Eight miles west of Idahos capital city, Boise, the first settlers in what became Meridian found only arid land, sagebrush, and jackrabbits. The lone tree in the area was another 8 miles west in what became Nampa. Originally called Hunter, after a railroad superintendent, Meridian was initially a railway postal drop where workers tossed and hooked mailbags as the train passed through before the arrival of passenger service. By 1893, residents called the village Meridian, after the north-south prime meridian running through Meridian Road. In 1903, the village incorporated but still had a population of only a few hundred with grocery and harness shops and more churches than saloons. Village merchants and residents experienced orchard and dairy/creamery eras that ended in, respectively, the 1940s and 1970. Meridian became a city in the 1940s but 50 years later had a population of only 10,000. That number quadrupled over the next decade and today has nearly doubled again to around 80,000, as Meridian has evolved into the transportation and commercial hub of the Treasure Valley, especially in electronics and health care.