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Wilder : rich in history

Our small town of Wilder, Idaho is nestled between the Boise and Snake Rivers in the western part of Canyon County, conveniently located thirty miles west of Boise.

Homesteaders began arriving as early as 1904 with the hope of irrigation water being provided soon with the development of the Boise Project. Referred to as a barren tract of sagebrush land, the area bloomed into one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the nation.

The settlement and history of Wilder was not only irrigation and farming though. Like many towns, the possibility of a railroad passing through created optimism. Corresponding in time with the new irrigation project, a railroad company captured the interest of the area settlers. The project, as proposed, envisioned a line from San Francisco, California to Butte, Montana through Wilder. The San Francisco-Idaho-Montana Railway Company was incorporated in 1904 and sold to the Short Line Railroad Company in 1909 who actually constructed the present railway service from Caldwell to Wilder instead of going on to San Francisco as first planned.

The name “Wilder” is believed to have been named for Marshall P. Wilder, publisher of a popular woman’s magazine, “The Delineator.” Mr. Wilder allegedly offered to print a positive article about the community, if the town received his name.

Many of the townspeople wanted to name the town “Golden Gate” after the first store built by E.M. Small named the Golden Gate Store which was located along the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company. Although the town did not acquire that name, other parts of the community did. A store, school, canal, church, irrigation district, and the highway district all received that name.

All in all, the first twenty-five years of Wilder's history was a period of hard work, sacrifice, adjustment, growth, and prosperity. Our new settlement had been established and began to flourish.

New settlers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Mexico brought their families to Wilder to do seasonal work, harvesting fields of potatoes, peas, beans, hops, and sugar beets, so they could feed their families. It presented hope and a new beginning for them. It has been more than 100 years since Wilder first began. We have grown year after year to over 1400 citizens in our small community.

Wilder is a thriving little community with a mix of ethnicity along with much opportunity for growth and prosperity. Many housing developments are springing up in our area to accommodate that growth. With Highway 95 running through Wilder, which is the main arterial highway extending from California to Northern Idaho and Canada, it's a visionary dream for entrepreneurs who wish to build commercial or industrial or transportation businesses as an investment for their future. We are excited to be a part of the growth that Treasure Valley is experiencing. We are excited to see the changes that are happening in the Treasure Valley and plan to be a part of that growth. “Come grow with us.”