Weiser is a city in the rural western part of the U.S. state of Idaho and the county seat of Washington County. With its mild climate, the city supports farm, orchard, and livestock endeavors in the vicinity. The city sits at the confluence of the Weiser River with the great Snake River, which marks the border with Oregon. The population was 5,507 at the 2010 census. Locals pronounce the city's name as "Wee-zer."
The city was named after the nearby Weiser River, but exactly who that was named for is not precisely known. In one version it is for Peter M. Weiser, a soldier and member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806. Another has it for Jacob Weiser, a trapper-turned-miner who struck it rich in Baboon Gulch in the Florence Basin of Idaho in 1861. William Logan and his wife settled in the vicinity of Weiser in 1863 building a roadhouse in anticipation of the opening of Olds Ferry west of them on the Snake River across from Farewell Bend. In 1863, Reuben Olds acquired a franchise from the Territorial Legislature and began operating Olds Ferry. Olds ferry business did well (as did Logan's) as it diverted much of the traffic from the old Snake River crossing point at Old Fort Boise. Increasing settlement on the Weiser River valley increased Weiser’s population. A post office was established in 1866 as Weiser Ranch. In 1871, it was renamed Weiser.
Weiser reached its height of prosperity when a railroad way station was established and it became a transportation hub for travelers. Its history is well represented by the great number of original buildings from the 1890s and early 1900s that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
During the 1890s, the city had pretensions of becoming a major regional market and transportation center. The Idaho Northern Railroad was built up the Weiser River with the intention of reaching Lewiston and river transportation to the ocean. The dream ended among the lumber mills of central Idaho almost at the community of Meadows... not needing to actually go past the stock loading and lumber ponds outside the village, the terminus station was built there and a new city, New Meadows, came into being. Likewise the Union Pacific, after taking over the Oregon Short Line chose not to locate its major section yards in the flats west of Weiser—probably due to inflated prices asked by land speculators—and built at Huntington, Oregon at the western edge of the Snake River valley.
Legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson played semi-pro baseball for the Weiser Senators as a teenager in 1906-1907. After high school in Fullerton, California, the "Big Train" was lured to Weiser to play baseball and work for the local telephone company. While in Weiser, he once pitched 84 consecutive scoreless innings. His skills attracted a scout from the Washington Nationals (later Senators) and in July 1907 he departed Idaho for the major leagues at age nineteen.