Welcome to the Emmett Valley of Southwest Idaho!

Fur trappers were in the area as early as 1818 . . .
One hundred-fifty years ago, in 1862, Tim Goodale led a wagon train across the Payette River, then north, up Haw Creek . . .
Goodale's Cutoff from Boise Valley to Powder River (ISHS Reference Series 1048, 1994)
Later in 1862 the Gold Rush to the Boise Basin came up the Payette River valley Payette River Road . .
The next summer farmers along the river started raising crops to supply the Boise Basin mines . . .
Nathaniel Martin and Jonathan Smith built a ferry crossing just west of the present-day bridge . . .
Squire Martin established a post office as EMMETTSVILLE October 31, 1868; see "What's In A Name?" by Director-Curator Meg Davis ~ (Post Office History)
Emmettsville's merchants from Langley's 1876 Business Directory check out our walking tour.
Gem County was established in 1915 from portions of Canyon County and Boise County, with Emmett as the county seat.

"Douglas Knox says that when he first settled in the Emmett Valley there was no sagebrush on the bench or the hills adjoining. In early and middle summer, the country would be covered with a dense stand of grass 12 to 18 inches high and resembled a wheat field. The settlers called it "June Grass" because it matured in the month of June. It probably was one of the many species of brome grasses that are native to this locality. When the wind swept across these grass fields, the changing colors were beautiful to behold.

"The only shrubbery to be found between Emmett and Boise was a patch of buckbrush (Symphoricarpos) in the gulch where the road drops down into the Boise Valley. It was tall enough to hide a man or horse, but has long since been removed by the settlers for wood.

"The scarcity of sagebrush was probably due to the frequent prairie fires set out by the Indians and later by the white settlers. The Indians used the fires to make game drives, the settler to make the spring range better for their flocks and herds and and to drive out the jack rabbits that ate their crops.

"During the latter part of August, the settlers near Emmett would take a load of straw and scatter it in windrows along the bench, then set it alight. These fires would sometimes sweep north as far as Crane Creek before checked by the fall rains." ~ History of the Boise National Forest, 1905-1976

Hawley's 1920 History of Gem County and Emmett, history in detail.

The Museum is open year round. Admittance is free. Donations are always appreciated. New members are always welcome. Tours are available.

Membership meetings with guest speaker programs are held quarterly throughout the year at 7:00pm in the museum. Visitors are always welcome.

Other events are held through out the year.

thanks for stopping by!

2020 Idaho State Historical Society Esto Perpetua Awards -
The Gem County Historical Society was the lone organization selected for the 2020 Esto Perpetua Award by the Idaho State Historical Society and its curator and director, Meg Davis was one of fourteen individuals recognized. . .continued. ::  2020 Esto Perpetual Awards

Dues and contributions may be mailed to the museum at 501 E. 1st, Emmett, ID 83617
or dropped by the museum, afternoons, Wednesday-Saturday

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Updated 9 April 2024

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Unless otherwise attributed, all photos and text are the property of Gem County Historical Society

Serving Gem County since 1973.  ~  © 2008-(present).

Extended hours during The Cherry Festival in June.

501 E. First St, Emmett, Idaho 83617   ~   (208)365-9530

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