Princeton Rural Community
A Brief History
The site of the first Princeton post office was about one and a half miles north of the present junction of The Narrows and Diamond roads off Highway 78 and was established October 15, 1910 with David Williams as the first postmaster. The building was fashioned after the Lawen store, with the grocery and post office downstairs and living quarters in the upper story. There was also a blacksmith shop at the site. The post office building was destroyed by fire in about 1915. Soon afterward Richard Haines, who was then postmaster, constructed a one-story building at the Narrows-Diamond Junction for a grocery store and post office. He operated the business until 1918, when he sold out and moved to Middleton, Idaho.
The next Princeton post office was located about three miles southeast of Haines’ store, in the home of Barney and Edith Graft Kobler, who was the postmistress. In the late 1920’s, the Koblers got into a row with a stage driver. Banty Nelson shot Barney Kobler in the fracas, and Edith gave up her job as postmistress.
The post office was once again moved, this time just a quarter of a mile west to the residence of George Christopher, who was appointed postmaster. The Princeton post office remained at this location until 1953 when it was moved north about three miles after the route of Highway 78 was changed. Since that time the post office, has remained at the same site.
After Richard Haines left Harney County in 1918, his store building was converted into a one-room school with modest living quarters for the teacher. School was held in this building until 1928, when the state demanded a more central location. A cabin was moved in about a mile to the southwest for the school while the store building continued to be the teacher’s residence. The Princeton school was discontinued in 1932.
When Harney Electric Cooperative brought electricity to the rural area in 1957, the Princeton community was gradually transformed from an area of dry-land ranches and sagebrush to a region of productive irrigated grain and alfalfa fields.
The unincorporated community of Princeton has a zoning designation of Rural Commercial Area (RCA). The zoning for this community provides for a multitude of uses although space may be limited.