Emmett Messenger Index
Diana Baird / Messenger Index


Emmett is located in Gem County, Idaho. Named the “Valley of Plenty” for its abundant orchards and farming areas, the city has a rich history with the logging, mining and farming industries. The 6,000 foot Squaw Butte and Little Butte welcome visitors as they drive through the gap into the beautiful valley.

The population of Gem County is 16,673 with 45 percent of the community living in rural areas. The 150 foot Black Canyon Dam and Reservoir dumps into the Lower Payette River which runs through Emmett. It is a summertime play area with boating, skiing, fishing, motorcycle and walking trails, and a beautiful new scenic byway.

Gem County has events every month of the year including the Cherry Festival which is Idaho’s longest continuous festival. Emmett recently renovated its historical downtown area and celebrated 150 years as a community.

The history of the Emmett Messenger-Index can be traced back to Nov. 4, 1893 when Eugene Lorton was the editor. The first subscribers were Sheridan Anderson and Frank Klingback. There were about 300 families in the area and two large merchandise stores, one drug store, one hardware store, one millinery store, one undertaking establishment, two saloons, two hotels, two feed stables, one barber, two blacksmith shops, one sawmill, one butcher shop, one painter, two lawyers, two doctors and a newspaper. Subscriptions were $2 for a year and $1 for six months.

The Index had a hard time financially getting started up. The advertised subscriptions were given in trade for apples, eggs. Money was scarce in the community. The Emmett Index was owned by 12 publishers/editors in its first 10 years of operation.

On April 20, 1933 – Oliver Hower, editor, owner, publisher started the Emmett Messenger. The days were tough for Hower and wife Mabel with five boys and a girl. When Hower began publication, the Index was in its 39th year of publication. He had no experience in journalism or printing. A hand operated mimeograph machine was used to print the first edition. The Emmett Messenger began as a mimeographed paper. The Messenger was first located in the Penny building.

In June 1957, Owen Lewis purchased the Emmett Index. With the consolidation, the name was changed to the Messenger-Index and it was made into a full size, eight column publication. In 1990, the newspaper was purchased by the Idaho Press Tribune, which is owned by Pioneer News Group.