P & IN Story and Meadows Valley

In 1899 the P & IN was completed between Weiser and Cambridge, 40.5 railroad miles and in 1901 it was extended to Council an additional 20 railroad miles.  In 1904, Colonel E. M. Heigho became the company’s general manager and in 1909 their president.  Under Colonel Heigho’s leadership the line was extended further north with tracks being laid to Evergreen, another 22 miles of railroad track, in 1906.  The mountainous terrain proved difficult in building the tracks into Meadows Valley. In 1911, the line was completed to the new town site of New Meadows, making its way 89.7 of railroad miles from its beginning in Weiser.

4 Brick Buildings – A sign of permanence and prosperity to come

Col. Heigho (pronounced Hi-O) was instrumental in building the town site of New Meadows.  He became president of the Coeur d’Or Development Company who surveyed and platted the town site.  This planned community would become home to four beautifully built large brick buildings.  On the western edge of town was the P & IN Depot with its circular driveway facing the east.  On the eastern edge of town was the magnificent Hotel Heigho with its circular driveway facing the Depot to the west.  On the northern side of town was a two story brick school house called “Beaumont” facing the south and a two story bank building was on the southern side of town.

The town of New Meadows evolved with the coming of the railroad into Meadows Valley, in 1911.  Many of the houses at Meadows were moved to the new town.  Some merchants of Meadows moved their old buildings or built new stores in New Meadows.   Three of the original buildings remain – The P&IN Depot, Beaumont School that has been converted to apartments, and the bank building, which served many years as the IOOF Hall and Rebecca’s Lodge, has been updated and converted to a residence, the Heigho residence is now the Hartland Inn and serves as a Bed & Breakfast.   The magnificent 53 room Heigho Hotel burned in 1929, was destroyed and not rebuilt.

The railway’s intentions were to eventually reach Grangeville, Lewiston or Missoula giving the State of Idaho a north-south railroad.  The Depot at New Meadows was intended to serve as the hub for the railway line.  The plans were never fulfilled and the New Meadows Depot became the end of the line.

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