In 1879 Oregon Trail pioneers Milford and Mattie Givens discovered and fell in love with the hot springs area that today bears their name. The uncertain promise of the trail ahead proved poor competition for the Idaho site, with its abundance of fish and land animals for sustenance, and naturally hot water to simplify and enhance life. Oregon dreams were exchanged for Idaho reality as the Givens put down roots in this beautiful Owyhee County setting.
With the help of Milford and Mattie's four sons - Berry, Granville, Guy and Jess - a bath-house was built in the early 1900's. That structure included private rooms with soaking tubs.
In 1903 a hotel was built to accommodate the ever-increasing number of guests. An oasis in the desert, the hotel boasted a restaurant, ice cream parlor, and picnic grounds shaded with poplar and fruit trees. Later refinements included a barbershop and post office.
The Givens Hot Springs School, established in 1907, provided an education for the Givens and neighboring children. It also contributed to the Givens' history in a personal way, as two of the sons married girls hired to teach there.
Many came to the Springs to "take the cure". Among them were Silver City miners who benefited from arthritis therapy and respite from work in the mines. Other Oregon-bound pioneers stopped, enjoyed, then traveled on. Between 1900 and 1940 the Springs' popularity spread and attracted bathers from Nampa, Caldwell, Boise and other surrounding towns.
On January 1, 1939 the hotel was completely destroyed by fire. It was never rebuilt.
The current poolhouse, which replaced the picturesque but deteriorating 1903 structure, was built in 1952 by the Jensen family, who purchased the Springs from the Givens in 1946. The Springs returned to the Givens family when Liz and Virg Cuff acquired it from the Jensens in 1983. They ran it until 1991, when Steve and Nadine acquired it from them. Both Liz and Steve are great-grandchildren of Milford and Mattie Givens.
A celebration was held September 9, 2006 to mark the 125th Anniversary of Givens Hot Springs.