Ketchum was first called Leadville. Albert Griffith was there in 1879. He left that fall but returned in April, 1880, and resided there permanently until his death. In 1879 there was only one cabin there and it was owned by David Ketchum, who lived in it. When application was made to the proper authorities for a post office by the name of Leadville, it was refused. Application was then made for a post office by the name of Ketchum and the same was granted. The name of the town was then changed to Ketchum in honor of David Ketchum. The Post Office was established in 1880 and William H. Greenhow was the first Postmaster. The present Postmaster is Jack Riley.
Ketchum is situated about 12 miles northwest of Hailey and is the northern terminus of the Wood River Branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. Even before the advent of the railroad it was a prosperous town. At one time it had three banks, seven daily stages, two hotels, several restaurants, seven stores, seven black smith shops, three doctors, three lawyers, six livery stables, two assay offices, a weekly newspaper, several saloons, etc., and its population was estimated at nearly 2,000.
Albert Griffith, Paul P. Baxter, Geo. W. Mc Coy, William H. Greenhow, Theo Hage and Geo P. Hodson were among its earliest residents. Isaac I. Lewis, T. E. Clohecy and J. O. Swift were some of its earliest business men. William Hyndman was an early resident of Ketchum. He was a Major in the Civil war, a practicing attorney-at-law and a prominent mining man. He died in Ketchum October 1, 1896.
Horace C. Lewis, son of I. I. Lewis, of Ketch um, started in business while quite young. He organized the Ketchum & Challis Toll Road company and was one of its stockholders. This company built the first wagon road over the Trail Creek summit. He owned the freighting outfit that freighted into Challis, Clayton, Bay horse, Custer and Bonanza. He had the mail and express contracts for the above mentioned towns and did practically all the freighting in that region. He had a large forwarding house and express office at Ketchum. He had the largest freight wagons in the State. They were drawn by 20-mule teams. He continued in the freighting business for a few years after the building of the railroad from Blackfoot to Mackay in 1901. At the time of the Thunder Mountain boom in 1902-3, he opened the road from Ketchum to Thunder Mountain in the dead of winter. On December 29, 1898, he conveyed to Samuel E. Rigg of Spokane, Washington, for a consideration of $80,000.00, the Croesus lode, Croesus Extension lode, Croesus millsite and Croesus Extension millsite, all patented, situated in Scorpion Gulch about three and one-half miles southwest of Hailey. He died January 19, 1911.
Ketchum is now quite a summer resort. In the spring of 1929, Carl E. Brandt had the hot water from the Guyer Hot Springs, (about three miles west of town) piped into town, and a large natatorium built. This water has a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 31 tourist cabins heated by this hot water and supplied with all modern conveniences. The town has two good general stores, one hotel, one restaurant, one garage, one service station, etc. It is one of the greatest sheep and lamb shipping stations in the state.