History of the City of Payette

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History of Idaho The Gem of the Mountains
James H. Hawley
Volume 1, Page 748
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1920


The City of Payette, the county seat of Payette County, owes its origin to the building of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The first settler in the town was David S. Lamme, a native of Hancock County, Ill., who came to Idaho in 1864, when he was only twenty-two years of age and for a number of years was engaged in mining. On May 22, 1993, he went to the mouth of the Payette River, where he saw the engineers surveying the route of the railroad, and decided to locate at that point. Purchasing a small tract of land, he built a store room, obtained a small stock of goods from Chicago and opened a general store, giving the place the name of "Boomerang." In July of the same year A. B. and F. C. Moss, who had a contract to deliver 250,000 ties to the railroad company, established their camp near the mouth of the Payette and also established a general store near Lamme's.

In 1884 the railroad was completed to Huntington, Oregon, and a number of settlers located in the little hamlet of Boomerang. Among them were John and Samuel Applegate, S.W. King, Henry Irvin, Peter Pence, W.C. Johnson, Jacob Stroup, August and Adolph Jacobsen, William Iretan, John Henshaw, Benjamin, John and William Bivens and John Ashbaugh. A sawmill was erected near the hamlet by W.A. Coughanour, a schoolhouse was built, and the name of the place was changed to "Payette," after a Frenchman who had been for years in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. The growth of the village was slow until 1890, when David S. Lamme, the original pioneer, built a brick block and enlarged his stock of merchandise. A two-story hotel, the bank building and the Odd-Fellows building were erected the same year. The first carload of fruit was shipped from Payette in 1891 and in that year the village was incorporated.

The population of Payette in 1910 was 1,948 and it had been incorporated as a city a short time before that census was taken. In 1918 the population was estimated at 2,500. By an act of the Legislature, approved on February 28, 1917, the northern part of Canyon County was erected into the County of Payette and the City of Payette was designated as the county seat.

Payette has two strong banks, two weekly newspapers, a canning factory that ships about seventy-five carloads of canned peas and fruits every year, a sawmill, brick and vinegar factories, a plant for evaporating fruit, two flour mills, waterworks, electric light plant, thirteen churches, four public school buildings, a public library and claims the finest Young Men's Christian Association building and civic center of any city of similar size in the United States. According to statements of the railroad company, Payette ships more fruit and poultry than any other point on the Oregon Short Line in Idaho.

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