American Success Stories


At the age of 14, John Simplot dropped out of school and ran away from home. That happens a lot and, typically, the end of the story is a sad one; not so for John Simplot. This was the early 1920s and America was then, as it is now, the “Land of Opportunity,” but only if you have the right combination of guts and luck; the boy John Simplot had both. John happened upon a farmer who, for whatever personal reasons, was a borderline alcoholic and who’s farm was suffering as a result. John took the reigns and learned what he could from his benefactor — in particular, he learned how to grow great potatoes. He also learned to love his hometown of Boise Idaho.

Eighty-four years later, at the end of 2006, John Simplot and his family took their place as the 278th richest family in the world with a worth of $3.2 billion. You may have never heard of John Simplot or known that he was “The Potato King” but it’s almost certain that you’ve eaten his potatoes. Approximately half of the millions of pounds of french fries sold by McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC each year are purchased from the Simplot Corporation.

Idaho is, of course part of that slice of America that we consider the Heartland of America and John Simplot’s beloved Boise is Idaho’s capital. What he loves about it is clear to those who live there and those who visit get a taste that they must like, evidenced by the state’s population growth, currently the third fastest growing state in population in the country. Wide open and beautiful spaces, a great economy, all the cultural events and attractions you could ask for and, the biggest attraction to some people: it’s nothing like New York City or Los Angeles.

Besides John Simplot (at least NOW you’ve heard of him) some American success stories that originated in Iowa are the stories of: the explorers Lewis and Clark; the author of Annis, Vardis Fisher, the baseball great, Harmon Killebrew; the poet, Ezra Pound and the very famous actress/celebrity Lana Turner.

Read more about it!

Idaho Facts: Idaho by

Boise Facts: Key to the City’s page for Boise

This post is sponsored by the Boise Homes Guide: Boise homes

This post is part of what will be an ongoing series promoting my favorite subject: “This Great U.S.A.”


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