Train to Hollister

The first train to Hollister brought prospective land owners to the Salmon Tract on Oct. 2, 1909. The trip from Twin Falls to the Hollister townsite took 90 minutes.

CLARENCE E. BISBEE PHOTO

Harry L. Hollister, an investment broker from Chicago, was heavily invested in Idaho, especially in mining and hydroelectric power.

Thinking an irrigation tract between Twin Falls and the Nevada border would rival the Twin Falls tract, Hollister extensively promoted the Salmon Tract and the town that still carries his name.

The first land drawing for lots in Hollister was held in 1908 in Twin Falls because no railroad tracks ran to the new townsite. The following year, however, the first train to Hollister brought an excited bunch of prospective landowners to the second drawing on Oct. 2, 1909. The train ride took 90 minutes from Twin Falls to Hollister.

“There were present approximately 500 people, steamed up to a high pitch of enthusiastic apprehension lest their ‘numbers’ might never come out of the box and at the same time, all exceedingly anxious to receive the favors of the fickle goddess and especially draw ‘No. 1,’” the Twin Falls Weekly News wrote. The drawing disposed of $70,000 worth of lots by the end of the evening.

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The crowd thought it ironic that the streets were wired for electricity even before the town got its start, the newspaper said.

“Everything was there, in fact, except the buildings and the people.”

Mychel Matthews reports on rural issues and agriculture for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and on Magicvalley.com. If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at mmatthews@magicvalley.com or call her at 208-735-3233.

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