Ashton, Idaho

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Ashton is a city in Fremont County, Idaho, United States. It is part of the Rexburg, Idaho Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,129 at the 2000 census. The district is noted for seed potato production and bills itself as the world's largest seed potato growing area.


Geography and climate

Ashton is located at 44°4′20″N 111°26′52″W / 44.07222°N 111.44778°W / 44.07222; -111.44778 (44.072092, -111.447858).[1] It is at an elevation of 5,260 feet (1,600 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.4 km²), all of it land.

Ashton is 18 miles (29 km) from the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park, 24 miles (39 km) from Grand Teton National Park, and 39 miles (63 km) from the Grand Teton with a clear view. Ashton is surrounded by farmland but is less than five miles (8 km) from the Targhee National Forest. There are four rivers within 10 miles (16 km) of Ashton. They are the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, Fall River, the Teton River, and Warm River and all are outstanding trout streams. There are three notable waterfalls nearby, Upper Mesa Falls and Lower Mesa Falls both on the Henry's Fork and Cave Falls on Fall River.

Moisture Channel

Ashton's climate is unique and is distinct. Ashton's annual precipitation, at 20 inches, is among the highest in southern Idaho and yet Ashton is not in the mountains. Further, the areas five miles (8 km) north or five miles (8 km) east of Ashton receive over 30 inches (760 mm) of precipitation while, St. Anthony, Idaho, only 13 miles (21 km) to the southwest receives only 14 inches (360 mm). This unusually high precipitation in the Ashton area is due to the unique geography of southern Idaho and Yellowstone. It is due to the Snake River Plain that was formed by the Yellowstone hotspot across southern Idaho. It forms a moisture channel that extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Ashton and Yellowstone area. For more information, see "Effects on Climate" in article "Snake River Plain".

Temperature and Precipitation Averages for Ashton, Idaho



In 1900, the Union Pacific Railroad, under the auspices of the OSL (Oregon Short Line) and St. Anthony Railroad Company, brought the railroad into the Upper Snake River Valley from Idaho Falls to St. Anthony, Idaho, 14 miles (23 km) southwest of what became Ashton. The venture had considerable local support and official support from the LDS Church. Following successful construction and operation of the St. Anthony Railroad, Union Pacific, under the auspices of the OSL and the Yellowstone Park Railroad Company, began plans for another railroad from St. Anthony to the Madison River entrance of Yellowstone National Park or to what is now known as West Yellowstone. For years, Union Pacific wanted improved rail access to Yellowstone’s geyser basins and now to Old Faithful Inn, that opened in 1904. Old Faithful Inn was only 30 miles (48 km) from the Madison River entrance, nearly half the distance from the Northern Entrance at Gardiner, Montana that was served by the Northern Pacific Railroad. The planned route for the new railroad was through Marysville, up Warm River Canyon into the forested Island Park country, and on over the continental divide at Rea’s Pass into what became West Yellowstone, Montana. Despite the obvious economic advantages and support, the residents of Marysville, perfectly happy without a railroad, resisted the new railroad intruding upon their land and into their lives. The matter was expeditiously resolved when Union Pacific decided to build the railroad through a new town one mile (1.6 km) west of Marysville named after the OSL Chief Engineer, William Ashton. The founding of Ashton and the first scheduled train service to Ashton both occurred in 1906 with predictable results. Ashton quickly sprang to life while Marysville slowly declined into near oblivion. One of the two founding fathers, H. G. “Fess” Fuller, became the long-time Mayor of Ashton and the other, Charles C. Moore, went on to become Governor of Idaho.

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