American Falls is a charming agricultural town that sits right along the Snake River and American Falls Reservoir in southern Idaho. At first glance, this may seem like your typical small town in the Gem State, but what many people don’t know is this unique town in Idaho isn’t quite like many others around the globe. In fact, this entire town not only completely relocated once, but it relocated twice and it was decades after the first permanent settlement was established.
American Falls is an enchanting town located along Interstate 86 between Pocatello and Burley. Approximately 4,500 people call this town home and it is a true gem in Idaho. In 1800, the first permanent settlement of American Falls was established on the west bank of the Snake River.
In 1888, however, the town decided to move across the river to what became known as the “original town site.”
Although, this wouldn’t be the only time the town moved. In 1925, the town relocated once again. This time, it was to make room for the 94-foot-tall and 5,277-foot-wide American Falls Dam and to prevent the entire town from flooding.
In total, 344 residents, 46 businesses, three hotels, five churches, one school, six grain elevators, and one flour mill all moved from the original town site. This was one massive relocation project.
American Falls is known as the city “where the sun shines in every window,” and this is because of the way the city was laid out in its new location.
When American Falls relocated in 1925, a city park was placed in the middle of town with commerce lots on one side, government buildings on the other, and churches on the other two sides of the park. Streets were created so they ran diagonally and parallel to the reservoir, which was very unusual and caused much controversy — residents wanted streets to run north and south. However, city planners at the time said with this design, the sun could shine in every window.
In 1925, there was only one structure that remained at the original town site — the Oneida Milling and Elevator Company grain elevator. This structure had a 40-foot-deep foundation and 106-foot reinforced concrete walls. It still stands in…