The 47-page National Geographic article titled Idaho Made the Desert Bloom, written by D. Worth Clark, “United States Senator from Idaho, Member of the National Geographic Society’s Salmon River Expedition, 1935” includes 42 illustrations and photographs by Dr. Maynard Owen Williams.

Published in June, 1944, while the country was fighting WWII on several fronts, Mr. Clark opens with this sentence: “The war is teaching Idaho the real strength of its mighty sinews.” In addition to highlighting Idaho industries such as logging, farming (potatoes, seed crops, hops and turkeys) and ranching, the article talks about distributing water across the state via canals and dams so that the desert might bloom with crops. Helping Navy troops is also a theme, whether providing fresh water training on Pend Oreille Lake or a serene place to recover from illness and injury at the Naval Convalescent Hospital in Sun Valley.

Take a stroll through Idaho’s history in these photos from National Geographic Volume LXXXV Number Six ($4.00 a year, 50¢ a copy). Some places have changed a lot in the intervening 74 years – like Sun Valley – while others – Meadows Valley – not so much.

And for fun and nostalgia, the back cover advertisement:

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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