History of Meridian, Idaho
Meridian’s earliest settlers lived along Five Mile Creek where there was running water most of the year. The first school opened in 1885. The U.S. Postal Service soon established a mail drop along the railroad line, which was named “Hunter” after its superintendent. The center of activity began to move closer to the railroad as the trading center. In 1893, an Order of Odd Fellows chapter was established and adopted the name “Meridian” for its lodge, in recognition of Idaho’s principle surveyor’s meridian, which runs along Meridian Road as it passes through town.
Established in 1893, Meridian was incorporated as a village in 1903 with a population of approximately 200 and a bustling business center. A creamery was built in 1897, and other dairy-related businesses followed, as Meridian established itself as a dairy center for the state. This part of the community’s history is still celebrated annually during Meridian Dairy Days celebrated annually in June. Dairy Days has been observed in one form or another since 1929.
Many of the early settlers planted large fruit orchards, and through the 1940’s Meridian was the home of a large fruit growing, packing and shipping industry. Local apiaries were among the largest in the nation, as bees were necessary to the fruit growing industry. These and other early agricultural industries were later joined by businesses connected with the timber and housing industries.
The Interurban electric railway connected Meridian with other Treasure Valley towns in 1908 and provided convenient public transportation, as well as a means for shipping milk to the creameries and hauling fruit to market. This convenience lasted until 1928. The original depot for the Interurban became the Meridian Public Library’s Old Town Branch which closed in 2008.
Meridian has been the fastest growing city in Idaho since 1994, with the population tripling between 1990 and 2000, and more than doubling between 2000 and 2007. It has become a center of retail and commercial development in southwest Idaho. The City’s convenient access to I-84, Highway 55, and the railroad combine to make it an ideal location for new businesses of many types. We truly are the “Center of the Treasure Valley”.
Meridian retains its small town friendliness and style of living, offering many recreational and community amenities. It is a thriving, growing community with hundreds of retail merchants, professional services, and clean industries that truly make it a community that’s “Built for Business, Designed for Living.”
Meridian History Center
The Meridian Historical Society maintains the Meridian History Center inside the main entrance of Meridian City Hall, located at 33 E. Broadway Avenue in downtown Meridian. It contains archived documents and photographs relating to Meridian's hisotry and several display cases exhibiting items from Meridian's past. This volunteer-run facility maintains limited office hours. Please call 489-0602 for hours and information.