Treasure Valley

The Treasure Valley is the area of the Western United States where the Payette, Boise, Weiser, Malheur and Owyhee rivers drain into the Snake River. Treasure Valley includes all the lowland areas from Vale, Oregon on the west to Boise, Idaho on the east. Formerly, the valley had been known as the Lower Snake River Valley or the Boise River Valley until 1959. That's when Pete Olesen, president of the valley's association of local Chambers of Commerce, first coined the name Treasure Valley. Olesen said the name reflected the treasure chest of resources and opportunities in the region.


ettling the region

The tribes that roamed the area, specifically, were the Northern Paiute and Shoshone. [ [ "The Peoples of Idaho: Native Settlers.] " Idaho Museum of Natural History. Accessed May 8, 2008] In 1834, Thomas McKay built the original Fort Boise, which was run for a time by François Payette in the area near the present-day city of Parma. It later was moved because of flooding troubles. The area was settled for the most part by ranchers and farmers. In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railroad reached the Treasure Valley, creating a thriving community.

Basque immigration

Many Basques came to the area looking for gold, but meeting discrimination, it seemed to many that a better occupation was shepherding, familiar from their homeland. Over 50,000 Basques came to the Treasure Valley area, making it the largest community of Basques outside of Europe. [ [ "Jaialdi 2005 Kicks Off."] "Idaho Statesman". July 25, 2005. Accessed May 11, 2008]


As Boise began to grow, so did the riches of large planters, such as Thomas and Frank Davis. They moved to Idaho in 1862 for mining. They homesteaded right below the Boise Bench on the Boise River. Tom Davis became very successful at growing fruit, as he made over $10,000 on one year's apple crop [ [ "Thomas and Francis M. (Frank) Davis."] Idaho State Historical Society. 1981. Accessed May 16, 2008] . He later purchased more land for orchards and horses. In 1907, he donated much of this land as Julia Davis Park in honor of his wife.

The Owyhee Project was one of the most influential developments of the area. It essentially began in 1903, when surveyors began investigating a site on the Owyhee River for the construction of a dam, to impound water for irrigation. The Owyhee project received official Congressional sanction on December 5, 1924. Completion of the Owyhee Dam on September 16, 1932 ["Owyhee Project." U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation. 1996.] While the dam was under construction, over 98.5 miles of irrigation canals were being dug to the north and south. The main purpose of the Owyhee Project was irrigation. By 1965, over 111,000 acres were being irrigated for a value of more than $23 million.

In 1941, J. R. Simplot built a dehydrator and began processing large quantities of dehydrated potatoes and onions at a plant near Caldwell, Idaho [ [ "J. R. Simplot Passes Away at Age 99."] Simplot Company. Accessed June 16, 2008] . His business thrived selling potatoes to the government and fertilizer to local farmers.


In 1978, Micron Technology was founded, creating another local industry besides farming and packing potatoes. [ [ "Company Milestones."] Micron. Accessed May 10, 2008.] . Five years earlier, Hewlett Packard had set up their own center in Boise. [ [ "HP Timeline – 1970s."] Hewlett Packard. 2008. Accessed May 16, 2008] . Since then, Boise has boomed with technological industries.

Geographic features

* Malheur Butte


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