(Editorial Note: Part 119 of a series of further development in the early days that impacted the settlement of Franklin County. Sources: The Early History of Fairview, Idaho 1867-1967, compiled by LuAnn Seamons; Article submitted by daughter Laura Cafferty.)
The early histories of Fairview residents refer to activities taking place in a structure they called Cafferty Hall. It was used for basketball, both as a place for practice and competition against other area teams. Fairview village was known in the local sports world as generally having a crack team, both in basketball and baseball with one generation following another through those years. All ages gathered at Cafferty Hall for dances that went on into the wee hours of the coming day. Turned over benches improvised to be cradles for the youngest attendees.
The man who built Cafferty Hall was Furman George Cafferty. He had come to this part of the country in his early 20s. Cafferty was born in Broome County, New York, in 1851, a son of George and Emily Decker Cafferty. His father was a prosperous farmer back east and had large interest in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Ancestors on both of the Cafferty and the Decker family lines came to America during the colonial years.
Furman worked in both farming and railroading after he had completed his education. In the year 1872 he set out for the west.
He got as far as Chicago and spent some time being employed in the area around Aurora, IL, before moving on. His plan was to go to Corine, UT, which was a center for shipping and railroad work in those years. He became ill in Omaha, NE and found himself in Council Bluffs while recovering his health sufficiently before continuing his journey.
Corine was a shipping point of some importance for freighting to Montana and other areas of the northwest. There was a need to supply the mines that were recently discovered. The railroad, just completed with the Golden Spike to span the continent was nearby and supplies could travel by rail to that point. Cafferty became a freighter, hauling between Corine and Helena, MT. His next employment was that of a brakeman for the Central Pacific Railroad. Due to an accident while a brakemen, Cafferty had to return to New York for treatment and time to heal. He didn’t return to the west until 1878,
During the summer of 1877 he had married a young lady, also from Broome County, Angeline Ardell Crum. In the spring of 1879, Furman and Annie settled on a ranch in Fairview, thought to be in Utah, near his brother George. He followed the example set by his father, becoming ”one of the progressive, enterprising and farseeing men of the community and was esteemed as such.”
In Fairview the school and church houses were the buildings used for dancing. After the rock church was built in early 1880, Cafferty built a dance hall on his property. It was much larger than the existing public buildings. Cafferty was not a member of the LDS faith and his hall was open to all and it was permissible to bring beer or whiskey to the hall and dance as they pleased. However, the hall was not too successful. Business being slow, Cafferty eventually attended one of the church dances.
Fairview resident Evalyn Griffeth once stated: “I remember the first time we danced at Cafferty Hall. We were having a masquerade dance at the church and it was so crowded we could hardly dance. Mr. Cafferty came to our dance, went to the bishop and invited us down to his hall to finish out the dance. When it was announced, we all paraded down to the hall. There was room for all of us to dance, it was much better. We danced there after that. The Church rented the hall at first, and in later years, purchased the hall.”
It was a win-win situation for all concerned. Cafferty also owned the land that the village used as a public square. It was later purchased by Bishop Herman Hyde. The dance hall was used for many years for every kind of recreation until 1936, and was later known as the Fairview Opera House.
The Caffertys raised a family of five children in Fairview. Furman Cafferty passed away May 27, 1907, and is buried in the Fairview Cemetery. Mrs. Cafferty stayed on their ranch which was operated by two of their sons, until her death in 1933.