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News & Press: Community Spotlights

AIC Shines its Community Spotlight on Midvale

Friday, June 2, 2017  
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
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Midvale City Hall

Midvale is located in a fertile valley that lies between high-desert mountain ranges and foothills. The Payette National Forest and BLM lands are about 15 miles west. About 20 miles northeast is the Payette National Forest. The Boise National Forest lies about 20 miles west. The city of Weiser lies 15 miles southwest. Cambridge is 10 miles north.

Historical Tidbits

For millennia, American Indians frequented the north slope of what is now Midvale, making stone tools. In 1963 archeologists excavated numerous artifacts left by the Indians in their seasonal encampments at the site.

The first white settlers, the John Reed family, arrived in 1868. Reed built a cabin and sawmill and sold lumber to the homesteaders coming to settle in the valley. A community that settlers called Middle Valley began to develop.

In 1881 a wagon train of 40 settlers arrived and filed homestead claims.

In 1883 the settlers joined together to build a bridge across the Weiser River near Middle Valley. While the wooden bridge could withstand spring flooding, the dirt approach to the bridge was susceptible to washout. In 1911 they replaced the wooden bridge with a steel structure.

In 1899 the Pacific and Idaho Northern Railroad began constructing a rail line between Weiser and New Meadows. The railroad was a boon to the emerging sheep industry as it provided ranchers rapid transportation of their fat lambs and wool to distant markets.

On July 10, 1910, Midvale became an incorporated village. It became an incorporated city in November 1967, as required by a change in state law.

Whatever It Takes

In 1896 a washout of the dirt approach to the wooden bridge separated a young couple seeking to be married from the town and the minister. The wedding ceremony went ahead anyway with the minister standing on the river’s west bank and the bride and groom standing on the east side of the river.

Amenities and Attractions Today

The city’s most prominent attractions are the hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities available in the nearby national forests. Located on Idaho Highway 71, which begins at Cambridge, is Hells Canyon with fishing, boating and camping facilities at Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoirs. Each reservoir impounds Snake River water for several miles. The largest reservoir, Brownlee, extends upriver for over 30 miles.

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