Parma
Pop. 1,771

Until 1883, this town situated alongside the Oregon Trail was known as Lower Boise. The area, however, was first home to Fort Boise. The fort was located just outside town where the Snake and Boise Rivers meet. The Hudson Bay Company used to run fur trades through the fort under the direction of Frenchman Francois Payette. Operating from 1834 to 1855, the fort was renowned for its hospitality, and Native Americans, trappers, pioneers, and traders all frequented the site. Today the fort no longer stands, but a monument marks the site.

When the fort closed, the area remained unpopulated for just a few short years. Between 1862 and 1864, a few farmers noted the site’s river location and began homesteading in the region. When the Oregon Short Line Railroad laid its tracks here in 1883, the railroad officials decided to rename the area. Albert Fouch, who arrived in Parma at the same time and opened the first store, complied with the railroad’s wishes and named the settlement after Parma, Italy.

In 1888, the Sebree Canal was constructed, and farming conditions in the area greatly improved. Word spread of the irrigation system, and farmers and ranchers from the midwest arrived in droves during the late 1800s. By its 1904 incorporation date, Parma was home to an opera house, schoolhouse, bank, and creamery. The area also experienced an apple production boom in the early 1900s, but the Depression, increasing costs, and toxic soil destroyed the orchards by 1930. Luckily, the soil problems were later resolved. Today, sugar beets, onions, and potatoes produce bumper crops each year.

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