Eagle might be the only city in the arid American west that was first settled on an island.
Four young miners left Idahos gold fields in 1863 to farm what is today called Eagle Island. Located between the Boise Rivers north and south channels, the site was ideal because there was water to irrigate crops and the island was not easily accessed by Indian raiding parties. In 1895, one of the islands farming families founded the village of Eagle on the north mainland.
Like Eagle, Kuna, would not exist without irrigation.
Kuna was a sparsely settled railroad station until 1909, when the area received irrigation water from the New York Canal system, which starts at Diversion Dam east of Boise and wends to Lake Lowell south of Nampa.
These details and more are featured in two new books, Eagle and Kuna. They are part of Arcadia Publishings extensive history series, Images of America.
Other local titles in the series include Boise, Gowen Field, Meridian and Mountain Home Air Force Base. In March, an edition on the Treasure Valleys electric railway is scheduled to be published.
Eagle History Museum staff and volunteers compiled photos and text for the Eagle book; Kuna resident Sharon Fisher authored its edition. Each softcover book features more than 200 photos highlighting the cities history.
Eagle History Museum coordinator Alana Dunn said members of the community offered photographs and information for the book, which took four people about a year to complete. One of the most interesting things staffers encountered in compiling the book was that so many people had tales about Orville Jackson, the owner of the downtown general store and one of Eagles best-known residents. Jackson never refused to fill a prescription because a customer could not pay, and always sent baby books to new parents.
Fisher, too, spent about a year researching and writing the book. But Ive been collecting information on Kuna history since I moved here in 2002, she said.
One of her biggest surprises while researching was her first visit to Silver City: Traveling down a dirt road for miles and miles and suddenly a beautiful Victorian city pops up in front of you out of the middle of nowhere.
Swan Falls Dam, one of the first dams to provide electricity in Idaho, also has a unique history. The houses were designed by the on-site people using architectural magazines of the day, she said.
Kuna Cave, too, piqued Fishers interest, with its wild tales about hidden gold and mysterious tunnels that led all the way to the Snake River.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428