The city of Rexburg was founded in March 1883 when an intrepid group of pioneers decided to settle along the banks of the Teton River. They had been sent by church leaders in Salt Lake City, under the direction of Thomas E. Ricks, to settle the Upper Snake River Valley. The new community, named Rexburg after their leader (Ricks being German for Rex or King) quickly attracted men and women eager to bring industry and civilization to the West. By the time Idaho entered the Union as the 43rd state in 1890, Rexburg was the second largest city in the state.
The city fathers recognized education and commerce as essential ingredients to building a strong, family centered community. Before the end of their first year in the valley, while setting out to cultivate and irrigate the semiarid land, the city fathers found time to organize Bannock Stake Academy the first primary school in the area. In 1888, just five years after its initial settlement, civic and church leaders founded Ricks Academy, eventually becoming Ricks College (the largest private junior college in the US) and later (2001) Brigham Young University-Idaho, a four year liberal arts college.
Brigham Young University-Idaho is one of the fastest growing universities in the entire country. It attracts talented students from around the world to study, and this diversity adds to Rexburg’s culture. The University’s unique three-track system allows more students to attend the University while Rexburg benefits from the yearlong presence of the students. Student population for each track is nearing 15,000 a semester.
In addition to higher education, Rexburg boasts excellent elementary and high schools. Madison High School recently moved to brand new facilities; two new elementary schools Burton, and South Fork Elementaries have increased total student capacity for Rexburg by 800 students. With a student to teacher ratio of 15:1 Rexburg is an ideal location to raise a family.
Set within an hours drive of two major National Parks, Yellowstone and Teton, Rexburg’s fishing, hunting, camping and outdoor recreation activities are year round. St. Anthony Sand dues are a nationally recognized, year round destination for off road enthusiasts.
As Rexburg enters the second decade of the twenty first century it is uniquely placed to take advantage of its location, people and limitless potential. Its location near interstate 15 and US Highways 20 and 33 make it a gateway to Jackson Hole, WY; Butte, MT; Sun Valley Idaho; and communities in between. Its educated workforce is willing and able to meet the expectations and challenges of an increasingly globalized marketplace.