Union Pacific Railway

Meridian-area students board the Union Pacific Moscow Special car in a photo from the 1930s. During this time, hundreds of local scholars traveled to and from the University of Idaho in Moscow via Railway. Such a long journey to northern Idaho and back by rail fostered a strong sense of camaraderie, especially among devoted University of Idaho Vandal fans. The intense rivalry with Boise State University evolved in that era and intensified over the decades. Notice the abundance on hats and parasols among the passengers as well onlookers to the side. Observe also how virtually everyone appears to be attired in Sunday finery for a very special occasion as the dense throng packs into the waiting railcar. This practice continued until railway service ended in the 1970s.

crowd of travelers waiting by a railcar

The Electric Railway

At the turn of the 20th century the Electric Railway and Interurban Depots became a necessity for residents in Ada County. The photo below shows the Interurban Depot which opened in 1913. It was located at where day Meridian Rd. and Idaho St. The Electric Railway allowed farming communities to quickly and easily transport their goods to and from local markets. Meridian relied on its dairy and orchard industries. The railway allowed farmers to increase the export of their products without increasing the cost of their business. Additionally these railways connected the urban cities (think Boise) to the more rural communities that surrounded them (think Meridian, Nampa)

electric railway tracks, with buildings in the background

Thank you to the Meridian Historical Society, Meridian History Center, Meridian Historic Preservation Commission, and Historian Lila Hill for their time and talents volunteered to produce the information on these pages. Their efforts preserving Meridian’s history are greatly appreciated. The photos on this website are from the Historical Society’s collection and we encourage you to visit the History Center inside Meridian’s City Hall to see the all of the other wonderful photos and artifacts they have available to the public.

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