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French trappers who experienced a bout of food poisoning after eating beaver meat named this area and nearby river in the 1830s. “Malade” means “sick” in French. Although trappers led by John C. Fremont passed through the area in 1843, it wasn’t until 1856 that the area was officially settled. At the encouragement of Brigham Young, several Utah members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints migrated to the region. They were greeted with fields of grass, streams, and wild game.

Despite such ideal agricultural and ranching conditions, the town didn’t boom until 1864. Henry Peck arrived about that time and was influential in developing the area for hay production. As the town’s first chamber of commerce president, he encouraged construction and growth in the valley. Malad served as the center for southeastern Idaho’s first prosperous farming enterprises and was an important commercial center between Salt Lake and Butte, Montana. The town continued to prosper when the Union Pacific Railroad built a line to Malad from Brigham City, Utah in 1906. A post office has operated here since 1865.

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