American Falls [†] showed steady, if unspectacular growth through its first thirty years of existence. By 1906, the town had outgrown its original townsite, resulting in tbe platting of the Riverside Addition. In 1907, the town's population was reported at 500. Five years later, in 1911, the population stood at 950. (Population stood at more than 4,200 in the 2020 census.
The town contained a rich variety of services. One of these stores was the first Skaggs store operated by two brothers. When the brothers had a falling out, one of the brothers branched out by opening the first Safeway store in April, 1916. The one commodity that American Falls did not provide was alcohol. Power County was a "dry" county. so individuals craving strong drink had to cross the Snake River to quench their thirst at the "Bottle and Jug" in Blaine County, which had remained "wet." Thc bar was said to be the only one in ten counties. but was closed by court order after the west bank of the Snake River became part of Power county.
The relocation af the town of American Falls from the floodplain of the Snake River to a new "designed community" high above the waters of the American Falls Reservoir is a unique and significant development in local. state and national history. The relocation was required by the construction of the American Falls Dam, which in rum was needed to provide adequate water storage for the irrigation systems of southern Idaho. The new community in the Reclamation Addition is one of Idaho's few designed communities. The Herculean task of relocating buildings from the original townsite is an example of a federally funded, massive public works program.
In addition to moving the Oregon Short Line right-or-way and tbe Idaho Power transmission line, the Reclamation Service faced the daunting task of relocating much of an entire town. American Falls had to be removed from the reservoir area and transplanted to a new subdivision. named appropriately the Reclamation Addition. In all, 344 residences, 46 businesses, 3 hotels, 1 school, 6 churches, 1 hospital, 6 grain elevators, 1 flour mill, and numerous small sheds and shacks had to be removed from the reservoir before water began to rise to reduce the amount of floating debris; and to protect the new hydroelectric turbines. But before any buildings could be relocated, the infrastructure for a new community had to be planned and installed.
† Dale Gray, Frontier Historical Consultants, American Falls Relocated Townshite, 2005, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places nomination document, history.idaho.gov, accessed July, 2021.