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Posts published in “Day: January 6, 2010”

A government-business mashup from long ago

The too-tight relations between so many government officials (not to say so many entities of government) and well-connected business operations is one of the problems of the age. But not only this age.

Steve Crump of the Twin Falls Times-News today unearthed an old one indeed, and worth the review and the ponder.

It dates to 1921, when a land speculator in New York, D.W. Scott, touted a great land buy opportunity in the Idaho Magic Valley. Nothing new in that (and some small present-day Idaho communities, New Plymouth for one, got their start that way). Here's the added twist:

"He learned that Idaho Gov. D.W. Davis was in Washington, D.C., for a conference, so he traveled to the capital and button-holed the governor. Would Mr. Davis come to Brooklyn and pitch the project? The governor agreed, and on May 22, 1921, he met with about 100 investors and potential investors and endorsed the Roseworth venture. According to historian George Frederic Stratton, one of the potential settlers asked Davis if city folks could go on to sagebrush land and raise a crop within a year. Yes, the governor replied, adding cryptically that Idaho didn’t want Eastern farmers who knew nothing about irrigated agriculture."

Of course, the settlers who arrived at the location, Roseworth (they came up with some of the nicest names), found nothing but dust and sagebrush, and soon gave up.

Crump points out that Davis soon after was named to head the agency that is now (after a renaming) the Bureau of Reclamation.