SMALL TOWN CHARM
People choose Middleton for its small town charm and affordability. Only half-an-hour removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown Boise; if we didn’t tell you Boise was so close you might not believe it. Middleton has a small town culture where horses and farmland are the norm and getting directions to the best old fashion ice cream shake seems like a natural conversation.
And while Middleton hasn’t escaped the urban growth the Treasure Valley has seen through the years, finding affordable acreage remains a popular draw to the area. Overall, Middleton remains one of the most affordable communities in the Treasure Valley.
MIDDLETON THEN & NOW
Middleton was named for its location between the old fort Boise and Keeney’s Ferry; it being the midpoint between the two. It served as a rest stop for those heading for Keeney’s Ferry. It had a stage station in the early days of the Oregon Trail, a post office in 1866 and a water powered grist mill in 1871.
Middleton is the oldest settlement in Canyon County, with the land being parceled out in 1863 by William N. Montgomery. The Boise River flooded in 1872 and cut a new channel, isolating the town on an island; as a result, the town moved to a new location in the years after 1880. The town incorporated as a city in 1910, although the certificate was not issued until 1971.
On February 1, 2007, 78% of Middleton High School burned down, caused by the overheating of a fan above the weight room. The 42-year-old building was built when fire codes required sprinklers to be installed, but there was no provision for their functionality. To save money during the construction of the school in the 1960's, the sprinklers were installed but were never connected to a water source.
A TOWN IN TRANSITION BY KRISTIN RODINE
Horses graze in pasture two blocks from Middleton City Hall. Residents say their town has retained much of its rural feel even as its population mushroomed. The most recent official population estimate is over 7,000.
“It used to be you’d go downtown and you knew everybody,” said O’Meara, who remembers when the town’s population sign proclaimed 541 residents. “But so many new people have moved in, you kind of lose that knowing-yourneighbor feel.”
But she said Middleton still has “that home feeling. You feel safe and secure.”
Transportation has always been a key part of Middleton’s identity. While the Oregon Trail passed on the other side of the Boise River, an alternate route followed Middleton’s side of the stream. The Interurban streetcar ran from Middleton to Boise and Caldwell between 1907 and 1928. Now, Idaho 44 doubles as the city’s busy Main Street, connecting to Interstate 84 west of town.
The Middleton School District is the town’s biggest employer, officials said, with Ridley’s Family Market the biggest business employer.
Although Middleton has collected new businesses as well as subdivisions, most residents still head out each morning to jobs in Boise, Caldwell and Nampa. Easy commuter routes to Boise and Caldwell are among the city’s key attractions to homebuyers.
Shedding the bedroom-community label is “a dream of ours,” Smith said. “One of the city’s goals is to be able to sustain some beautiful business and industry and have more jobs for our citizens.”
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Updated: 20th August, 2022 12:16 AM (UTC).