As 2021 draws to a close, we at the Independent-Enterprise wish to thank you for another year of support, as we work within the confines of the Argus Observer to bring you the stories that matter to Payette County four days a week. It has not been easy to make this transition, especially amid COVID-19, but we believe this to be the best move we could make for our readers.

But before you go out to watch the New York ball drop or the Idaho Potato Drop with friends and family, we wish to do a little looking-back of our own and invite you to join us in doing so.

From separate


The history of the Independent-Enterprise goes all the way back to February 1890. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this publication existed as two newspapers: The Payette Independent, and the Payette Enterprise. They were truly independent enterprises of their own, each working separately to cover Payette happenings.

The earliest issues of both newspapers indicate a style of reporting which may seem foreign to today’s reporters ... and it was very community-positive. It stands to illustrate just how much reporting has evolved in the 131 years since our first issue came hot off the press.

Coming together

In January 1936, the two papers were combined as the Independent-Enterprise. This resulted from the purchase of the Independent and the Enterprise by Mountain Home newspaper publisher George Whorton, which was finalized the month prior. The name would reflect this purchase, and was advertised as “One coverage, one cost.” As you can see, the name has stuck ever since.

It also came at a tough time in world history, as the masses continued reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. 

The next 85 years

Throughout the next nine decades, the newspaper would cover such major events as World War II, the closure of the Payette Valley Memorial Hospital in 1955, the Payette High School fire of 1956, the Bancroft Hotel fire of 1979, the burning and rebuild of New Plymouth High School in the mid-80s, the local effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the death of a local legend in Minnesota Twins alum Harmon Killebrew in 2011, to name a few. It has also covered happier events, such as the evolution of Payette’s Apple Blossom Festival, the Payette County Fair, Fruitland’s annual Christmas on Main Street, the installation of the Payette High School gymnasium dome and the founding of the Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field which gives local special needs children the chance to play ball.

Staying in style

Even when printed in black and white, the newspaper has seen just about every color of the rainbow, especially with its colorful front page banners of the early 1980s. Our logo has also seen a natural progression throughout the decades, leading up to to the one we use today. It was first developed from its original form to a variant of our legacy logo in the 1940s, then it evolved into a script logo used through the 1950s and 60s. It was switched to a simpler one going into the 70s, before returning to our legacy logo in the mid-80s. Our most recent redesign came about in November 2002, and has worn its miles relatively well in the 19 years since then.

COVID-19 hits

Life as we knew it changed as soon as the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020. As many of our advertisers found themselves clutching their purse strings more tightly, so did we. It was decided shortly after the virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, to discontinue the Independent-Enterprise as its own weekly publication. 

At that time, we believed this to be the end of its 130-year story. But as we would soon learn, we were wrong …

After the final weekly IE ran on June 24, 2020, Wick Communications President Francis Wick clarified to our staff that the name would live on. It would merely be folded neatly into the Argus Observer, with two dedicated pages each edition for coverage of Payette County news and events. And thus is how we have implemented this legacy brand ever since.

The future

Come Sunday, the Independent-Enterprise will begin its 131st volume as “Payette County’s newspaper.” To celebrate having printed our first 130 volumes, you will see a brand new look for your print editions. You can safely expect this to be an IE that looks and feels different, but is still the same at heart.

It is our hope you have a happy, safe New Year’s Eve, and that you may join us in the new year.

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