The Territory Thrives

Leduc Post Office was established in 1883 with Peter Leduc as Postmaster, who served until his death in November, 1899. It was situated about two miles north of the present site of Picabo. Early in 1900, the post office of Leduc was abolished and the post office of Picabo established with Mrs. Margaret Donahue, Postmaster. William J. Dunn is the present postmaster. Picabo is situated about 15 miles south of Bellevue. The town site plat was filed with the county recorder July 16, 1917. It has one hotel, two stores, three service stations, one grain elevator, etc.. An average of 5,000 tons of ice have been put up and shipped from that point every year since 1902. The plat of the town site of Gannett was filed in the office of the county recorder on June 3, 1916. The land was owned by Lewis E. Gannett and the town is named for him. It is situated about eight miles south of Bellevue. It has one general store, one drug store, one garage and service station combined, one service station, one grade school and one accredited high school, one L. D. S. church, etc. Its first postmaster was Elmer J. Trowbridge and its present one is Louise Bowlden.

In 1884, James L. Onderdonk, in “Resources Of Idaho,” says: “Alturas County has an area of over 19,000 square miles, or larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined. It is 200 miles in length, with a width varying from 70 to 130 miles. It is the banner county of the territory, not only in size, but also in wealth and population. In it lies the great Wood River Region, the phenomenal richness of whose deposits, as well as those of the Saw tooth, have made the name of Alturas known all over the world. Situated in central Idaho, watered by the river from which the section takes its name and by a score of tributaries, at an elevation of from 5200 to 9000 feet, are the great mineral deposits of Idaho. With a miner al belt extending for 110 miles, with easy com munication by means of the Wood River branch of the Oregon Short Line, with a record already brilliant, though hardly four years old, this may truly be regarded as an attractive country.” It will be recalled that this was written subsequent to the creation of Custer County in 1881, which took off an immense slice from Alturas County, yet note its enormous size. This is the county which spellbinders up to 1889 used to describe in florid prose as the “Empire of Alturas,” and as “extending from near the capital city of Boise on the west, to the Little Lost River on the east, and from the lofty snow capped peaks of the Sawtooth Range on the north, down to the glittering sands of the Snake River on the south.”

In 1886 it was entitled to six members in the legislature, which was one sixth of the total membership. It had 252 miles of railroad and an equal extent of telegraph lines. Its greatness and its large representation at political conventions and in the halls of legislation excited the envy of her sister counties, and the day of reckoning was near at hand. After the legislature of 1889 had adjourned, but before the records were written up and signed, a “rump” legislature convened and created the counties of Elmore and Logan on February 7, 1889. The county seat of El more County was temporarily located at Rocky Bar. At the election held October 1, 1890, the permanent seat was established at Mountain Home. The temporary county seat of Logan County was located at Shoshone.

At the election held on October 1, 1890, the permanent county seat was established at Bellevue. Then there were two county- seats within five miles of each other. The boundary line ran between Hailey and Bellevue. The Croesus Mine and all of Camas Prairie were in Logan County. A suit to have the act creating these two counties declared unconstitutional was unsuccessful, although carried to the United States Supreme Court. This and subsequent litigation cost many thousands of dollars.

The mighty Alturas of yesterday was now but a wreck of its former self. All that was left of it was Hailey, Ketchum, the Sawtooth Mountains, and the Lost River Country, and the assessable value of the utter at that time was almost negligible. County warrants were soon selling at 50 cents on the dollar and the county was heading for bankruptcy. Naturally, relief was sought for this intolerable situation. On the third day of March, 1891, the legislature passed “An act to create and organize the counties of Alta and Lincoln, to locate the county seats of said counties, and to apportion the debt of Logan County.” This act was approved by the governor. Alta County comprised approximately what is now Blaine, Camas, the greater part of Butte and part of Power Counties. But its existence was very brief. On the third day of June, 1891, the Supreme Court of Idaho held the above entitled act unconstitutional on the ground that “An act to divide a county and attach the part cut off to another county, without submitting the proposition to a vote of the people in the segregated part, is in violation of Section 3 of Article 18 of the Constitution.”

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