In early 1903, the Twin Falls Land and Water Co. began work on an irrigation project to transform the barren south-central Idaho desert into what we now know as the Magic Valley.
The same year, French-born architect Emmanuel Louis Masgueray was busy designing buildings for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, later known as the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Idaho’s executor to the world fair, Clarence B. Hurtt, and I.B. Perrine, who entered his own Blue Lakes Ranch fruit in the fair, met Masqueray in St. Louis, and the two men later recommended Masqueray to the Twin Falls Investment Co. to plat the city of Twin Falls.
But Masqueray’s forte was not platting cities in the west, Twin Falls historian Jim Gentry said. Masqueray trained at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and is best remembered for his landmark buildings, such as the lavish Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Perrine may have suggested Masqueray to the investment company in an attempt to put some of the World’s Fair romance into Twin Falls.
“It would be called ‘name-dropping’ today,” Gentry said.
Masqueray’s name has now been dropped into a modern project in downtown Twin Falls.
The Masqueray Lofts project includes two 56-unit, five-story apartment buildings along Shoshone Street East between Seventh and Eighth avenues, near City Park.
Mychel Matthews reports on history and rural issues for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and at Magicvalley.com. If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at email@example.com or call her at 208-735-3233.
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