Idaho Falls - City of Destiny

Appendix 2
Idaho Falls History
Chronology by Decades
Bonneville Historical Society
Mary Jane Fritzen

Before 1891

Agriculture and Irrigation

1874. Cattle ranchers Orville Buck and George Heath harvested grain and claimed irrigation water rights in Willow Creek.

1879. John C. Anderson launched an irrigation project by hiring surveyor J. H. Martineau to stake out a canal from Snake River.

1880. Anderson Brothers, doing business as Snake River Water Company, negotiated with George and Robert Smith for canal site for Anderson Canal.

1883. Snake River Valley became a farming community; Crops used at home rather than exported.

1884. Homesteaders organized Eagle Rock and Willow Creek Canal Company.

1886. Maclean Gold Mining Company filed on water and placer mining claims and dug canal close to west side of river near Eagle Rock. In 1887 Mr. Porter, a Denver financier, bought the mortgage.

1887. Farmers had begun marketing their crops.

1887. Snake River Water Company stockholders sold their canal and water rights to Eagle Rock and Willow Creek Canal Company.

1887. Second annual Fair at Eagle Rock in September.

1887-88. Eagle Rock Brewery supplied beer locally and shipped it out.

1888. Farmers planted small acreages of potatoes.

1889. Two-thousand bushels of barley shipped into Eagle Rock by Eagle Rock Brewery.

1890. City businessmen and other financial backers incorporated the Idaho Canal Company.

Arts and Music

1883. First music store opened in Eagle Rock by Alma Marker, a violinist. Sarah Murphy Crow brought first piano and became a music teacher. Editor Wheeler wrote: "Eale Rock has four organs, five pianos, one cornet band of 12 pieces, besides violins and accordions."

1885. Ad in Register: "Eagle Rock Silver Cornet and String Band," who are prepared to furnish music.


1865. Anderson Brothers Bank opened. A private bank, it was the fourth bank in the state.

1885. Bank of Eagle Rock, a private bank, operated until it was closed in 1890.

1890. Farmers Mortgage bank opened in Eagle Rock, and closed in 1891.


1865. J. M. "Matt" Taylor built a ferry across the river, and a bridge of timbers. It was damaged in 1867, but soon repaired. (He collected tolls from it until 1889.)

1872. First crossing used by pioneers at location of present Sportsmen's Park.

1880s. After the Narrow Gauge Railroad came to town in 1879, a steel railroad bridge was built about 50 yards to the south of the Taylor bridge.

1889. Commissioners discussed building a bridge at Eagle Rock and over the North Fork. The Taylor bridge was declared a public highway in April, but later that year it was declared unfit for use and condemned.

1890. W. W. Keefer was hired and built masonry piers alongside of the Taylor Bridge for a steel bridge replacement. It remained until 1907.


1889. The old Grist Mill on the west bank of the Snake River used wood as fuel to generate steam to turn the mill wheels in its process of flour making, and furnished a market for cedar wood. Little money was in circulation, and much of the wood was traded for flour; a family's flour could be traded for other necessities.

1890. G. G. Wright and Mr. Fanning purchased flour mill on west bank of river, south of railroad bridge.

1890. Early businesses included these and others: Stores -- ZCMI (Wheeler, Glenn, Johannsen), Groceries (Eastman, Brunt), Drug store (Elg), Music and books (Alma Marker and Lewis brothers); Idaho Falls MIlling Company; Lodging: Brooks Hotel (Burgess House); Saloon (Chamberlain).

Early Churches

Note: Early churches played an important part in the development of the western settlement and laid the foundation for the strong religious structure of the city.

1879. Early L.D.S. settlers, some of whom had previously colonized Fort Lemhi, came. Many worked for the railroad, and many settled in the nearby rural communities.

1881. First Episcopal services held in Eagle Rock in home of James Richie, conducted by Rt. Rev. Tuttle.

1882. First Methodist sermon preached by Rev. F. A. Riggins, superintendent of Montana Mission, and the church organized here in fall, 1883.

1882. Rebecca Mitchell, Baptist missionary, held Sunday School June 11. Christians of various denominations attended this first Sunday School until their congregations became organized.

1883. Eagle Rock L.D.S. branch was begun.

1884. First Baptist Church began officially in a building erected by Rebecca Mitchell on corner of Eastern Ave. and Ash St.

1885. Eagle Rock L.D.S. meetinghouse built near present Temple site.

1885. Baptist congregation called by peal of 400 pound bell purchased by the congregation.

1886. Trinity United Methodist Church organized April 27, with pastor, Rev. J. P. Morris.

1886. James Thomas named first bishop, Eagle Rock L.D.S. First Ward.

1890. First Catholic services held in Eagle Rock.

Clubs and Fraternal Organizations

1884. Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) met on Eagle Rock Street.

1885. WCTU built small library in rented hall on Eagle Rock Street.

1886. First two lodges formed in village: Masonic Lodge and Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Eagle Rock Post Office

1866. Mail service established with a stage station postmarked Eagle Rock, which was then in Oneida County. First postmaster, Robert Anderson.

1867. Second postmaster was W. F. Bartlett.

1868. Third postmaster was John Lauder, who served only 60 days then moved to Market Lake. The next postmaster John Adams moved the post office from Eagle Rock to Market Lake for a year and a half.

1869. Post office moved back to Eagle Rock by postmaster Israel Heald. Assistant postmaster was Matt Taylor. Heald served 11 years.

1880. John C. Anderson appointed postmaster; served eight years.

1890. Post Office name changed from Eagle Rock to Idaho Falls, Oct. 10, 1890. Postmaster was William E. Wheeler, newspaper publisher.

Eagle Rock Village

1863. Henry Plummer elected Sheriff.

1885. Joseph A. Clark and family moved to village. Later he became first mayor, and his sons later mayors.

1885. Fire burned out nearly all frame shacks on Eagle Rock Street. Proceeds from a New Year's Eve dance were used to buy a hand hose cart with 300 feet of hose. Railroad company agreed to install three hose plugs to supply water for fire protection. First fire station located at Broadway and Capital. It was owned by the volunteer organization.

1886. Rose-Hill burials found in obituaries.


1865. Passengers could rest and eat at the stage station, a two-room log cabin operated by Anderson brothers.

1886. Burgess House built by George Heath on Eagle Rock Street and So. Capital Ave., later called Brooks Hotel.

1880s. Brooks Hotel and Dick Chamberlaine's saloon served for lodging.


1883. Rebecca Mitchell opened small reading room in basement of Baptist Church.


1880. William E. Wheeler began the Blackfoot Register.

1884. Wheeler moved his newspaper to Eagle Rock, and changed its name to Idaho Register. Offices on Capital and Cliff St.

Parks and Recreation

1872. Yellowstone Park opened to the public.

1882. John Lingren bought land on Willow Creek, and planted trees and a nursery (future Highland Park).

1886. C. C. Tautphaus moved to land just south of Eagle Rock.


1874. John Wright, a white child, born at Eagle Rock.

1880. Eagle Rock and Willow Creek precinct: 249.

1882. Estimate: 670

1883. Estimate: 550

1884. Ida Silfver Beale born in area surrounding Eagle Rock; Hattie Smith Wilson born in Eagle Rock proper.

1885. Estimate: 1500

1890. Estimate: 472


1879. Railroad first came to Eagle Rock. Utah and Northern built narrow gauge line from Ogden, Utah, to mining areas in Montana.

1880. Railroad began building their main shops in Eagle Rock.

1881. Railroad built first passenger station in Idaho Falls, north of Eagle Rock Street, between Capital Ave. and Chamberlain Ave.

1887. Shops moved from Eagle Rock to Pocatello.

1887. On July 24, entire 262 mile Utah and Northern line from Pocatello to Butte was changed from narrow gauge to standard gauge, with 400 extra men hired to perform the job in one day.

1887. Union Pacific Railway planned to build a road to National Park during coming year; expected to go from Eagle Rock.


1879. Charles Swipe taught school in a railroad car at Eagle Rock during the early months of 1879. His pupils were from the families who traveled with the Utah and Northern Railroad workers. The bridge- building crew numbered 75 men, and had a long stay at Eagle Rock until the bridge over Snake River was completed in June, 1879. (Edith Lovell)

1882. Rebecca Mitchell started school in an abandoned shanty, formerly a saloon in Eagle Rock. She used it also as living quarters and for Sunday School. She went from there to Reesor House.

1882. In April, Eagle Rock School District was formed by petition and named School District #9, Oneida County, which included practically all the Snake River Valley.

1882. In December a one-room public school was built south of what is now known as Bonneville Museum on Eastern Avenue and Elm Street.

1884. The town was platted and found the one-room school to be located in the middle of Elm Street. Ground embracing Elm Street, Walnut Street, Water Avenue and Ridge Avenue was purchased and the building moved to this site and another room added. It became known as Central School.

1885. First school board elected.

1888. C. E. Arney became acting Superintendent of the new school system and school records were first kept this year.

1887. C. B. Wheeler of Bingham County introduced a bill in territorial legislature to establish a university at Eagle Rock. Although that bill was amended and failed, two years later Moscow was chosen as the site.


1865. State capital moved to Boise in May.

1889. The Idaho Constitution to be adopted on Nov. 5.

1890. July 4--Idaho, the 43rd state! First governor, George L. Shoup.


Agriculture and Irrigation

1892. The first steam thresher engine arrived in Idaho Falls.

1893. Great Western Canal Company acquired Porter Canal holdings.

1888. Woodville Canal developed between 1888 and 1893.

1894. New Sweden settlers began to arrive. The Swedes gradually assumed ownership and management of the Great Western Canal Company and its smaller units.

1895. After low water in 1894, irrigators incorporated the Great Feeder Canal Company to divert water into the Dry Bed. It was opened with a big celebration, which touted the headgates as the largest in the world.

1896. Idaho Canal Company with headquarters at Idaho Falls was one of strongest companies in Idaho. F. W. Smith was president and A. V. Scott, secretary.

1897. Bingham County had over 500 miles of completed irrigating canals.

1900. Stockholders of the two big canal companies near Idaho Falls built a low dam to divert a steady supply of water to the Idaho Canal on the east and the Great Western on the west. (This rock dam was left in place when a reenforced concrete dam was built at the site in 1912.)

Arts and Music

1893. Highland Park provided the first bandstand and dance pavillion in town.


1892. Bank of Idaho Falls was a private bank; it was chartered as American National Bank in 1903.

1898. Anderson Brothers Bank chartered by state of Idaho.

1900. State Bank opened; it was chartered in 1903. It closed in 1921.


1893. New buildings: Clark and Fanning building under construction. Berry building neared completion.

1896. Who they were: Business and professional men of Idaho Falls: C. W. and M. Co., G. G. Wright, manager; Iona Mercantile, James E. Steele, manager; Anderson Brothers, oldest business house in Idaho Falls; Z.C.M.I., Joseph A. Smith, manager; Clark and Fanning, N.H. Clark and E. Fanning, partners.

1897. Coal discovered 22 miles east of Idaho Falls.

1900. Dinwoodey Furniture organized in Idaho Falls.


1891. First Presbyterian church in city organized.

1892. Presbyterian church building erected on corner of A street and Shoup Ave.

1895. Cornerstone laid for Methodist Church.

1895. New L.D.S. chapel built at Eagle Rock.

1895. First St. John's Episcopal Church, a red brick chapel, built at corner of Park Ave. and "A" St. Earlier meetings held in old frame school near Water Ave.

1895. Swedish families started a Swedish language church in New Sweden. (It became the Swedish Mission Church.)

1896. Seventh Day Adventist members met in homes. Later they met in an old rock building on Shoup Ave. south of B Street.

1897. Lots for new Catholic Church on Eastern Ave. donated by Anderson Brothers Bank. Church completed in 1900. Mass first said by the Rev. Father Thomas Mooney.

1898. Salvation Army began in Idaho Falls.

1899. Swedish settlers organized Swedish Evangelical Mission Church; first meetings held on Western Ave. in old LDS church building purchased and moved to that location.

1900. Christian Science met in homes.

Clubs and Lodges

1886. Eagle Rock Lodge #19, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho, received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Idaho. First meetings were held that year in the Tautphaus Building on Railroad Avenue between Capital and Chamberlain.

1892. Big crowd attended laying of cornerstone of Odd Fellows Home.

1897. Lily Rebekah Lodge chartered as auxiliary of IOOF (Odd Fellows).

1898. Village Improvement Society founded. It functioned for about 20 years, until officers felt City Council could take over civic duties.

1899. Modern Woodmen of America organized.

1900. Brotherhood of American Yeomen organized.


1892. Scott Hotel opened on Lava Stret in January, but destroyed by fire in August. So Scotts took over management of Graehl Hotel on Broadway. (It became Porter Hotel in 1901.)

Idaho Falls, City

Note: All of the mayors were prominently identified with the growth and development of the city and were vitally interested in civic affairs, and their leadership helped to spur the city along and make it one of the most progressive communities in the Gem State. (Post Register, July 3, 1976, by Joe Marker)

1891. Jan. 2: Idaho Falls Town Company purchased old townsite of Eagle Rock and several new large tracts of land. They changed the name to Idaho Falls, which they called "The City of Destiny." Name changed officially from Eagle Rock to Idaho Falls, Aug. 26.

1891. By this date Rose Hill Cemetery was in use.

1891. Idaho Falls, one of several cities with preferred claims to location of Agricultural and Mechanical College about to be founded by the state.

1892. City got the only Weather Bureau in Idaho.

1895. Nathan H. Clark was first village board chairman, beginning March 9. He was followed the next month, April 15, by Robert Anderson.

1895. Village had a Village Engineer.

1895. Village Board elected W. G. Wllis as first "Road Overseer." Mr. Keefer was awarded first contract for sidewalk, street and alley crossings, of lumber.

1897. Thomas B. Shannon became village board chairman April 13. He was followed by George Chapin on April 12, 1898.

1896. Bond elections held in 1896 and 1898 to finance construction of electric plant were defeated.

1899. Joseph A. Clark, father of Nathan Clark, became village board chairman, April 12.

1899. Eagle Rock Water Works sold to Idaho Falls by W. H.B. Crow, owner of the first water system.

1900. Idaho Falls became a city of the second class with city councilmen, two being elected from each of the city's wards. Citizens also elected by ballot a city clerk and a city treasurer. Clark, who operated a mercantile store, was elected with 269 votes, having defeated Frank M. Bybee, a grocery store operator, who garned 225 votes. Edward J. Wilkinson was elected city clerk, and Emma Hurst city treasurer. City council elected from First Ward were William James Thomas and W. A. Tyler. In the Second Ward, Louis Elg and Christian Plen. From Third Ward, Frank T. Martin and James Wierman. C. D. Chapin was elected city engineer; Carlyle L. Pelot, police judge. They were sworn in April 13.

1900. Bond election passed to construct municipal power plant. It was built at 10th St. and So. Boulevard. City began operation 22 Oct. As the only demand was for lights, it was run only in the evenings.

1900. By this year Rose Hill Cemetery was in use. Earlier, some burials had been just east of the river in the early Eagle Rock village (where Electric Department was built after urban renewal).


1893. Highland Park first acquired by a donation from John Lingren.

Police Department

1895. D. H. Cline appointed Village Marshall.


1890. Sam Dennis and R. C. Bonney started The Times. After a few years it was taken over by George Chapin. In the meantime M. B. Yeaman came to town and became a partner with Wheeler in the Register.


1900. 1,262

Postal Service

1894. E. P. Coltman, a railroad man, became postmaster.

1897. Ruel Rounds named postmaster.


1892. A new Central School was built of brick with eight rooms. The door opening faced out on Water Avenue.

1894. The first independent school district of this area, Idaho Falls No. 1, was formed and a high school was established. The first graduation was in 1899, earliest in the Upper Snake River valley.

1895. A school was founded in New Sweden area and held in the Swedish Mission Church about three-fourth mile south of present New Sweden School building. In 1901 a one-room school was built on present school site.

1895. Election to vote on a property tax of six mills for school district.

1897. Public school opened with enrollment of 260 pupils.

1899. York School was established as a one-room building and later another room was added. In 1938 the present brick building was built. (It closed in 1970 as a public school and was used for Special Education classes and then became a school for migrant children.)

Sports and Recreation

1894. Heise Hot Springs founded as a health resort.

1895. High School boys organized first basketball team.

State and Federal Government

1891. U. S. President Harrison visited newest state. Syringa selected on Arbor Day as state flower.

1893. Governor of Idaho visited Idaho Falls, and showed interest in experimental station and irrigation.

1900. Theodore Roosevelt delivered short address to residents of Idaho Falls.

Telephone Service

1894. Project underway to build telephone line from Idaho Falls to St. Anthony, via Lewisville, Menan, Labelle and Rexburg.

1899. First service to city; exchange at 246 Broadway, above Bybee Grocery, with 21 telephone lines.


1894. Mew stage line between Idaho Falls and St. Anthony; to run daily stage and express line as well as a freight outfit.

1900. Nov. 9, Oregon Short Line built new railroad depot in Idaho Falls.

War Efforts

1898. War declared with Spain over Cuban question.


Agriculture and Irrigation

1901. Porter Dam built for Great Western System.

1901. Mayor Joseph A. Clark began plans for a canal to generate power for the town; it was built this year. [Note: The canal builders excavated past the present A. H. Bush school, across the railroad tracks and to the beginning of the present 1st Street. From there it was constructed southward to the present 9th Street. The broad expanse later became Boulevard down to Tenth Street. See also 1911 entry.] Here at the bottom of a slope, workers install a 125 horse-power generator, and the town is in the electrical power business.

1902. Farmers Progressive Canal Company organized in Idaho Falls.

1902. Anderson Dam built, a low retaining dam across the river.

1903. Sugar Bounty bill passed Senate, assuring that a factory will be built near Idaho Falls.

1903. Idaho Sugar Company formed by LDS Church and some Idahoans, and factory built at Lincoln, just east of Idaho Falls. (Factory operated 75 years.)

1904. Osgood Project development begun on west side.

1905. Big brewery plant in operation in Idaho Falls.

1905. Nov. 9--Big dam across main channel of Snake River started, to be finished within a month.

1906. Idaho Potato Growers Association formed.

1909. Oct. 23--From 10 to 20 carloads of potatoes were being loaded out every day. All crops in Upper Snake River Valley averaging high.

1909. Three sugar factories of Upper Snake River valley to pay estimated one million dollars for beets.

1910. About 10,000 carloads of potatoes shipped a year from Idaho Falls district, which bore enviable reputation of producing best grown potatoes.

Arts and Entertainment

1907. First motion picture came to city.


1903. Farmers State Bank opened; in 1906 it merged with State Bank.

1903. American National Bank opened. (It was absorbed in Idaho First National Bank in 1953.)

1907. Farmers and Merchants Bank opened with J. L. Milner, president. It merged with Idaho Falls National Bank in 1922.


1907. Steel bridge erected at Broadway. Its foundation remained in place until the bulb turbine project in 1981. The Keefer bridge was moved to Woodville.


1901. Pedersen Cleaners and Tailors established.

1902. Old Faithful soft drink bottling established on Maple St.

1902. Cooperative Wagon and Machine Company and Consolidated Implement company were consolidated under title of Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company, in Idaho Falls.

1903. Fire destroyed row of frame buildings of old part of city, and threatened south side of railroad.

1904. Crow and Champion building on corner of Broadway and Shoup neared completion.

1904. Fire destroyed 20 business houses in the square north of Broadway and from Park Ave. to the river.

1905. New land firm established by name of Holden, Holden & Holden; all brothers and lawyers.

1907. City to have big pressed brick plant north of town on river.

1907. Porter Hotel completed; 30 new rooms added to old part.

1908. C.W.& M. Company to erect $18,000 structure on west side of river.

1909. Property on corner of Park Ave. and A Street to be improved by business block and office buildings.

1910. White Star Laundry opened by Toliver and Wilson.

1910. Idaho Power and Transportation Company organized.

Chamber of Commerce

1907. Club of Commerce formed to promote city business and environment.


1901. Lutheran parsonage built, one of first houses east of tracks.

1903. Methodist Church dedicated, Elm and Water Streets.

1906. Swedish Evangelical Mission Church erects building at Sixth and Boulevard.

1909. New building for St. John's Episcopal Church constructed on Placer Ave. (It was replaced in 1960s by present building. The old rectory was moved and used by Speech and Hearing Center on Rollandet.)

1908. L. D. S. Bingham Stake headquarters moved to Idaho Falls; Heber C. Austin, president.

1909. Lutheran Rev. E. P. Meyer, who had served as visiting pastor since 1902, installed as Missionary Pastor to Idaho Falls and surrounding vicinity.

1910. L.D.S. Eagle Rock Ward renamed Idaho Falls Ward.

Clubs and Lodges

1902. Order of Eastern Star, Henrietta Chapter, formed as auxiliary of Masonic Lodge.

1902. Mrs. A. V. Scott was chairman of delegation at meeting of Federation of Women's Clubs at Los Angeles.

1903. Fraternal Order of Eagles instituted.

1908. Elks Lodge No. 1087 established.

1908. Woodmen of the World organized.

1909. Joe Hooker Post No. 34 Grand Army of Republic organized for Civil War veterans. (Disbanded in 1925.)

1909. Order of the Moose organized.


1901. Graehl renamed Porter Hotel by N. D. Porter, who managed it until 1930.

Idaho Falls, City

1901. Railroad and City jointly employed night police, and city hired day police.

1902. Bowen Curley, president of the American National Bank, was elected Mayor. Power Plant on Crow's Slough at Boulevard and Tenth Street was instigated during 1901.

1903. A. T. Shane, Mayor. During his administration downtown streets, Broadway and Park Ave., were paved.

1903. North Front Street renamed Broadway.

1905. City council declared its intention to create Local Improvement District (LID) #1 to macadamize the streets.

1905. City Council declared intentions to construct a sewer system. Drainage emptied into the Snake River.

1905. Idaho Falls Electric Power Company organized with $250,000 capital. Work to commence at once.

1906. Cement sidewalks work started in city. Soon all of Broadway to boast of new walks.

1907. Horse-drawn fire wagon purchased. Julius Marker was appointed driver, and later appointed as Fire Chief.

1908. Fire station was on Park Avenue.

1908. H. W. Kiefer donated 50 by 140 foot lot facing on Braodway for library site.

1909. E. P. Coltman became mayor. During his administration the second municipal power plant was begun. The dam was constructed by William Walker Keefer and his twin sons, Fred W. and Frank Keefer.

1909. Two men employed by city to man fire department. Fire station relocated on Park Ave.(where Kress would later build). Volunteers were called by ringing a large bell (now displayed at Museum).

1909. City asked Electric committee to secure a site on river for new plant location.

1910. Louis Elg, who operated a drug store on Eagle Rock Street, was elected Mayor. During his administration Tautphaus Park was opened. (See Parks.)


1905. Women's clubs began campaign to build a library.

1909. Carnegie board agreed to provide $15,000 for new library to be built.


1903. Dr. T. C. Willson received shipment of electrical medical instruments, to which a tiny electric lamp could be attached.

1905. Doctors Bridges and Larue received new auto, the first owned in Idaho Falls. It was a seven-horse- power Olds runabout.

1910. Dr. T. C. Willson and Dr. Thomas Bridges were practicing in Idaho Falls.

1910. Village Improvement Society moved early hospital on C St. to Elg Building, S.E. corner Eagle Rock and So. Capital Streets above Eagle Rock Drug. It would be known as the Doctors Coulthard and Cline Hospital, and later as the General Hospital.


1904. W. E. Wheeler moved newspaper offices to Capital and Broadway. Simplex typesetting machine installed.

1905. Idaho Falls Post was established.

Parks and Recreation

1904. Dirt hauled onto island for Riverside Park.

1909. Local Boosters organization bought 160 acres in southeast part of city. Site to be converted into city park, public amusement grounds, fair grounds race track.

1910. Tautphaus opened his park to public for Pioneer Day, July 25.

Postal Service

1901. Ed Winn appointed postmaster.

1908. A. T. Shane appointed postmaster.

1910. April 5--Post office to be moved; new building to be constructed on A Street.

1910. Oct. 21--Federal Building site selected, southwest corner of Park Ave. and C. Street.


1910 4,827


1900. Railroad line built to St. Anthony.

1901. Oregon Short Line built new station and facilities at 13th St. and Yellowstone Ave.

1905. Railroad extended from St. Anthony to West Yellowstone, 1905-1909.

1909. OSL built new bridge across river north of town. It was 480 feet long [and remains in use in 1991]. Arch also built over Porter Canal.

1910. OSL built new commodious depot at Cottage and C St. To the north of the depot an underpass was constructed for Birch Street. Lava rock pumphouse was built for the underpass. Freight depot a block to south also expanded.

1910. 1910-1911 year, railroad forwarded 2266 freight cars from Idaho Falls, including 523 carloads of potatoes and 484 carloads of cattle, as well as sugar, sugar beets, and wool. This increased by 63% the next year, 1911-12.


1903. A two-story annex was built on south side of original Central School, the main entrance still on Water Avenue. This building housed all 12 grades.

1907. Bejamin Crandall became first Superintendent of Central School, and served until 1916.

1908. Riverside School began, 1351 Idaho Street. At first four rooms were used; one outside latrine was built. Girls used it the first five minutes of recess and the boys the second five minutes.

State and Federal Government

1901. Pres. McKinley and vice president Roosevelt inaugurated in March. In September President McKinley died by assassin.

1902. William Jennings Bryan spoke in Idaho Falls.

1902. Idaho went Republican by 6000.


1901. First long distance line in city.

1910. City had 713 telephone lines.


1908-09. Dime theatre opened on Broadway.

1909. Scenic Theatre opened on Broadway, silent movies.


1910. Dad Clay opened first service garage. Soon thereafter he also sold Buick and Ford.


Agriculture and Irrigation

1911. Greatest wheat crop ever--over 70,000 bushels produced in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana.

1912. Reenforced concrete dam constructed behind 1900 rock dam.

1914. Five I. F. Businessmen launched Osgood Irrigation project. George Brunt, general manager.

1915. Idaho grain crop estimated worth over $40,000.000.

1919. Utah Idaho Sugar Company purchased Osgood tract and expanded it to 10,000 acres. They gradually sold the land to individual farmers.

1919. Bonneville county raised over two and one-half million dollars worth of wheat in 1918.

Arts and Entertainment

1911. Idaho Falls High School performed choral concert at Scenic Theatre.

1912. Music Club organized as a department of Woman's Club.

1915. Horace and Ella Chesbro moved to town and opened piano store.

1916. Music Club reorganized as a separate Club, then federated with National Music Clubs.

1919. Colonial Theatre, predecessor of Paramount, built on A Street; opened Nov. 4. One of best in state.


1909. Dad Clay built small auto shop.

1910. Day Clay built larger garage.

1914. S.S. Blair and Park Blair established Dodge auto agency.

1915. Automobiles first admitted to Yellowstone Park.


1911. First aviation activity in Idaho Falls area. Charles Willard assembled and flew his Curtis biplane from the fairgrounds (present Tautphaus Park).


1918. Idaho Falls National Bank opened; it was merged with Anderson Brothers Bank in 1927.

Bonneville County

1911. Bonneville County created Feb. 17 from Bingham County. Idaho Falls named county seat.

1911. Bonneville County's assessed valuation was $10,426,211.

1912. County commissioners purchased site for courthouse at end of C Street.

1919. Bonneville County prospered and had smallest indebtedness of any Idaho county. Voters passed $250,000 bond to build courthouse with jail in basement. Fisher and Aitkens hired as architects; Contracts awarded for construction.

1920. April 30. Court House bonds defeated by a three to one vote against raising $300,000 for court house.


1911. Rogers Brothers Seed Company first produced seeds at Idaho Falls.

1916. K. D. Rose came from New York as manager, Rogers Brothers Seed Co.

1916. Joy Drug store opened in Luxton building on Broadway.

Chamber of Commerce

1914. Club of Commerce planned street lighting for Broadway "to make it resemble the Great White Way of New York."

1919. Club of Commerce renamed Bonneville County Commercial Club.


1913. Groundbreaking for $25,000 L.D.S. Auditorium.

1913. Lutheran congregation organized with Rev. William Jaeger, using old Swedish Lutheran Church on alternate Sundays.

1915. L.D.S. Stake Tabernacle dedicated, E. St. and Capital Ave. Stake offices dedicated in 1920.

1916. Cornerstone of new Methodist church laid.

1916. First Christian church built on corner of Birch street and Boulevard. Formerly members had met in Star theatre and Gem State Business college.

1917. Christian Science reading room opened in a down town office.

1917. Trinity Methodist Church building dedicated Oct. 7.

1918. Site selected for new Presbyterian church, at corner of Ridge Avenue and Elm Street.

1919. Site for Holy Rosary Catholic church and school purchased. Rectory built on 8th Street in 1920.

1919. LDS Second Ward formed.

1920. New Presbyterian church dedicated in April.

Clubs and Lodges

1911. Rod and Gun Club formed.

1916. Knights of Columbus met on Broadway.


1914. Eleanor Hotel opened, corner Broadway and Yellowstone.

Idaho Falls, City

1911. Idaho Falls named Bonneville County seat.

1911. While Louis Elg was Mayor, Union Pacific Railroad opened its passenger depot at the east end of C Street March 2.

1911. Bowen Curley elected Mayor, April 21.

1911. First city power plant replaced by a new generator installed on river at Eagle Rock Street. Idaho Falls Canal was covered over and Boulevard created. (A small park on west side near intersection of 9th Street marks the site of the original generating plant.)

1912. City Plant put into commercial operation in May, just below Broadway Bridge. This replaced the original plant which was gradually dismantled in 1914-1915.

1912. City Council resolved to create a street LID for "Downtown."

1912. County board of commissioners bought property at head of C Street for court house.

1913. Barzilla Clark, Mayor. (He was son of Joseph.)

1913. Handsome new Carnegie library building to be built; fund of $15,000.

1915. George W. Edgington, Mayor.

1916. Horse-drawn fire vehicle replaced with motorized fire apparatus.

1917. Henry W. Kiefer, Mayor.

1918. Ralph A. Louis, Mayor.

1919. W. A. Bradbury, Mayor.


1914. Carnegie Library cornerstone laid.

1916. Library completed, corner of Eastern Ave. and Elm.

1917. Marion Orr became librarian (serving until 1954).

Medicine and Hospitals

1912. Odd Fellows Home utilized for General hospital.

1915. Drs. C. M. Cline and A. R. Soderquist built first hospital erected as a building, General Hospital on corner of Idaho Ave. and K Street. [It was maintained until 1923 when LDS Hospital opened.]

1916. Drs. J. O. Mellor and David McDonald built People's Hospital on E Street. [It closed in 1923.] Dr. H. D. Spencer bought Fuller hospital, built in 1912 on corner of Placer Ave. and Walnut Street. It became Spencer Hospital School of Nursing.


1920. The Times and The Register merged to become the Times-Register. In the meantime another publication had begun--a daily newspaper called The Post. Eventually the Times-Register went daily.

Parks and Recreation

1915. City purchased more lots from Lingren family for HIghland Park.

1918. City purchased land of Kate Curley Park, bordered by Emerson and Higbee Avenues and 9th and 10th Streets. It was completed in about 1914.

1919. Ball team bought ground adjoining Highland Park.

1919. City buys Highland park tract for $7200. Beautiful eight-acre tract for municipal recreation spot.


1914. Southern part of state attracting an average of 50 families monthly.

1918. Remarkable growth shown. City is third in state. Growth is caused by big productive territory surrounding city.

1920. 8,064

Postal Service

1914. Cornerstone laid for Federal Building, in which post office was to be located.

1918. W. J. Coltman became postmaster.


1911. Freight depot at Cottage Ave. and Broadway expanded to two stories. Train yard also improved.


1911. Riverside School was finished and dedicated, a two- story building. (It functioned as a school until destroyed by fire in 1967.)

1911. Payne Siding School, about four miles north of Idaho Falls on the west side of the river, was built to house the smaller children. It had proven too far to ride in a horse-drawn vehicle to attend Riverside School. It was closed in 1924, and then used as a farmer's granary for many years (and was still so used in 1991).

1911. In February, Eastside School, 324 East 14th Street, a two-story, eight-room stone building, was dedicated. (It was closed in 1967 and torn down about six years later.)

1912. Dewey School in District #34, about five miles south of town on what is known as York-Hitt Road, was built in early 1900s. The first eighth-graders graduated in 1912. It was a one-room brick building and another room was added in 1927. (It was closed in 1957 and because of "fee title" was torn down and in 1959 land reverted back to land owners.)

1912. Site selected for $100,000 high school building, to be built on a block bordered by Boulevard and Lee Ave. and 6th and 7th Streets.

1913. Eagle Rock Elementary School, located on So. Chamberlain Avenue, was built and dedicated in November. (It was closed in the fall of 1961; it was reopened in 1962-1963, with four selected teachers, trying out several new ideas with the overpopulated fifth grade area. The children were bussed in and the next year transferred to the new Bunker School. Eagle Rock Elementary was also used for Special Education; it was torn down in 1972, and ground bought by the Dariymen's Association.)

1914. Washington School was located just north of the present Country Club Golf Course on Canyon and St. Clair road. A one-room log cabin was built on a corner lot in the early 1900s. A small white frame one-room school was built in 1910 and replaced in 1914 by the brick building. This school had a teacherage, a residence provided for the teacher. (It closed in 1958 and as it was a "fee title," was torn down in 1959 and land returned to the owners.)

1915. Idaho Falls Central High School was built on 7th and Boulevard. It was finished in 1916. It was the city high school from 1916 until 1952. (From 1952 through 1973, Central housed various groups of students:

1952-1962. Central Intermediate with 5th and 6th graders.
1962-1964. Central Jr. High, housing 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th graders.
1964-1966. Housed 10th graders or sophomores.
1966-1973. Housed 7th, 8th, and 9th graders and known as Central Jr. HIgh.
On April 24, 1973, it caught fire and burned.)

1917. Superintendent Theodore B. Shank was hired, 1917- 1919.

1919. Raymond H. Snyder became superintendent. He remained until 1933 when he left to become president of Albion State Normal School.

1920. Emerson School built and dedicated Feb. 16. Later it became known as the "Little Building." Strangely, when this school opened its doors, attendance was by invitation. This was later changed.

Sports and Recreation

1920. Jack Dempsey comes to Idaho Falls to buy a ranch.

State and Federal Government

1911. Bonneville County carved from Bingham County. Harry Bucklin, sheriff.

1914. Cornerstone laid on new Federal Building.

1919. America was voted dry by required majority.

1920. Women's suffrage won, adding 26 million new voters.


1915. Orpheum Theatre.

1917-18. Colonial Threatre built.

Transportation and Communications

1912. Western Union Telegraph office to open here.

1914. Idaho Falls Yellowstone Highway to be official title of great new road system planned for the state, extending from Idaho Falls north through the valley to Yellowstone. Commission appropriated $18,000 to help build road.

1914. Audomobile dealership, Preston A. Blair Co., sold Dodge.

1916. Bonneville Auto Company opened Capital and A to sell Ford.

1917. E. A. Wackerli opened Gem State Auto Company to sell Plymouths, DeSotos and Hupmobiles. J. E. Browning opened Browning Auto Co. to sell Buick automobiles and General Motors trucks.

War Bonnet Roundup

1912. War Bonnet Roundup at Reno Park (Tautphaus Park). Rodeo was growing as an annual event.

1915. Last rodeo until after war.

1921. American Legion, Bonneville Post 56, first sponsored annual rodeo.

War Efforts

1916-18. Local Red Cross produced textile and knitted items for servicemen.

1916. June: Several thousand patriotic citizens of Idaho Falls assembled for purpose of recruiting local company for guard. About 100 left for Boise for final exams, then in July on to the border.

1917. Local Red Cross participated in national fund campaign.

1917. War resolution passed by Congress April 6.

1917. Dec. 28. 0peration of all railroads by government began at noon.

1918. Nov. 12. German government signed peace terms. President Wilson addressed congress in special session. Victory was complete.

1918. Idaho played big part in late war. Over 50 million dollars in securities and Red Cross; 25,000 men in service.

1918. Local county met Liberty bond issue.

Youth Programs

1913. Boy Scout Patrols organized in Episcopal Church.


Agriculture and Irrigation

1922. Idaho Falls flour mill destroyed by fire.

1925. Idaho Falls welcomed Secretary of Agriculture William M. Jardine, first native Idahoan on cabinet.

1926. Rogers Brothers Seed produced first successful commercial potato flour in U. S.

1928. Small town of Kelly, Wyo., wiped out when Gros Ventre dam, 150 miles N.E. of Idaho Falls gave way, letting 100,000 acre feet of water loose.


1929-30. City acquired first 200 acres at present airport site. It was leveled for landing strips. All equipment was horse-drawn. Claude Black, city engineer, supervised the construction.

1929. National Park Airways carried first passengers into this county airport.

Arts and Entertainment

1925. Chesbros organized bands in schools. Chesbros began wholesale business.

1927. A. L. Gifford employed as Idaho Falls School District music teacher. He became bandmaster for about 40 years.

1929. Joe George's new $150,000 cinema playhouse on Broadway between Shoup and Cottage avenue opened.

1929. Idaho Falls Colonial theatre joined Publix chain; changed name to Paramount.


1927. Idaho Falls National joined Anderson Brothers. Anderson Brothers Bank acquired by Eccles Browning. (In 1933 it became branch of First Security Bank of Idaho.)

1927. First Security Bank opened; it merged with First Security Bank of Idaho in 1933.

1933. Banks to join in script plan. Local banks continued business under presidential restrictions. Locally, deposits exceeded withdrawals.

Bonneville County

1921. Courthouse formally opened with ceremonies and tours.


1928. New Broadway concrete bridge, a beautiful $70,000 concrete structure, opened to traffic Nov. 26..

1930. Old Broadway Bridge moved to John's Hole site.


1928. KID, first radio, was started.


1928. $75,000 fire gutted interior of local warehouse of Zion Wholesale company.

1928. $20,000 dollar fire hit sugar mill, Lincoln plant, 100,000 bags burned.

1929. New apartment house on Boulevard to soon be ready for occupancy.

1929. S.H. Kress & Co. opened store on Park Ave.; built on site of old fire station.

Chamber of Commerce

1922. Chamber of Commerce formed instead of Commercial Club. It was later renamed The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. It was directed by volunteers for about 20 years, until a full-time vice director was employed.


1922. St. John Lutheran Church built and dedicated on corner of 7th and Emerson, where a parsonage was earlier built. Congregation became self-supporting in 1930.

1926. Catholics obtained convent for sisters, 9th Street.

1928. Swedish Mission Church in New Sweden merged with Swedish Evangelical Mission Church. In the 1930s they switched from Swedish to English language.

1929. Glad Tidings Assembly, which later joined with the general council of the Assemblies of God, was organized.

1929. Church of Nazarene organized; met So.Boulevard and 3rd St.

1929. L.D.S. Second Ward built.

Clubs and Lodges

1920. Bonneville Sportsmen's Association formed.

1926. New Elks temple to be built on Shoup Ave.

1928. Elks dedicated $100,000 home.

Hospitals and Medicine

1921. Spencer Hospital moved to 789 So. Boulevard. (See 1941.)

1923. LDS Hospital dedicated.


1927. Bonneville Hotel dedicated, a community project built as a cooperative effort of 481 citizens.

1930. Former Porter Hotel remodeled and reopened as New Porter Hotel.

Idaho Falls, City

1920s. Police Department located at SW corner, Capital Ave. and Broadway. (Previously located 365 Park Ave.)

1921. Ralph Louis won mayorship of Idaho Falls.

1924. Local prosperity expected.

1925. Ralph Louis reelected mayor.

1926. City Council authorized bond election for $300,000 for underground water supply.

1926. City to have community Hotel Bonneville.

1926. First deep well drilled, 10th and Boulevard.

1927. Survey authorized for power site 4 miles north of city.

1927. Candidates for Mayor were M. B. Yeaman, Citizens ticket; Barzilla Clark, People's party. Clark was elected mayor.

1928. New $100,000 city hall to be built at corner of Shoup and C street.

1928. Bond election called for $100,000 to finish municipal power plant.

1929. Mayoral candidates were Barzilla Clark and E. A. Owen. Clark re-elected.

1929. Upper power plant completed.

1930. City Hall built.

1930. Fire department moved into City Hall. Fire bell replaced by siren. Hook and Ladder truck purchased.

1930. Police department moved into new City Hall at 308 C Street.

1930. Nov. 16, formal opening of new City Hall.

1933. Jan. 18, snow piled up in huge drifts as worst blizzard in years hit valley. City used plow to open streets.

Medicine and Hospitals

1923. New L.D.S. hospital opened Oct. 20. Jacob Traynor to direct institution.


1925. J. Robb Brady Sr. of Pocatello purchased The Daily Post. He died at his desk in 1926.

1929. Post announced $25,000 expansion; to install new 16-page press.

Parks and Recreation

1920s. Sportsmen's Park developed.


1930. 9,429

1930. Bonneville County showed gain of 2218 in decade.

Postal Service

1922. Joseph W. Morley became postmaster.


1921. In the earlier 1900s a one-room school had been brought in by Utah-Idaho Sugar company, which owned the land in that area for raising sugar beets. In 1921 a one-room school was built on what is now Osgood and Payne Road. A new brick building was built in 1928. (In 1943, grades one through six remained there and the rest came into Idaho Falls.)

1927. New Sweden Brick building constructed; known as one of the most permanent school buildings in Idaho.

1929. New Emerson school building to be built.

1930. South part of O. E. Bell Jr. High was built on Ridge Ave. This was the ground where the Central School was located.

1930. The second building of Emerson, a two-story brick building, was constructed, 325 5th Street. (The two buildings joined into one school in 1946.)

State and Federal government

1923. President Harding visited Idaho Falls; crowds thronged street.


1927. Construction was begun on new two-story office building, Shoupe and C.

1930. City had 3160 lines.


1921. Chevrolet agency opened by David Smith, Park and C., Idaho Hotel lobby.

1926. Preston A. Blair Co., Plymouth/Dodge, built large showroom on Corner of Shoup and "A" St.

1929. Union Pacific Stages brought bus service to city.

Youth Programs

1921. First Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troops organized Jan.19.

1925. Teton Peaks Council BSA organized.


Agriculture and Irrigation

1931. District to lease reservoir storage; representatives of canal companies approved government contract.

1931. Idaho Falls largest originating shipping point for agricultural products in region; 8850 cars in 1931.

1931. 9th and 10th Streets flooded from Boulevard to Lee.

1936. Livestock Auction first held.


1931. First Messiah produced by community.

1941. Community choir formed and gave concert at Highland Park.


1930-31. Airport improved by U. S. Department of Commerce. Aeronautical communications weather station located at site of Pincrest golf course. D. F. Richards built first aircraft hanger at the airport.

1933. North-south landing strip lengthened to 2700 feet.

1934. Airmail service came to Idaho Falls. Scheduled north/south passenger service by National Park Airways. Airport improved with well and buildings.

1936. Communications station moved to airport.

1937. Underground refueling facilities installed. Capitol Airways began mail and passenger service to Boise. Western Air Express (later called Western Airlines) took over National Park Airways routes. Paul Crowder became a first local aircraft owner. A. A. Bennett started a flying service out of the log hangar.


1931. Local creamery got $70,000 U. S. loan; Idaho Falls plant to start.

1932. Most costly fire in city's history gutted Lambrecht building on East A street; 135,000 blaze. Building housed Samsel's Dollar store, Frock & Bonnet shop, Bossler's photographic studio, and professional offices of Dr. Jabez West, physician, and Dr. L. P. Nielsen, dentist.

1933. New Anderson company to open.

Commemorative Celebrations

1934. Post Register Golden Jubilee with parades, rodeo, etc. for three days, beginning Sep. 10.

1937-39. City noted the 150th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution and inauguration of the first President.


1931. Faber Hall donated and remodeled for Catholic church social center.

1933. First Church of Christ Scientist building, which it had occupied since 1925, dedicated, 234 C St.

1933. St. John Lutheran Church accepted into Missouri Synod. In 1938 first parsonage converted into parochial school, which operated until 1946.

1934. First Baptist Church building enlarged.

1934. Idaho Falls L.D.S. Stake included four city wards and eight rural wards.

1935. Idaho Falls L.D.S. North Stake created.

1937. Seventh Day Adventists met in remodeled school building on Lake Ave. and J Street.

1939. L.D.S. Temple ground-breaking ceremonies held.

Clubs and Lodges

1930s. Sportsmen's Park developed south of Broadway bridge.


1941. Sacred Heart Hospital named, using old Spencer Hospital.


1930s. First modern motel built by Sullivan on First Street.

1937. Hotel Rogers opened by B. M. "Brunt" Rogers, Shoup and B St.

Idaho Falls, City

1931. Barzilla W. Clark rode into his third term as mayor on wave of nearly 1000 plurality.

1931. Business section has all been paved.

1933. City purchased its first snowplow.

1936. R. B. (Whitey) Ewart, Mayor.

1936. Fielding Memorial Cemetery was in use.

1937. Chase A. Clark (brother of Barzilla), Mayor.

1937. Lower plant purchased from Utah Power and Light. Additions and upgrades made in 1938 and 1939.

1937. Elevated water tank and well #3 placed in operation.

1940. E. W. Fanning elected Mayor.


1939-40. Public Library refurbished and enlarged.


1931. Under direction of E. F. McDermott, its publisher, the Post purchased the ailing Times-Register and became the Post-Register. McDermott remained publisher for 50 years until his death in 1977.

Parks and Recreation

1934. City Park, formerly named Reno Park, being made into city recreation center. (In 1940s the name changed back to Tautphaus Park.)

1935. City bought golf course on East Elva from I. F. Country Club.

1936. City hired George Orullian as golf professional at Pinecrest.


1940. 15,024

Postal Service

1934. First airmail flight from Idaho Falls observed, with dignitaries present, Sep. 1.

1934. Parley Rigby named postmaster Sep. 19.


1933. LeRoy Bean completed Raymond Snyder's term as superintendent, 1933-1934.

1934. W. W. Christensen became Superintendent, 1934-1952.

1937. Hawthorne Elementary was dedicated Nov. 11, 1937, 520 So. Boulevard. (In 1958, four classrooms, a multi-purpose room, kitchen, teacher's work room and store room were added.)

State and Federal government

1932. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic nominee, to stop briefly in Idaho Falls at 11:50 p.m. enroute from Salt Lake City to Butte.

1933. Idaho voted for repeal of prohibition.


1931. New cord switchboard installed; served until dial conversion.


1931. Buses departed to West Yellowstone in summer.

1933. New Union Pacific streamline train on exhibition in city.

1930s. Most families owned a motor vehicle.


Arts and Entertainment

1949. Idaho Falls Symphony organized, sponsored by Music Club.


1945. By this year the N.S. landing strip was extended and hard-surfaced. New runway built. U. S. Army Corps based in Pocatello refueled here.

1944-49. Airport activity increased considerably. Ray Groth appointed part-time Airport manager. Two flying services were started. First metal hangars built privately. Airline services increased.


1947. Bank of Eastern Idaho opened as state chartered bank; it merged with Bank of Idaho in 1957.


1946. KIFI radio was begun.

Commemorative Celebrations

1941. "50th Forgotten Birthday of Idaho Falls," said former Mayor Barzilla W. Clark.


1942. Swedish Mission Church name changed to Mission Covenant of Idaho Falls. (In 1972, it was renamed Evangelical Covenant Church and in 1981 the name was changed to Alliance Covenant Church.)

1945. L.D.S. Temple dedicated.

1940s. Methodist radio ministry began with services broadcast over KID.

1949. St. John Lutheran built new church building on 7th Street.

Hospitals and Medicine

1941. Spencer Hospital became Sacred Heart Hospital.

1949. Catholic Sisters built beautiful Sacred Heart hospital across from Tautphaus Park on So. Boulevard.

Idaho Falls, City

1943. City signed agreement with Utah Power and Light to purchase balance of City's electricity requirements.

1946. City Planning Commission was convened by Mayor E. W. Fanning. It was the first such commission in the state. The commission hired S. R. DeBoer and Co., consultants from Denver, to develop and submit a growth plan for the city.

1947. City plan for Idaho Falls, a 160-page document, was submitted for council and public review by DeBoer and Co. It generated ideas for parks and recreation, highways, city entrances, downtown parking, riverside development, etc.

1949. Thomas L. Sutton elected Mayor. During his administration the National Reactor Testing Station headquarters were brought here.

1949. City has four deep wells, able to produce 12,700 gallons per minute.

Nuclear facilities

Note: See INEL history by Ben Plastino.

1949. Site selected by Atomic Energy Commission. National Reactor Testing Station established near city. City and state to build Highway 20 between Idaho Falls and Central Facilities.

1950. Highway 20 opened.

Parks and Recreation

1945. Municipal pool built on Elm Street.

1946. Remainder of land acquired for city dump. (It later became Freeman Park.)

1948. Land for lilac circle purchased for Tautphaus Park.


1950. 19,218 (5,777 dwelling units)


1947. By this date District 91 was created, embracing Idaho Falls #1, which was discontinued; 91 included Idaho Falls and certain rural areas, particularly to the south.

1949-50. Sage Creek School for Retarded Children formed. The first such school in Idaho, it was later renamed St. Leon Opportunity School.

1950. From 1950-54 the old Log Hut at HIghland Park was used for elementary classes in connection with Riverside School.

1950. Joint School District 93 was created.

War Efforts, World War II

1941-45. Red Cross donated blood, and various textile and knitted items for GIs overseas. Bonneville County supported the war: 2600 men served in the military, in addition to the National Guard. In the county 112 young men died in the line of duty. War bond quotas all went well over the top. Farmers and ranchers broke all crop records to produce food for the war effort. For example, most dairy products went to the armed forces.

Youth Programs, YMCA

1946. YMCA was started in Idaho Falls, with Jim Infelt director. First youth center was on 2nd floor of the southeast corner of Park and B (formerly American Legion Hall and previous to that, Knights of Columbus Hall).


Note: As our purpose is to emphasize the early history of Idaho Falls, only a few topics are listed in the chronology after 1945.


1956. Palisades Dam completed.

1957. Rogers Brothers produced first commercial potato flakes, for mashed potatoes.


1953. Idaho Falls Opera Theatre began to develop from Music Club productions. It was incorporated in 1978.


1950s. U. S. Atomic Energy Commission sponsored Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program (ANPP) at present INEL, which developed and tested three different engines.

1950-52. E. G. McCarty became sole flying service operation. Airport improved, including lighting and the city building six metal hangars. H. P. Hill became Airport manager. Airport enlarged and improved. Hangars added by private company.

1955. Frontier service to Jackson began.

1956. Hoff family established Rainbow Ranch private airport and Flying Farmers Association in Eastern Idaho. During this period the airport formerly known as the Idaho Falls Municipal Airport was officially named Fanning Field. Runways were extended.

1957-58. New airport administration building (terminal) constructed. Airport improved. It was dedicated in about 1958-60.


1957. Bank of Idaho opened branch office in Idaho Falls through purchase of Bank of Eastern Idaho.

1959. Bank of Commerce opened.


1953. First television: KID-TV.

1957. KUPI radio was begun.


1953. Episcopal Church, which had been a mission under several vicars, became self-supporting with the Rev. David Blackaller as first rector.

1950s. First Baptist Church built on John Adams Parkway.

Idaho Falls, City

1951. E. W. Fanning again elected Mayor.

1952. Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium built.

1953. Fire Station #2 built on 8th Street.

1956. John B. Rogers elected Mayor.

1958. City constructs interceptor sewers to remove raw sewage from Snake River; it also funded a primary sewerage treatment plant, east of Snake River, south of Sunnyside Road.

1959. William J. O'Bryant elected Mayor. During his administration the city purchased the Sandy Downs property south of the city.

Nuclear Facilities

1951. Highway 20 dedicated between Idaho Falls and Arco via Central Facilities.

1951. EBR1 produced electricity by nuclear fission, Dec. 20.

1953. Nuclear Navy inaugurated at site.

1955. First Department of Energy Building built on 2nd Street. Earlier, offices were opened in the City Hall.


1960. 33,161 (10,319 dwelling units)

Postal Service

1958. Main post office moved to new building on Freeman Ave. and 4th Street.


1952. Clair E. Gale became Superintendent in 1952-1958. He died in 1958, and William Ward, Assistant Superintendent completed his term.

1952. The new Idaho Falls High School was opened on Holmes and John Adams Parkway. The City of Idaho Falls built the Civic Auditorium adjoining the school, to be enjoyed by all.

1954. Whittier Elementary School, 380 West Anderson, was built and opened in September. (The name was changed to A. H. Bush in 1968. In 1959 the first addition was added, the second in 1976 and the third in 1986.)

1955. Linden Park Elementary, 1455 9th Street, was opened in September; first addition in 1957, and second, a library, in 1973.

1955. Bel Aire Elementary, 850 Cleveland, was opened September 1955. (In 1968 the name was changed to Dora Erickson Elementary. First addition was in 1959 and second in 1976.)

1957. Longfellow Elementary, 2500 So. Higbee, was completed in October; first addition in 1969 and second in 1988.

1958. Edgemont Gardens Elementary, 1240 Azalea Drive, was completed in October. (First addition in 1966; later a library and trailer were added.)

1958. Superintendent John Tucker was hired, 1958-1962.

1958. Templeview Elementary, 1500 Scorpius Drive, was opened in September 1958. (Classrooms were added in 1989.)

1958. Higher Education. L.D.S. Church announced that Ricks College would be relocated in Idaho Falls. (In 1962, the Church proceded with new buildings on the Ricks Rexburg campus, indicating the college would remain in Rexburg.)


1956. Conversion to dial system.

Youth Programs

1950s. YMCA supervised city playgrounds.



1961. Idaho Falls Symphony Society organized.


1961-62. Three-floor addition to terminal building constructed. Multiple-use aircraft building built north of log hangar. City obtained loan of an F-86 fighter aircraft which was mounted in its present position at the terminal entrance area.

1963. Airport hosted F.A.A.'s dedication for Mount Sawtell radar station, the highest in the U. S. Airport hosted several special events and conventions.

1964-66. Airport improved. Reeder Air Service became fixed base operator.


1961. KTEE radio began.

1961. KIFI-TV began.

1965. First FM radio--KID-FM

Commemorative Celebrations

1963. Idaho Territorial Centennial.

Idaho Falls, City

1961. City operated street sweepers on 102 miles of paved city streets.

1962. Freeway I-15 opened to northern edge of Idaho Falls.

1962. Public Works Division created.

1962. City equipped each of its eight deep wells with chlorine detention tanks.

1963. S. Eddie Pedersen elected Mayor.

1963. City signed agreement with Bonneville Power Administration to supply balance of City's electricity needs instead of UP&L.

1965. In response to great city growth from 1947-1964, the City contracted with Clark, Coleman and Repeiks, Inc., city and regional planning consultants, to prepare the second comprehensive plan. It was completed and submitted in 1966. It grouped residential neighborhoods around a school or open space area. (See story on Parks and Recreation.) Its recommendations included traffic, industry, and the central business district.

1965. Fire Station #3 built at Grandview and Skyline.

1965. City declared 2nd to 15th Streets between Boulevard and Holmes, and certain downtown and nearby streets to be one-way streets. One-way streets had been designated several years previous.


1970. 35,776

Postal Service

1963. ZIP coding began.


1962. Clair E. Gale Jr. High, 955 Garfield, opened in January.

1962. John I. Orr became superintendent, 1962-1964.

1963. Theresa Bunker, 1385 E. 16th Street, opened in September; dedicated in November. (In 1969 three classrooms were added on the north end. Later two of these rooms were used for "Special Ed" children.)

1964. Superintendent Robert Shreve was hired, 1964-1966.

1965. Ethel Boyce Elementary School, 1875 Brentwood, was opened in September. (First addition of three classroom stations made in 1970.)

1965. Eastern Idaho Health and Social Services, parent to Child Development Center organized.

1966. Jay Casper became Superintendent, 1966-1977.

1968. Skyline High School, 1767 Blue Sky Drive, opened in September. (First addition, a gym, in 1991-92.)

1969. Eastern Idaho Vocational Technical School was founded in Idaho Falls. Classes were held in leased buildings for an initial 330 students.

State and Federal Government

1962. On Oct. 31, the section of Interstate Highway 15 from Bassett, north of Idaho Falls, to Blackfoot opened. Govr. Robert E. Smylie was guest speaker at ceremonies.



1978. Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. factory closed at Lincoln.


1972. Valley Bank opened.


1970. About this time the Broadway Bridge was widened by adding a lane on the north side. The John's Hole Bridge was replaced.

1976. When the Teton Dam flooded, the Broadway bridge was closed. Part of the power channel retaining wall below the bridge was dynamited and a channel dug around the west end to help lower the pressure on the bridge. The bridge was saved.

Commemorative Celebrations

1976. U. S. Bicentennial celebrated a week in July, plus other activities throughout the year. Bonneville Bicentennial Commission renamed Bonneville Tricentennial Commission; D. V. Groberg, chairman; T. J. Wadsworth, Director.

1979. Time capsule buried at Intersec.

Idaho Falls, City

1972. Massive downtown street renovation program undertaken.

1973-74. Urban renewal gave downtown a facelifting.

1975. Electrical Building constructed on Capital Ave.

1975. Fire station #4 built on LIncoln Road.

1976. Teton Dam flood damages city power plants.

1977. New Public Library built on corner of Broadway and Capital Ave.

1978. L. Tom Campbell elected mayor.

1978. City passes bond election for demolition of old plants and construction of new bulb turbine plants at each of the three existing sites.

1978. Police Department moved to new Law Enforcement Building beside Court House.

Nuclear Facilities

1974. National Reactor Testing Station renamed Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.

1976. Technical Support Building and University Place constructed.

1976. Chamber of Commerce and AEC built INTERSEC, a Science Experience Center, as a U. S. Bicentennial project.
E G & G Idaho assumed its contract Oct. 1.

1979. Willow Creek Building constructed.

Parks and Recreation

1977. Baseball stadium erected, renamed McDermott Field .


1980. 39,736


1971. Passenger train service to city ended.


1975. Eastern Idaho Vocational Technical School constructed its first building on a 60-acre site donated on the Ammon-Idaho Falls border.

1976. Eagle Rock Jr. High opened in September, 2020 Pancheri Drive. (A trailer was added in 1990.)

1977. Dr. James Parsley became superintendent, 1977- 1980.

1979. Westside Elementary opened in September, 2680 Newman Drive. (First addition in 1988.)

1980. Jerry Jacobson became Superintendent.

State and Federal Government

1979. May. Highway 191, formerly called Yellowstone Highway, officially renamed U. S. 20.



1986. Rogers Brothers left Idaho Falls, and moved to Boise.


1981. First Interstate Bank of Idaho opened, through purchase of Bank of Idaho.

1985. Bank of Eastern Idaho opened as state chartered bank.

1986. Idaho Bank and Trust opened a branch office in Idaho Falls.

1988. Key Bank of Idaho opened by merging the branch office of the Idaho Bank and Trust into their company.


1987-91. Bicentennial of U. S. Constitution.

1990. Centennial of Idaho statehood.

Idaho Falls, City

1980-81. Bulb turbines installed for municipal power.

1982. Bulb turbine plants completed.

1988. Gem State plant completed at site originally developed in 1910. The four plants produced about one-third of city's electricity needs.


1990. 43,929


1986-87. EIVTS had 6200 students and its third major building was underway, funded by state, federal and local governments.

1991. Two elementary schools and one junior high are being added, an elementary and junior high south of Idaho Falls on the east side; one elementary on the west side; to be completed by 1992.



Begin Here
Introductory Comments
Chap. 1 - Agriculture
Potatoes, grains, sugar beets, livestock, irrigation.
Chap. 2 - Business and Industry
Banking, Chamber of Commerce, Rogers Brothers Seed.
Chap. 3 - Amusements, Arts and Music
Amusements: dancing, circus, baseball, theaters, Heise Hot Springs, War Bonnet Roundup, parades. Arts: painting, drama, dance, music, symphony, opera theatre.
Chap. 4 - Communications
Newspapers, telephone, broadcast.
Chap. 5 - Celebrations
Centennials and Jubilees, Pioneer Day, Intersec.
Chap. 6 - Churches
Chap. 7 - City Government
Mayors, City Hall, Public Library; Departments of Electricity, Fire, Police, Building and Planning, Parks and Recreation, Public Works.
Chap. 8 - Courthouse and Federal Post Office
Chap. 9 - Historic Preservation Efforts
Bonneville County Historical Society, Idaho Falls Historic Preservation Commission (Historic buildings, places, homes), Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
Chap. 10 - Schools
Chap. 11 - Clubs/Fraternal Organizations
Lodges, Sportsmen's Association, American Legion and other Veterans Associations, Boy Scouts.
Chap. 12 - Transportation
Railroad, Automobiles, Aviation.
Chap. 13 - Medical Practice &Amp; Hospitals
Chap. 14 - Native Americans
Chap. 15 - Snake River
Bridges, Greenbelt, Temple.
Chap. 16 - Tourism and Hotels
Chap. 17 - Lawyers and Judges
Chap. 18 - War Efforts
Red Cross, World War I, World War II.
Chap. 19 - Population Growth
Chap. 20 - INEL
Appendix 1 - Bibliography Guide
Appendix 2 - Chronology