John E. Hayes, surveyor of the Twin Falls town site and canal system, became manager of the Twin Falls Canal Co. in 1929.

A year later, the canal company’s board of directer forced Hayes out, and replaced him with longtime watermaster, John Iron.

The board had asked Hayes twice to resign before they called a special meeting, the Idaho Citizen said in its Feb. 28, 1930, edition.

Hayes “labored long and diligently for the company and brought to his position a degree of intelligence and skill,” the editors opined, saying the reason for Hayes’ firing may never be known.

The editors opined their thanks to Hayes, and said the reason for Hayes’ firing may never be made public.

The reason is still unclear today.

“From reading the minutes, it seems like the canal board had considerable dissension in those days — depression economy maybe?” said today’s canal company Manager Brian Olmstead. “So the board expected a lot of the manager, like really tight budgets.”

A tunneling and drainage program was also putting a lot of stress on budgets, Olmstead said.

“The election and replacement of John Hayes was on split votes — some of the board liked him and some didn’t, so it was very political.”

Mychel Matthews reports on agriculture and rural issues for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and on If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at