The Natural Mineral Water Co. incorporated May 17, 1887 was located in Soda Springs, Idaho. They bottled water from Ninety Percent Springs and called it Idanha. Some claim the name is an Indian word meaning something like “spirit of healing waters.” The company would sometimes spell it Idan-Ha. The Idanha Hotel, built by the Union Pacific, came along that same year. That’s the one in Soda Springs. Boise’s Idanha, named after the earlier hotel, came along later.
Idanha water was shipped to eastern markets and foreign countries. It won first prize at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The water is said to have won first place at a World’s Fair in Paris, though the date isn’t certain.
The bottling works burned down in 1895. One might wonder what would burn in a water bottling plant. Nevertheless, it did burn and was rebuilt, getting back to business a couple of years later. The plant filled a million bottles a year in the early days.
Idanha was a great name for a couple of hotels and premium bottled water. It still serves as the name of a town in Oregon. Historians agree that the town name was linked to Idanha water in some way, but no one seems to know how.
But what I want to know about Idanha water is, why ain’t I rich? The National Park Service in interpretive materials about the springs quotes from a diary of one Emma Thompson about the day she and a few friends discovered Ninety Percent Springs. Emma was my great grandmother.