One of the first bridges across the Snake River in the Magic Valley was the bridge at Murtaugh, constructed in 1916 near the site of the old Drytown mining community.
By 1866, prospectors had found gold at the mouth of Dry Creek on the Snake River. But access to the river through the canyon was difficult and many miners chose to mine in the Boise area.
By 1870, prospectors moved back to the Snake River, claiming some 30 miles of river banks in south-central Idaho. Three mining camps developed on the river above Shoshone Falls: Shoshone City, between Shoshone Falls and the Twin Falls; Springtown, a half-mile downstream from today’s Hansen Bridge; and Drytown, at the mouth of Dry Creek near Murtaugh.
The Snake River gold rush was short lived. By 1871, many of the miners had moved on, but a few stayed to raise cattle.
Some 30 years later, the village of Murtaugh formed as the Twin Falls Irrigation Tract took shape. It’s said that Mark Murtaugh, assistant manager of the Twin Falls Land and Water Co., gave $500 to the local school district to have the town named for him.
The original Murtaugh Bridge was replaced in 1983.