An Idaho First
Idaho Falls – First city in Idaho with its own electric plant
The development of irrigation canals in the Snake River Valley played a key role in the area's expansion. Community leaders realized they could harness the power of water to generate electricity from the region's rivers, streams, and canals.
The first mayor of Idaho Falls, Joseph A. Clark, promised in 1900 he would bring public power to the city. Voters passed a bond to purchase a small turbine generator for $4,650.
On October 22, 1900 the city started generating electricity, becoming the first city in Idaho to own a power plant. The electricity powered downtown street lights. The utility expanded in 1902, as more and more residents electrified homes and businesses.
In 1912, with demand for electricity growing, the city built an new hydroelectric plant on the Snake River. The diversion dam that directed water to the plant created the first version of the city's iconic falls.