Sunday, October 23, 2016

Colonel Edgar Heigho: Railroad Manager, Businessman, and Military Adviser [otd 10/23]

Edgar Heigho. H. T. French photo.
Railroad manager, business investor, and adviser on military affairs Edgar Maurice Heigho was born October 23, 1867 in Essex, England. He came to the U. S. as a young boy. With no formal schooling beyond his pre-teens, he found work as an office boy at the Detroit Free Press. At age 15, Edgar landed a job with a Detroit-based railroad.

For the next five years, he bounced around among several railways, including the Union Pacific. Heigho became Chief Clerk for the Idaho Central Railway in 1887, the year that company completed the first branch line – “The Stub” – into Boise City [blog, Sept 13].

In 1891, Heigho found other employment. He first worked on a survey crew in central Idaho, then as a freight traffic manager for a railroad based in St. Louis. He filled several positions until about 1895, when he began a four-year period ranching in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole.

Heigho then returned to the railroad business, working for the Oregon Short Line. In 1903, he joined the Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway as an auditor. The P&IN started laying track out of Weiser in 1899 and had extended the line ninety miles north three years later.

The company established a “New Meadows” station about two miles west of the existing village of Meadows. New Meadows quickly drew business to itself. Many homes and a number of stores were physically moved to the new location. Soon, only a few scattered dwellings remained in Meadows.

Heigho rose quickly in the P&IN and, in 1909, he became its President and General Manager. For a number of years, people toyed with the notion of pushing the tracks on to Lewiston, but that never happened.
P&IN Railway depot, New Meadows.
Adams County Historical Society.

Besides his railway position, Heigho was President and General Manager of the Central Idaho Telegraph & Telephone Company, and also for the Coeur d'Or Development Company. The development company owned the New Meadows town site and built a substantial depot, a bank, a school, and the Hotel Heigho. Edgar served as Director of the bank in New Meadows as well as one in Weiser.

Heigho also built a fine mansion for himself in New Meadows. He was described as having been associated with “independent military organizations” for a number of years. He also had a connection with the Idaho National Guard, provided advice on military affairs to the Idaho governor, and wrote on military affairs for a national audience. During World War I, he and his wife participated in various “home front” war activities, being especially interested in Belgian relief work.

In 1918, Edgar suffered a stroke that forced him to resign as General Manager of the railroad. According to Hawley’s History, he retained the presidency for several years after that. He passed away in 1926. The Heigho mansion in New Meadows is on the National Register of Historic Places. The restored structure now operates as a bed & breakfast.

The old P&IN Depot was stabilized and re-roofed several years ago so the structure could be renovated. It now has several rooms that can be rented for weddings, business or social meetings, dances, and other activities. A museum space is also under construction.
                                                                                                                                     
References: [B&W], French], [Hawley]
“Col. E. M. Heigho Passes Away,” The Payette Independent, Payette, Idaho (September 02, 1926).
National Register of Historic Places: Colonel E. M. Heigho House in New Meadows, Idaho. Listed May 22, 1978.
Sage Community Resources, The Payette River Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan, Idaho Department of Transportation, Boise (September 2001).

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