History of Adams County

A brief history of our County and Cities


Mesa is located on Highway 95 south of Council. In 1908 the area had a post office known as “Middle Fork.” In 1912 the name was changed to “Mesa.” (Although there is no longer a Mesa post office, it continues with its very own zip code). Also in 1912 a school was built which included an assembly room for public gatherings.

In 1908 the idea for apple orchards in the Mesa area was born. It is a dry area and the water problem had to be dealt with. The solution ended up being the building of a seven-mile-long wooden flume to convey water from the Middle Fork of the Weiser River as well as the digging of several miles of ditches.

In 1909 the Mesa Orchards Company ordered 80,000 trees, built a sawmill on the Middle Fork for lumber for the flume, and hired 100 men to dig the ditches. Unfortunately the initial irrigation solution was inadequate and most of the trees died. Water had to be hauled in by wagon until the irrigation was finally completed in 1911.

A $45,000 tramway was built in 1920 and was used to carry fruit three and a half miles north to the railroad. It ceased operation about 1934.

Five hundred workers were harvesting apples in 1933 but by 1936 the company was ordered to sell its property because of its huge debts. The apple enterprise continued under new owners. In 1947 the apple harvest was said to be 500,000 boxes. The winter of 1949 brought 63 straight days of zero and below temperatures. Many trees never produced well again. Eventually many of the trees were felled to increase pasture.

The area is now comprised of private homes and range and pasture lands.