COUNTY SEAT Soda Springs
Caribou County is named for Cariboo Mountain and mining area, which in turn was named for Cariboo Fairchild, who prospected the mines. What is now Caribou County was on the routes of the earliest explorers, fur trappers, and Oregon Trail emigrants. Thousands of emigrants passed over the present site of Soda Springs, so named for the many effervescent natural springs in the area. The county attracted cattlemen and sheepmen for the rich grazing. A brief mining boom took place in the 1870's and early 1880's following discovery of gold on Cariboo Mountain. Phosphate mining and processing and agriculture are the chief industries of Caribou County. Millions of tons of phosphate rock are mined and processed yearly. - - "The Idaho Almanac," 1977 Edition, State of Idaho.
map from almanac    location and population from Idaho Almanac    Caribou Co. ISU Digital Atlas

"Captain B. L. E. Bonneville. - In 1832 Captain Bonneville, a soldier in the regular army, procured a leave of absence and led an expedition to Idaho. While he came as a traveller and itinerant fur-trader, it is now known that his mission, a sort of secret one, was also to furnish information relative to the Oregon country and the methods of the Hudson's Bay Company.

"Bonneville Across the Plains, 1832-1835 - With 110 men and 20 wagons drawn by oxen and mules Bonneville started from Independence, Missouri, May 1, 1832. He reached Pierre's Hole, Idaho, in September of that year. To Bonneville belongs the distinction of having been the first Western traveller to take wagons as far as Green River in western Wyoming. He was a pronounced success as an expedition manager, and reached Idaho without a single accident.

"Bonneville in Bear Lake County. - In the autumn of 1833 we find Bonneville pitching his camp on the outlet of Bear Lake, near the present city of Montpelier. This body of water was then known as Little Lake, to distinguish it from Great Salt Lake lying south.of it. A few days later Bonneville visited Soda Springs in Bannock County. This celebrated curiosity was then known as Beer Spring. Bonneville described the water of having the taste of beer. He could not persuade the Indians to taste it." more on Captain Bonneville

"Early cattle drives were marketed by trailing east. . . The old eastward trail led through Fort Hall, to the Blackfoot River, where they crossed near the present site of the Blackfoot Dam, went around Gray's Lake, trailed around the southern border of the Caribou Mountains, then went on to Salt River and followed the old Sublette trail to Cheynne." - p.232, C. J. Brosnan's "History of the State of Idaho." 1935 at

Langley's 1876 Directory, alpha index - includes Soda Springs & etc.
1887, Sheriff Taylor returns
1888, Williams & the Murder of Winn and Reed
1910 Preliminary Report on the Mining Districts of Idaho
Hawley's 1920 History
Post Offices
John Grey Highway Marker

1891 Post Route Map (before county was created) - 1895, 1897 & 1903 at Digital Commonwealth/Massachusetts Collections
1912 Lane Creek topo map
1932 Irwin topo map

Steamboat Springs - "Travelled about 22 miles along the bank of the Bear River and are encamped at Soda Springs. This is indeed a curiosity. The water tastes like soda water, especially artificially prepared. The water is bubbling and foaming like boiling water." --Sarah White Smith, July 24, 1838 "You could hear Steamboat Springs which was the most renowned one as you came into the valley from the east they could hear rumbling and roaring. And there were just a huge number of carbonated springs, regular springs, cold water and just sulfur type smelling springs. The whole area was laced with them. And they camped and explored, probably spent a few days here. It was quite a phenomenon to them. And on a calm day you can go out on the back of the golf course, you can look over the reservoir and you can still see the rings as Steamboat continues to bubble." --Tony Varilone, local historian continued: Idaho PTV, Pathways of Pioneers
Blackfoot Cattle Company's Ranch near Soda Springs, 1893. "Idaho Gem of the Mountains," souvenir Idaho World's Fair.

Caribou Jack's story on Caribou-Targhee National Forest site
Soda Springs on the Oregon Trail
Idaho Mines, at acessgenealogy
Eastern Idaho Guidebook Digital Atlas of Idaho
Idaho Geological Survey, University of Idaho;
    "Gold Camps and Silver Cities" by Merl Wells; Wells estimates that $1,200,000 worth of minerals was taken from Caribou Mountian
Caribou County at westernmininghistory
Caribou County Historical Markers
Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Pictures of Caribou County
Genealogy Trails/Caribou County
Caribou GenWeb
Caribou Co. USGenweb Archives
BYUI Eastern Idaho Death Records

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