Nampa, Idaho

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Nampa (pronounced /ˈnæmpə/) is the largest and the fastest growing city in Canyon County, Idaho, USA. It is now the second largest in the state, passing the eastern Idaho cities of Idaho Falls and Pocatello in the late 1990s. Only the capital city, Boise, is larger. The population of Nampa was 51,867 at the 2000 census, and was estimated to be 81,241 as of July 2009. Nampa is located about 20 miles (32 km) west of Boise along Interstate 84, and six miles (10 km) west of Meridian. Nampa is part of the Boise metropolitan area. The name "Nampa" came from a Shoshone word whose meaning is either moccasin or footprint.[1]



Nampa began its life in the early 1880s when the Oregon Short Line Railroad built a line from Granger, Wyoming, to Huntington, Oregon. It passed through Nampa.[2] More railroad lines sprung up running through Nampa, making it a very important railroad town. Alexander and Hannah Duffes, established one of the town's first homesteads, eventually forming the Nampa Land and Improvement Company with the help of their friend and co-founder, James McGee. In spite of the name, many of the first settlers referred to the town as "New Jerusalem" because of the strong religious focus of its citizens. After only a year the town had grown from 15 homes to 50. As new amenities were added to the town, Nampa continued its growth and was incorporated in 1890.

Unlike most towns in that historic era with streets running true north and south, Nampa's historic roads run perpendicular to the railroad tracks that travel northwest to southeast through the town. Thus, the northside is really the northeast side of the tracks, and the southside is really the southwest side of the railroad tracks. Founder Alexander Duffes laid out Nampa's streets this way to prevent an accident like one that occurred earlier in a town he had platted near Toronto, Canada. In that town, a woman and her two children were killed by a train when they started across the railroad tracks in a buggy and the wheel got stuck. As the Oregon Short Line railroad originally bypassed Boise, Nampa has the fanciest of many railroad depots built in the area.

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