The first few winters in Rexburg were hard, but despite this homesteaders still flocked to this upper valley. Pioneer homes showed a determination bent on permanency.

William F. Rigby, a veteran sawmill operator, was responsible for introducing saw lumber into Rexburg. During the summer of 1883, he operated his mill in Beaver Canyon. Shortly after this, he purchased another mill located in Beaver Canyon from William F. VanNoy and company, dismantled it and transported it by ox team to Rexburg.

During the summer of 1883, outlaws operated a rustling operation and had their hideout on the east side of the South Butte from which they could view much of the countryside. They hid their livestock on the islands in the Snake River and then moved them out and sold them.

The valley population increased considerably and the narrow gauge Utah Northern Railroad had much to do with the rapid development of the area from the settlements’ founding. However, the railroad didn’t actually reach Rexburg on a branch line until late 1899. The first depot was destroyed by an arson-caused fire in 1909 but a new one was built soon after.

Travelers would often use the railroad to travel as far as Market Lake (now Roberts) or Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls) and then continue the journey to Rexburg by a slower means.

Ditch and canal work brought much needed irrigation water to the semi-arid desert and bench lands began in 1883. The Rexburg Irrigation Company was organized in 1884 and by 1900 there were 97 canals in the area.

The Rexburg area residents opened the first school November 12, 1888 and called it the Bannock Stake Academy. In 1903 the Spori Building was completed and named after Jacob Spori who was the first Principal of Bannock Stake Academy. In 1915 college courses were added to the curriculum making Ricks Academy the first Junior College in the Intermountain Region. In 2001 the college was upgraded to a four year school under the name of BYU-Idaho, and beginning with the fall semester, students were able to take upper-division courses toward bachelor’s degrees. Educational achievements are continually being accomplished in Rexburg and surrounding areas.

Dry farming began in 1898 when Albert Luthy managed a rather small yield of 13 bushels of grain. The harvest was so small his neighbors milled it for no charge. However, by 1905 dry farming was a proven and profitable endeavor.

As the village of Rexburg grew the social activities became more varied. A dramatic association formed and theatrical productions were presented for entertainment of the settlers. Henry Flamm began an opera house in the upstairs halls of his building downtown. As Rexburg grew into a town many other refinements were woven into the fabric of everyday life over a period of time.

In 1904 the Rexburg Banking Company was organized and the 1st National Bank was opened.