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Idaho Falls, Idaho

HistoryEdit Taylor's Bridge, c.1870 Montana Trail originsEdit What became Idaho Falls was the site of  on the Montana Trail, a timber frame bridge built across the Snake River. The 1865 bridge was built by Matt Taylor, a Montana Trail freighter, who built a toll bridge across a narrow black basaltic gorge of the river that succeeded a ferry seven miles upstream by a few years.[6] Taylor’s bridge served the new tide of westward migration and travel in the region that followed the military suppression of Shoshone resistance at the Bear River Massacre near Preston, Idaho in 1863. The bridge improved travel for settlers moving north and west and for miners, freighters, and others seeking riches in the gold fields of Idaho and Montana, especially, the boom towns of Bannack and Virginia City in western Montana. Eagle RockEdit Utah & Northern Bridge, c.1880, looking north, or upriver, with railroad shops in background. Idaho Falls on the Snake River with the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple in the background Mail service postmarks indicate by 1866 the emerging town had become known as . The name was derived from an isolated basalt island in the Snake River, 7 miles (11 km) upstream at 43°36.112′N 112°3.528′W in the Snake River that was the nesting site for approximately twenty eagles. Previous to Taylor's bridge, in 1864, Harry Rickets built and operated a ferry at this location[6][7] and so this area of crossing at the Snake River was already known as Eagle Rock to those that did business or that traveled on the Montana Trail. A private bank (the fourth in Idaho), a small hotel, a livery stable, and an eating house also sprang up at the bridge in 1865 along with the post office and stage station. There had been a few cattle and sheep ranchers in the area for years. In 1874 water rightswere established on nearby Willow Creek and the first grain harvested but settlement was sparse consisting of only a couple of families and small irrigation ditches. The first child of European descent born at Eagle Rock was delivered in 1874. The winds of change blew in the form of the Utah and Northern Railway (U&NR) that came north from Utah through Eagle Rock to cross the Snake River at the same narrow gorge as the wooden bridge. The U&NR was building its road to the large new copper mines atButte, Montana with the backing of robber baron Jay Gould as Union Pacific Railroad had purchased the U&NR only a few years prior.[8] Grading crews reached Eagle Rock in late 1878 and by early 1879 a wild camp-town with dozens of tents and shanties moved to Eagle Rock with the usual collection of saloons, dancehalls, and gambling holes. The railroad company had 16 locomotives and 300 train cars working between Logan, Utahand the once quiet stage stop. A new iron railroad bridge was fabricated in Athens, Pennsylvania at a cost of $30,000 and shipped, by rail, to the site and erected in April and May 1879.[9] The bridge was 800 feet (240 m) long and in two spans with an island in the center. The camp-town moved on but Eagle Rock, the little town at the wooden bridge, now had regular train service and was the site for several of the railroad’s buildings, shops, and facilities expanding and completely transforming the town. Settlers began homesteading the Upper Snake River Valley as soon as the railroad came through. The first of the new settlers carved out homesteads to the north at Egin (near present day Parker) and at Pooles Island (near present day Menan).[10] Large scale settlement ensued and in a decade there appeared roads, bridges, dams and irrigation canals that brought most of the Upper Snake River Valley under cultivation. In 1887, following the construction of the Oregon Short Line, most of the railroad facilities were removed to Pocatello where the new line branched off the U&NR but Eagle Rock was fast becoming the commercial center of an agricultural empire. In 1891 the town voted to change its name to , in reference to the rapids that existed below the bridge. Some years later, the construction of a retaining wall for a hydroelectric power plant enhanced the rapids into falls. In 1969 the largest irrigation canal in the world, the Great Feeder, began diverting water from the Snake River and aided in converting tens of thousands of acres of desert into green farmland in the vicinity of Idaho Falls. The area grew sugar beets, potatoes, peas, grains, and alfalfa and became one of the most productive regions of the United States. Nuclear reactorsEdit This image of the SL-1 core served as a sober reminder of the death and damage that a nuclear meltdown can cause. In 1949, the Atomic Energy Commission opened the National Reactor Testing Station in the desert west of the city, and on Dec. 20, 1951, a nuclear reactor produced useful electricity for the first time in history. There have been more than 50 unique nuclear reactors built at the facility for testing. All but three are shut down now. The site was the scene of the only fatal nuclear reactor incident in U.S. history on the night of January 3, 1961. The event occurred at an experimental U.S. Army reactor plant known as the Argonne Low Power Reactor, which the Army called the Stationary Low-Power Reactor Number One (SL-1) once built. Due to poor design and maintenance procedures, a single control rod was manually pulled out too far from the reactor, causing the reactor to become prompt critical, and leading to a destructive power excursion. Three military, trained men had been working inside the reactor room when a mistake was made while reattaching a control rod to its motor assembly.[11] With the central control rod nearly fully extended, the nuclear reactor rated at 3 MW rapidly increased power to 20 GW; this rapidly boiled the water inside the core.[12][13] As the steam expanded, a pressure wave of water forcefully struck the top of the reactor vessel upon which 2 of the men stood. The explosion was so severe that the reactor vessel was propelled 9 feet into the air, striking the ceiling before settling back into its original position.[14] One man was killed instantly as he was impaled by a shield plug and lodged into the ceiling.[11] The other men would die from their injuries within hours. The three men were buried in lead coffins, and that entire section of the site was buried.[14][15][16] The core meltdown caused no damage to the area, although some radioactive fission products were released to the atmosphere. While nuclear reactors like SL-1 were predicted to have lower total costs than conventional systems, the Army program to build and use reactors of this kind was scrapped due to the higher initial procurement costs of nuclear reactors. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), as it is now known, remains a major economic engine for the city of Idaho Falls, employing more than 8,000 people and functioning as an internationally renowned research center. INL operates and manages the world famousAdvanced Test Reactor (ATR). EconomyEdit Bonneville Hotel in Downtown Idaho Falls Former Red Lion Hotel along the Greenbelt, now The Hotel on the Falls Idaho Falls serves as a regional hub for health care, travel and business in eastern Idaho. The community's economy was mostly agriculturally focused until the opening of the National Reactor Testing Station in the desert west of Idaho Falls in 1949. The city subsequently became largely dependent on high-income jobs from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), known locally simply as "The Site." The laboratory made several cutbacks in 1993. Since then the town has added call centers, a growing retail, entertainment, and restaurant sector, and a regional medical center. Idaho Falls was named by Business Week as one of the 2010 List of "Best Places to Raise Kids".[17] In addition, selected Idaho Falls as one of the "2010 Best Small Places for Business & Careers".[18] Also, included Idaho Falls as one of their "Top 100 Cities in 2010".[19] Idaho Falls has become a regional business hub. It hosts the headquarters of the United Potato Growers of Idaho and District 7 of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. It is the home to several small to medium-sized national corporations such as North Wind, Inc.,Press-A-Print, and Melaleuca, Inc. The median home price in Idaho Falls was $224,800 in January 2007.[20] Idaho Falls, Idaho / U.S. avg:[20] Area population 122,995 / 647,500Median home price $224,800 / $235,000Cost-of-living index 99.8 / 100.0Unemployment rate 2.7% / 4.6%Job growth—5 years 18.84% / 4.90%Job growth—1 year 2.74% / 1.66%Median household income $47,719 / $46,326 CultureEdit Entrance to the Idaho Falls Tautphaus Park Zoo Melaleuca Freedom Celebration 2014 - Brad Barlow, B2X Photo Idaho Falls has established itself as a regional cultural destination. The Willard Art Center,The Colonial Theatre and Civic Auditorium[21] are home to year-round, diverse musical concerts, plays, and events. The greenbelt along the Snake River hosts many community events, such as the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration (on the Fourth of July),[22] the Roaring Youth Jam, and the Farmers' Market, among others. The Museum of Idaho[23] is a regional attraction which showcases local artifacts and history. It also brings in major traveling exhibits such as dinosaur bones, Gutenberg Bibles, Titanic remnants, and "Bodies: the Exhibition." Idaho Falls is the first city of its size to house the popular attraction. Downtown Idaho Falls once struggled as the city expanded eastward, but it has been revitalized in recent years due to the efforts of local business owners, the City of Idaho Falls, and other organizations such as the Downtown Development Corporation[24] and the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. Today, it is home to a handful of locally owned shops, stores, restaurants, galleries, theaters, and future revitalization efforts. The city attracts many tourists visiting nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Jackson Hole, and the world-class fishing on the Snake River. Due to its proximity to so many outdoor destinations, Idaho Falls was recently named to National Geographic'slist of "100 Best Adventure Towns".[25] GreenbeltEdit Snake River seen through trees along the greenbelt Idaho Falls has an extensive greenbelt, or riverbelt, along miles of the Snake River that flows through the center of the city. It is maintained by the City of Idaho Falls, and often receives donations and grants which allow for occasional expansion. The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency with the approval of former mayor Jared Fuhrimanexpanded the greenbelt. This expansion increased the land that was used as well as adding additional parking at the river. This expansion added in a roundabout which improved traffic flow in the city around the greenbelt and the Idaho Falls Temple.[citation needed] NeighborhoodsEdit "A" Street, downtown Notable Idaho Falls neighborhoods include: Historic Downtown - Downtown lies along the east side of the river between Memorial Drive (on the greenbelt) and Yellowstone Avenue. More eateries, wineries, shops, and art centers are popping up downtown each year. Many community events occur in and around downtown, particularly concerts, art shows, the renowned Fourth of July fireworks celebration, and a farmers' market on Saturday mornings.The Numbered Streets - The numbered streets area was the first planned neighborhood in Idaho Falls. The tree-lined streets run west and east between South Boulevard and Holmes Avenue. Traffic on the odd-numbered streets travels east, and west on the even-numbered streets. This area has recently become a desirable location because of the re-development of nearby Historic Downtown. Kate Curley Park is located in the neighborhood, as is the Wesley W. Deist Aquatic Center, and the Eleventh Street Historic District.West Side - Across the Snake River to the west, this area has more of a small-town feel, as it lacks the congestion and activity of the east side. The north portion of the west side was established in the 1960s with homes, and saw more overall growth up until the '80s. Today, the west side is expected to boom in population and commercial activity due to major developments such as Taylor Crossing and Snake River Landing, as well as the Areva uranium enrichment facility planned west of the city. The west side also houses Idaho Falls Regional Airport as well as the entirety of I-15's brief jaunt through the city.

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