Pop. 6,200

In 1880, John Hailey purchased 440 acres along the Wood River and laid out several blocks for a townsite. The site was originally named Marshall, but the title soon changed to honor its founder. By the time John Hailey moved to Boise in 1881, the town already had eighteen saloons and twelve gambling parlors and was thriving as a mining boom town. The railroad arrived in 1883, and along with it, additional prosperity and technology. Because of the railroad, Hailey received telegraph services shortly after its founding as well as the region’s first telephone system. In addition, Hailey also claimed rights to Idaho’s first electrical light system in 1889.

In the 1880s, Hailey was so populated and busy that it boasted three daily newspapers and two weekly papers. This was during the town’s most prosperous years (1881-1889). At one point, Hailey’s Chinese population was the largest in the state. In the end, the local mines produced nearly $60 million in lead, gold, and silver. Even the business-district fires that occurred in 1883 and 1889 can’t destroy those figures!

Today, the quiet town at the edge of Idaho’s wealthiest and most developed resort area is home to several turn-of-the-century buildings, a thriving art scene, and year-round recreation. The town also retains the distinction as the birthplace of Ezra Pound, famous twentieth-century poet and political activist.

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