established in 1893

Fremont County was established March 4, 1893, with its county seat in St. Anthony. It was named for John C. Fremont, an explorer known as the "Pathfinder" who passed through the area in 1843. The first settlement was Egin Bench in 1879.

The diversity of the Fremont County landscape reflects its geologic history. Within its borders are mountains, lakes and reservoirs, dense lodgepole pine forests and clearcuts, sagebrush steppes, active sand dunes, irrigated and non-irrigated croplands, and small farming and resort communities.

The southern and western parts of the county lie over the basalt flows of the Snake River Plain - an area of irrigated cropland and sagebrush steppes that also includes a belt of active sand dunes. The county is bordered to the south by the farmlands of Teton, Madison, and Jefferson counties, Idaho, and the west by the rangelands of Clark County, Idaho.

The northern and eastern parts of the county are on the volcanic highlands of the Yellowstone Plateau, where the landscape features lodgepole pine forests, mountain meadows, streams and the headwaters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. The county is bordered to the east by the Yellowstone Plateau and the Wyoming border.

The steeply rising Centennial Mountains and Henry's Lake form a distinctive landscape on Fremont County's northern border. The crest of the mountains are both the Continental Divide and the Idaho-Montana state line.

The county occupies 1,877 square miles or about 1,201,300 acres. Public lands predominate. Only 31.9 percent (599 square miles) of the county's land is in private ownership. About 821 square miles (43.7 percent of the total area) in the northern and eastern portions of the county are in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Another 220 square miles (11.8 percent of the total area), mostly in the western part of the county, is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The state of Idaho manages about 175 square miles in parcels scattered throughout the county.

Average annual precipitation in Fremont County ranges from less than 10 inches in the western part of the county to more than 30 inches at higher elevations. The average precipitation can range from 19.11 inches in Ashton, 14.37 inches in St. Anthony and 30.93 at the Island Park Dam.

Elevations in Fremont County range from 4.380 to 10,240 feet. The climate reflects the elevation. The frost-free season of Island Park is about 45 days, compared to about 80 days or more in the Ashton and St. Anthony areas. The mean annual temperature average for St. Anthony area is 42.3 degrees. In the Ashton area the mean annual temperature is 41.1 degrees and in the Island Park area, 36.5 degrees.

The rural county's economy is based mostly on agriculture and recreation or tourism.

As of the 2010 census the county had a population of 13,242.

Learn more

History and Photos

- An article written by Margaret Hawkes Lindsley as appeared in the Fremont County Chronicle-News Historical Edition Aug. 8, 1963. It later appeared in the Fremont County Centennial Edition published March 4, 1993 by The Fremont County Herald-Chronicle.

- An article that appeared in the Idaho Association of Counties County Commentary, 2013 midwinter edition.

Centennial Celebration
-See the Courthouse Centennial Celebration photos and memories from 2009.

From The Idaho Encyclopedia

Fremont County was the first county created after Idaho was admitted to the Union. It was organized by the Legislature in 1893 from the northern part of Bingham County. It was named for John C. Fremont, the pathfinder who surveyed the West for the Government.

The area included about 6,082 square miles north of the present Bonneville County boundaries, excepting the northeastern part of Lemhi County. In 1895, the northeastern boundary line of Lemhi County was placed farther west, fixing it at its present position, and the area was annexed to Fremont. In 1903 Fremont County was made larger still, with the annexation of the Big Hole Mountain area.

In 1913, Madison and Jefferson counties were created, taking the southern half of Fremont County. In 1919 Clark County was created, taking the northwestern corner.

The first settlement in what is now Fremont County was made in 1879 on Egin Bench, half-mile west of the Fort Henry site on the north side of the river. This settlement, the first in the county within the area of the North Fork of the Snake River, consisted of 11 log cabins. It was the settlers of Egin Bench who named Saint Anthony Falls because of its similarity to the falls by that name in the Mississippi River. In 1887, a bridge was built across the river at the present site of the town of St. Anthony. Two years later the townsite of St. Anthony was platted.

Lake, which was a camping ground for the Indians on Henry's Lake, was for many years a point on a stage line which passed through the northern part of the county. Rea, a city in Shotgun Valley, was one of the oldest post offices in the county and the center of a stock-raising area.

About 1880, agricultural communities were established, most of them by Mormon people who filed claims and transformed the area into farms. Among the first of these communities were Wilford, Teton, Parker and Marysville. Ashton, the last important point in Idaho on the highway leading to Yellowstone National Park, is one of the newer towns of eastern Idaho.