Idaho 100


How did Idaho get this way?

There’s no one reason, and historical trends have swept across Idaho like everywhere else, but the details easily might have been different. This book is about 100 people who, for better or worse, made Idaho much of what it is today.

Idaho might have been very different. What are now the Pacific Northwest states could have become part of British Columbia but for a few little-known early settlers (and at least one determined Native American). Idaho probably wouldn’t have its trademarked potatoes but for the imagination of one energetic potato farmer, or developed its unfortunate link to neo-Nazis but for a former aircraft engineer. Eastern Idaho’s population is strongly Mormon, and they vote strongly Republican; only a few pioneers directed both major trends.

Ever wondered who brought irrigation to the Magic Valley? You may assume that the road through Idaho to Yellowstone National Park has
always been there – but who was responsible for getting it built, and why? And, just HOW did a Michigan lumber company end up with owning so much of North Idaho?

The names of Cecil Andrus, Frank Church, J.R. Simplot, and Joe Albertson are familiar to Idahoans today, but the state’s direction was influenced as much by people like Frank Fenn, Tom Roach and Lafayette Cartee – names increasngly forgotten, that shouldn’t be.

In Idaho 100, Martin Peterson and Randy Stapilus, who between them have been studying Idaho history for close to a century, unearth the sometimes famous, sometimes infamous and often obscure people who most transformed Idaho, in ways large and small, to create what many people now take for granted. To a large extent, Idaho is the result of what these 100 people did.

You won’t see Idaho the same way after you’ve finished reading Idaho 100.



“Peterson told me that he aimed to give “an overview of why Idaho is what Idaho is.” Stapilus said the “real value is in opening up often obscure but important parts of Idaho history.” They’ve succeeded. The rankings are less important than the acts that earned a spot. – Dan Popkey in the Idaho Statesman


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