910. (City of Fruitland)
Between 1916 and 1930, fruit growing reigned, with apple and prune production supporting six packinghouses, a dehydrator and cannery. Most of the packinghouses, large wooden buildings with gable roofs, were on railroad sidings near Pennsylvania Avenue. The Fruitland Fruit Association supported the industry and Senator William Borah championed the Perishable Commodities Act, the yardstick for handling all fresh produce in interstate trade.
Early pioneers include Joseph Carnefix, who grew plums, cherries, apples, pears and peaches and started the Fruitland Nursery in 1906. Operated by his son, Warren Carnefix, the nursery still provides many select varieties of fruit trees.
The Henggeler Packing Company has been operated by three generations of that family, who continue to pack and ship fruit south of Fruitland. One of its earliest labels pictured the Flying Fortress bomber, used so successfully during World War II. Other early growers and shippers include Frank Arata, Otto Diehm, F. H. Hogue, I.V. Limbaugh, Jim Palumbo, Henry Reins, Melcher Bros, and B.F Tussing. Early packing houses included Denny and Co. Fruit Packing, Payette Fruit Packing Co., and Fruitland Storage Co. Later the packing houses included the Fruitland Fruit Association, F. H. Hogue, Chaney and Rowell, and Henry Reins.
Shippers used wood boxes and wood bushel baskets with colorful labels designed to catch the eye of wholesalers and distributors. The labels were affixed to the end of the boxes to distinguish one grower's product from another, often giving an advantage to the grower whose brand was most visible among the stacks of fruit. By the mid-1950s boxes and baskets were replaced by cardboard cartons.
Fruit growers faced weather, bugs, freight rates, labor costs and low prices. Some years were bountiful, others were bust. A number of orchards were pulled in the late 1920s and during the Depression growers fell on hard times due to low prices. Many of the growers pulled older orchards in the late 1930s. New superior varieties and improved cold storage again helped growers and packers. In recent years there has been a reduction in the fruit industry due to market conditions, high cost of operation for both the orchardist and the packer, the age of many of the orchard owners and changing preferences of the consumer. Many orchardists decided the time was right to retire or change occupation.
Fruitland was incorporated as a village in 1948. The principal government was a board of trustees consisting of five members, headed by a chairperson. Gayway Junction was annexed into Fruitland in 1968. During the Depression, it was called Hooverville because it housed homeless migrants. The Junction was the site of a dance and music hall, which was later renovated into a bowling alley and painted pink. Today it is a shopping mall. New buildings built in the downtown in the 1970s included a post office at 3rd and Iowa, now the school district office and a telephone office.
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