About American Falls
American Falls is named after the natural waterfall on the Snake River, next to which the town was established in the late 1800s. The Oregon Trail passed between the town and the river. Previous to the establishment of the town, the site had been a campsite for parties such as the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition of 1811, and John C Frémont in 1843.
The first power plant at the falls was built in 1901. In 1927, the first dam was built, which required the relocation of the whole town, including the buildings, a short distance to the southwest. The original townsite is now under water. An old concrete grain silo still sticks out of the water, marking the original site.
The current townsite sits between the reservoir and the northern tip of the Deep Creek Mountains. Interstate 86 passes along the south edge of town, and Idaho Highway 39 loops around the northeast corner, crosses the dam and heads north to Aberdeen. Idaho Highway 37 heads south from the center of town to Rockland. American Falls is the county seat of Power County, and the only town above a few hundred people. The population was 4,111 at the 2000 census. The elevation is 4,400 feet.