Castleford, Idaho

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Castleford is a city in Twin Falls County, Idaho, United States. The population was 277 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Twin Falls, Idaho Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Castleford was named for an early crossing of the Little Salmon River. The ford was so named because of the odd-shaped obelisks of rhyolite near the stream. The ford, used by pioneers in 1849, was also used by the Kelton-Dalles stage route.[1]

In 1890, Cephas Lilly settled the area that would later become Castleford. He was considered to be an honest, hardworking pioneer by his contemporaries. However, recent historical evidence has illuminated a very different man. Most notable was the fact that he used forced Chinese labor to build the famous Lilly Grade.

After his sudden death while on a business trip to Denver, the Lilly family was forced to sell his estate to the Ferguson Fruit and Land Company in order to pay off the massive debts that Cephas had accrued from his secret life of gambling and alcoholism. Ferguson Fruit and Land was quick to utilize the fertile farmland, planting acres of apple orchards. The new fruit business revitalized the local economy, bringing in many new settlers. This new influx of settlers led to the official founding of Castleford in 1907. Business there continued to remain prosperous until the Great Depression, at which point Ferguson Fruit and Land became bankrupt and the town was almost abandoned. Later, with the onset of World War II, the government established a Japanese internment camp on the outskirts of the town. ( This is not a true statement. The internment camp was actually in Hunt, Idaho. There were two Japanese families that lived in Castleford during WWII, they were told to go to the camp, but the Castleford community voiced their objections to the government, and the families were allowed to stay in Castleford.) [2]Despite their initial protest, the local citizens eventually came to welcome the government's presence, as it brought life back into their near-dead economy. After World War II, the camp was dismantled and removed in order to wipe away the stain left on Castleford's history.

During the Cold War, the United States Army conducted subterranean high-explosive tests at the Idaho Firing Range, thirty miles west of Castleford. It is locally believed that the residue from these explosives seeped into the area's water supply, which later created the town's record-breaking arsenic levels.

In 2006, the Small Town Historical Society (STHS) awarded Castleford citizen Eric Yapias the "Historical Find of the Year" medal for his discovery of several manuscripts detailing the early history of Castleford. Yapias, the local librarian, found the manuscripts while looking through several uncatalogued archives at the Castleford Research Library.


Castleford is located at 42°31′13″N 114°52′19″W / 42.52028°N 114.87194°W / 42.52028; -114.87194 (42.520254, -114.872040),[3] on the west bank of Salmon Falls Creek.

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