Pop. 7,054

Located where the Payette and Snake Rivers merge, this community was first called Payettenville. A store operated here in 1867, and in 1871 the town boasted the only post office between Baker, Oregon and Boise. The name was later changed to honor Francois Payette, Hudson Bay Company’s operator at Fort Boise (see also Parma). Francois was regarded as one of the West’s most hospitable gentleman before he moved to Canada upon retiring.

The town truly owes its existence and subsequent boom to two factors. The first factor which drove up the population was the 1882 arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. During that time, the nearby railroad camp was called Boomerang, and some of the workers stayed in the region upon the railroad’s completion. The brothers A.B. and Frank Moss were the second influence on the community. They were originally railroad employees who later opened the popular Merchant Mercantile in Boomerang. When the railroad construction crews picked up camp, the brothers picked up their business and moved it to Payette. The business in turn brought area settlers to the fledgling settlement for supplies, and the rest is history!

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