Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our new home town

Thought I'd share some information about our new home town.

We are actually located on the outer edge of Caldwell - about a 10 -15 minute drive to town. On our last visit, our home was surrounded by fields of alfalfa on the one side,

and tumble weed and grass on the other.

More distant neighbors were growing sugar beets (There is a sugar mill in Nampa)

and some were getting ready to make hay bales.

Way out here the "blocks" are a mile by a mile. Makes it easy to say how far away things are. It is very quite out there. Roger says you could stand in the middle of the road all day and not get

Aerial photo from Google Earth

Here are some statistics:
Ancestries:  German (15.1%), English (10.6%), Irish (8.2%), United States (6.5%) Scottish (2.4%), Dutch (2.4%). This seems to be missing something as I know there is a large Mexican population in the area too.
Elevation: 2385 feet
Land area: 11.3 Square miles
Population Density: 3816 people per square mile (average - way less where we are)

According to what we have heard, this area is called the Idaho dessert. Not much rain, not much snow. Hot and dry in the Summer with some dirt/wind storms. Cold and a bit of snow, never more than a foot, in the winter.

this information came from

I found the following information on the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce website:

Rich in history, Caldwell began as nothing but sagebrush, volcanic soil, deer, jackrabbits, and a vision in the eyes of the farsighted.  Its inception and growth occurred largely because of the railroad, and in fact, the towns established by the railroad brought more people into the territory than the earlier gold rushes.

For a time, Caldwell was known as Hamburg, after Jake Ham established a blacksmith shop here.  An early railroad camp for construction employees of the Oregon Short Line Railroad nearby was dubbed Bugtown and the community shared this name as well. Caldwell burst into existence suddenly and grew rapidly with its eleven saloons and a private water pump – an oasis in the desert area of sage and ankle-deep alkali dust.
 Caldwell Depot 1907
In August of 1883 the original town site was platted parallel to the Oregon Short Line rail tracks (later to become part of Union Pacific). The property was owned by the Idaho and Oregon Land Improvement Company, which was interested in persuading settlers and businessmen to move here.   The group ignored compass and section lines and established the town site in honor of the company’s president, C.A. Caldwell, ex-senator from Kansas. Others prominent in the company’s operation included Robert E. Strahorn, vice-president and Howard Sebree, Caldwell’s first mayor.  By January 1884, there were more than 600 residents and 150 structures, 40 business operations, one school, a telephone exchange and two weekly newspapers (the Caldwell Tribune and Caldwell Record) in the community of Caldwell. Two months later there were several churches and social activities including an amateur theatrical group, a skating rink, and the Caldwell Silver Cornet Band. The first circus in 1884 drew from surrounding areas and had 7000 paid admissions.  The date of ordinance establishing Caldwell as a city is January 15, 1890. The College of Idaho, a Presbyterian college, was founded in Caldwell in 1891.

Saratoga Hotel on right and City Hall at center looking south from the DepotIn 1882, Caldwell endured a major fire with an estimated loss of $20,000 to business and property.  However, the expansion of the town continued.  Orchards were set out, and farmland fenced in.  In January 1884, Carrie Leech became the first schoolteacher, with 30 students attending her classes.

The Caldwell Fair Association was organized in the spring of 1897.  The fair was held for three days with 25 cents being the price of admission.  The Caldwell Board of Trade, the forerunner of the current Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, was established that same year for the purpose of influencing an increase in immigration by advertising the favorable manufacturing opportunities available and taking advantage of any other means of furthering the cause of the town.
 Van Buren School
The city was officially chartered by the order of the Ada County Commissioners on January 15, 1890, with its boundaries (six square miles) set around the railroad.  On March 7, 1891, Canyon County was created as a separate entity from Ada County, and Caldwell was named the county seat.

The College of Idaho, also established in 1891, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state.  It continues to be known as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the entire country.

During this time a complete water system from pure artesian wells was installed under municipal ownership.

Main Street 1910 - looking east from the Depot For several years during the early 1890's, the Boise Interurban provided electric streetcar service to valley towns including Caldwell.  One of the town's greatest periods of growth took place between 1905 and 1908 when the population grew to approximately 5,000 an increase of nearly 4,000 in three years!

In 1959, the first change in city government took place when the council authorized a full time salaried mayor.

Welcome to Caldwell! and Aloha Hui Hou!

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