McCammon is a historic railroad town located at the northern end of Marsh Valley. McCammon’s rich history gives glimpses of life on the Western frontier of the 1800s.
American Indians—primarily the Shoshone and Bannock Tribes—hunted and fished in the Marsh Valley area alone until the first white explorers/trappers arrived in about 1810. In 1825-26 Peter Skeen Ogden led a beaver trapping expedition along the Snake River, when Indians killed one of the trappers, a French-Canadian named Portneuf. A river, valley and mountain range now bear his name. In 1841, the first immigrants to Oregon’s Willamette Valley passed through the area on what later became known as The Oregon Trail.
In 1849 a former member of Captain John C. Fremont’s surveying expedition, Benoni M. Hudspeth, leading his party of 250 immigrants, blazed a new shortcut off The Oregon Trail. The Hudspeth Cutoff separated from the main trail, heading southwest of Soda Springs through what is now Lava Hot Springs, skirting the south side of present-day McCammon before reconnecting at the City of Rocks near Almo.
Besides shaving 25 miles from the northern route, Hudspeth’s Cutoff allowed travelers the luxury to bathe and relax at the hot springs of what is now Lava Hot Springs. Soon, most immigrants on their way overland to California travelled the Hudspeth Cutoff.
In 1863 prospectors discovered placer gold in what was then Idaho Territory, but is now western Montana. A crude toll road called the “Idaho Gold Road,” gave passage to stagecoaches and freight wagons laden with gold and supplies as they passed through Marsh Valley on their way to and from Salt Lake City. Ben Holladay opened a stagecoach service along The Gold Road in 1864.
Soon after, William Murphy built a toll bridge across the Portneuf River at Port Neuf, now called McCammon, later buying the rights to the toll road as well.
In 1865, a deadly stage holdup occurred about seven miles north of present-day McCammon. Ben Holladay’s Overland Stage came to a stop in front of a line of boulders placed across the road, when four bandits shot and killed the stagecoach’s two lead horses. The robbery turned deadly when one of the thieves panicked and fired several shots through the stagecoach, killing four of the passengers and wounding another. The stage driver and a passenger escaped by fleeing into the nearby brush and trees. The bandits got away with two strongboxes of gold valued then at over $86,000. Vigilantes later captured and executed three of the felons but never did recover the gold.
After the U.S. Government waged war against local Indians during the Bannock War, the defeated Shoshone-Bannock Indians ceded the southern part of their reservation, including McCammon, to the federal government.
The Utah and Northern Railroad Company (UNR), built a narrow-gauge rail line from Franklin, Idaho through the area. However, UNR had to bypass Port Neuf—now McCammon—because railroad officials could not make a deal to buy the land from Henry O. Harkness.
In 1881, the Oregon Short Line Railroad (OSL) began constructing a rail line from Granger, Wyoming, northwesterly through Pocatello, Shoshone and Nampa; eventually connecting with the rail line in Huntington, Oregon. Completed in 1884, the rail line provided the necessary link to connect Omaha, Nebraska, with Portland, Oregon. In 1882, the OSL built a rail line to shorten the route from Pocatello, building a depot at Port Neuf, which they renamed McCammon, after J.H. McCammon, a railroad official. On January 15, 1908, the city of McCammon incorporated.
Recreational opportunities abound in Marsh Valley. Nearby national forest and public lands offer a wide variety of outdoor recreation including hunting, fishing, camping, ATV riding in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter. Downhill skiing is available nearby at Pebble Creek Ski Resort on 9,271-foot-high Mount Bonneville.
Perhaps the most significant amenity enjoyed by present-day McCammon residents is living in a quiet rural environment, within a half hour drive of Pocatello’s shopping malls, hospital, airport and Idaho State University.
Source: https://www.mccammoncity.com and https://idahocities.org