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Bliss was first founded in 1878 when David and Lydia Bliss sold their Denver and Boise ranches and moved to south-central Idaho with their three young children. Before long, the Oregon Short Line Railroad arrived and constructed livestock pens and a loading chute to draw sheepmen and cattle ranchers from the surrounding region. As the site continued to grow into an agricultural hub, Ben Mullins decided to survey and plat out a townsite in the 1890s. Mullins collected a fee from all the settlers who had already constructed buildings in the area, and Bliss entered the history of Idaho as an official community.

During Bliss’ early years, long winters created fuel scarcities. Desperately needing to heat their homes and protect their families, several Bliss men came up with an ingenious plan. Trains loaded with coal frequently passed through town each night. Noting this fact, men would take turns hopping the east-bound train at King Hill. As the train surged towards the hill’s crest, the stowaway would throw off large chunks of coal to the grade below. The next morning, the man would return with his wife and children to retrieve the stolen coal and carry it back to Bliss for winter provisions. Today, little trace is left of this heritage of hardship, and Bliss is most recognized for its location on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway.

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