A Garden in the Saddle
By Shirley Metts
On the northern slope of an extinct volcano’s spatter cone lies a small saddle, now called Eden Butte, and on this saddle sits the town of Eden, population 405 in the last census.
One day not long ago, when my husband Rocky and I were on a leisurely drive in the vicinity of Eden, we began to wonder what caused the town to come into existence, and why it survived when so many other small communities that once lay around it did not. We’ve lived in the area for a long time and have been to Eden often, although mostly we went there as teenagers, and these are not questions teenagers usually ask. But now our curiosity was piqued.
Riding through the town as a youngster when our family was on our way to Boise, I didn’t pay much attention to the place until 1967, when my parents moved us from Rupert to Hazelton, just four miles from Eden. Even then, I didn’t pay it much mind, although several people from Eden attended the same church in Hazelton as I did. When school resumed that fall, I discovered that Valley High School, which was, and is, located halfway between Hazelton and Eden, still had its football field at the Eden grade school, formerly the high school. In the years I attended high school in Hazelton, the games were held in Eden, and the American Legion also played its baseball games there.
I remember a business called the Eden Elevator (for grain storage), the hotel, the post office, Black’s Oil, the American Legion, and a grocery store. And I recall a beet dump about a mile east of Eden alongside the railroad tracks. So maybe I did pay a bit more attention to the place back then than I thought.