The town of Malad got its name from the fact that when Donald McKenzie brought a party of trappers through the area between 1818 and 1821, they drank the river water and got sick. The Frenchmen named the river the Malad, meaning illness. The town was settled in 1862, after the passage of the Homestead Act. An important boost to Malad’s economy was the fact that stage lines and freighters came through the valley on their way to the mines in Montana on what was known as the Gold Road.
This page lists historic sites in Oneida County. A walking and driving tour of local historic buildings is available at tourist sites in Malad.