Idaho Falls [†] began as Taylor's Crossing in 1864-65 when Matt Taylor built a log bridge across the frozen Snake River to move wagons and supplies from Salt Lake City to the mining districts of northern Idaho and western Montana. On the east bank of the Snake at the base of the bridge, one of his partners, J. D. Anderson, constructed a bank and post office. In 1879, the Utah Northern Railroad extended north from Brigham City, Utah, and constructed its track east of the settlement.
In the summer of 1881, the Oregon Short Line Railroad began to serve Taylor's Crossing. By 1884, the settlement east of the Snake, by now named Eagle Rock, had 670 residents. In that year the Oregon Short Line Railroad shops were moved to Pocatello, making the future of Eagle Rock looked bleak. As a result of Midwestern promotional efforts and the construction of irrigation projects in the upper Snake River Valley, however, the community was able to share in the State's economic expansion of the 1890s and early 1900s. As canals and dams were constructed, agriculture became the economic base of Idaho Falls ~ as the town came to be known.
The Original Townsite of Eagle Rock was platted between 1886 to 1890. The street pattern in the original plat was dictated by the railroad right of way, and most of the settlement was located between the Snake River and the railroad. In 1893, W.H.B. Crow built the first home east of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, on Ridge Avenue in the Original Townsite. Crow also acquired land to the east of the original plat and laid out Crow's Addition.
Idaho Falls quadrupled in size from 1,262 in 1900 to 4,827 in 1910 and doubled again to 8,084 in 1920. The area where Crow built his home, Ridge Avenue, was to receive much of Idaho Falls' first decade of growth. Its peak period of construction was 1900 to 1910.
At the beginning of the century a few community leaders such as Burdice J. Briggs, one of the first lawyers in Idaho Falls, Edward Fanning, owner of Dinwoody Furniture and Funeral Parlor, and Albert Wackerli, farmer, crossed Boulevard Avenue and constructed houses in Crow's Addition. However, it was not until the second decade of the twentieth century that substantial growth occurred in the district. During World War I, Idaho did not develop large scale industries but assisted the war effort by providing agricultural products. It was a time of good farm prices and prosperity for agricultural southeastern Idaho. During this decade, the Eleventh Street district experienced its greatest development. Businessmen, professionals, and tradesmen purchased homes on llth and 12th streets. Craftsman Bungalows became the most popular housing style in the district. New construction also brought additional public improvements such as street, sidewalk, and sewer main construction. By the end of the decade, seventy percent of the homes in the district were built.
Farm prices began to slide after 1920, and the agricultural depression of 1921 jolted Idaho. Idaho lost population during the 1920s, and accelerated growth for Idaho Falls did not continue. The City, which had a growth rate of 640% from 1900 to 1920, only grew by 17% in the 1920s. It was not until the end of the 1920s and during the Great Depression, at which time Idaho experienced inmigration, that the City again grew substantially. The city population increased by 5,600 people in the 1930s. The empty lots in the district began to fill; this tune with homes built primarily hi the Tudor Revival style.
The next wave of construction in Crow's Addition was not until after the Second World War. Postwar homes were smaller and exhibited less architectural variety. Each home had a tendency to look like its neighbor, and the numbered streets east and south of the district were filled with Cape Cod or ranch-style dwellings. The Eleventh Street district is a unique reminder of the City's early 20thcentury growth, spurred by the agricultural development of the Snake River Valley.
† Adapted from: Renee R. Hagee. Assistant Planning Director, City of Idaho Falls, Eleventh Street Historic District, nomination document, 1997, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Nearby Towns: Ammon City •