Idaho Falls - City of Destiny

Early Fraternal Organizations and Clubs

"Obedience to the instincts of fraternalism that prompted the first pioneers in establishing a settlement on the banks of the Snake resulted in the establishment of two lodges in the early days of Eagle Rock. The Masonic lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows were formed in the year 1886 and were the first in the city." (Post-Register 10 Sep. 1934)

On January 11, 1886, a dispensation signed by G. H. Davis, grand master, and James H. Wickersham, grand secretary, granted eleven charter members the right to establish a Masonic lodge in Eagle Rock, Idaho Territory. John G. Anderson was the first master. Meetings were held in the old Tautphaus building on the south side, then on the second floor of the B.C.& M. building on Broadway. The Masonic Temple was built in 1931.

The auxiliary branch, the Order of Eastern Star, was chartered April 12, 1902, with seven charter members of Henrietta chapter.

On October 14, 1886, 33 members were granted a charter to institute Bingham Lodge No. 14, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with J. H. Davenport as first noble grand. Meetings were held in the old Clark and Fanning building on Broadway and Park Avenue until 1907 or 1908 when the lodge moved into the upper story over the Woolworth building. The charter for the women's organization, Lily Rebekah Lodge No. 33, was granted February 4, 1897.

Odd Fellows still meet in the Odd Fellows Temple on Park and A, 2nd floor, which they built in 1908. They also built a beautiful, large three-story sandstone home in Idaho Falls as a home for widows and orphans, located on Odd Fellows Road (Holmes and E. 17th St.). The cornerstone was laid 30 July 1892. It remained until about the 1940s, but housed only one widow and one orphan.

In 1898 the Village Improvement Society was founded under the leadership of Mrs. Bowen Curley. Formed for the purpose of uplifting and improving living conditions in the city, the V.I.S. functioned faithfully for almost 20 years, was dissolved when officers felt the City Council could take over the civic duties. (See also Historic Buildings, Idaho Falls Public LIbrary.)

October 1899. Modern Woodmen of America organized with 14 charter members.

August 1900. Brotherhood of American Yeomen organized a lodge. November 21, 1903. Fraternal Order of Eagles instituted with 29 members. Met in old Wallenstein building on south side, then on the second floor of a building on Broadway. After the Odd Fellows hall was built in 1907, members of the Eagles met there until the Paramount Theater building was constructed about 1922. At that time the lodge arranged for the use of the second floor.

February 1908. Elks Lodge No. 1087 with 25 charter members established. As part of the first initiation ceremonies, charter members wore Japanese kimonas and carried parasols in a gala parade through town. The Pocatello delegation in charge of the ceremonies traveled to Idaho Falls by special train. The first meetings were held in the Odd Fellows building. For a period the upper floor of the Dowd-Bucklin building was used. In 1928 the Elks erected a building on Shoup Avenue which they occupied until moving to their current location on Elva Street.

September 1908. Royal Neighbors of America established. This was an independent women's organization that supported a home for the aged in Davenport, Iowa.

January 1908. Woodmen of the World organized.

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

1910. Order of the Moose organized by 21 men. Membership at one time reached 100 but it had been disbanded by 1934.

1913. Neighbors of Woodcraft organized after a rift developed with Woodmen of the World. Maintained a home for aged members in Riverside, California.

1916. Knights of Columbus. Organization composed of men in the Catholic Church met in B.C.& M. building on Broadway until completion of parish hall.

Knights of Pythias was an organization whose various periods of inactivity and revitalization were part of the early history of the city. In 1926 there were 44 members; G. W. Erwin was the chancellor commander, and there was an auxiliary, the Pythian Sisters, and for boys, the Princes of Syracuse.

Not all of the organizations have survived. The first ones-- the Masons and Odd Fellows--established 105 years ago (1886) are still active.

Other surviving organizations include the Eagles who have been here 88 years; the Elks, 83 years; and the Knights of Columbus, 75 years.

The city has many other viable clubs and organizations today, but the above represent those who go back to the early days of Idaho Falls.

Submitter: Margaret Hawkes Lindsley
Sources: Bonneville Museum Reading and Reference Room; Post Register, 10 September 1934, Golden Jubilee Edition; Post Register, 17 Oct. 1986; Floyd W. Hensley, Odd Fellows home.

Sportsmen Association

"A sportsmen's paradise--that is the name that hunters and fishermen from over the country have given the territory immediately adjacent to Idaho Falls. Fifty years ago (1884) wild game, including deer, elk and antelope, and fish in various mountain streams were in such abundance that no one even thought of restricted hunting and fishing.....For fishing, as an example, there are approximately 2500 miles of excellent streams within a radius of 125 miles of the city." (Post Register, Sep. 10, 1934).

In the early 1900s, the state began taking a hand in protecting wild game and fish. In about 1920 L. M. Miller conceived the idea for the formation of an association of sportsmen in Idaho Falls. He and George M. Scott, Peder Pedersen, Dr. B. M. Brookfield, Gil Telford, Earl Mains, Lawrence Balster and Bert Harrington got together and formed the Bonneville Sportsmen's association. Mr. Miller was the first president, and Pedersen the second.

The first major project was creating the big game refuge in eastern Bonneville county, in the Targhee and Caribou National forests. The second project was creation of the bird refuge for sagehens in the Osgood section northwest of the city. Next the sportsmen undertook the task of constructing three large concrete fish rearing ponds on the island park just south of the Broadway bridge. Then they developed the island into a beauty spot. They also constructed a holding pen for rearing pheasants just north of Highland Park. They built a cabin in the park.

Another project during the 1930s was designating Market Lakes as a federal migratory bird refuge. From about 1945 until 1970 the Sportsmen held an annual Jamboree in February. Affiliated with state and national wildlife federations, their major purpose for meeting during the 1950s to 1970s was conservation. However, after biologists were hired by the state, the Sportsmen were no longer needed to fulfill this function. Since about 1980 they have been disbanded.

Sportsmen's Park has been renamed Pedersen's Sportsmen Park in honor of Eddie Pedersen and his father Peder Pedersen. Eddie, an avid Sportsman, became mayor.

Submitter: Mary Jane Fritzen
Sources: Post Register, Golden Jubilee Edition, 10 Sep. 1934.
Interview with Del Miller, a former president, June, 1991.

American Legion
Veterans Associations

In February 1919, returned Bonneville County veterans formed the World War Veterans Association of Bonneville County. The American Legion was formed in Paris, France, in March of 1919. In August of 1919, the local association became Bonneville Post 56 of the American Legion.

Since 1921 Bonneville Post 56 has sponsored the War Bonnet rodeo each summer. Proceeds are used to support the activities of the post, which include:

Flag education programs in District 91 schools

American Legion baseball

Contributions to civic projects such as the Veterans Memorial on Memorial Drive

Veterans hospitals and care centers

Boys State

American Legion oratorical contest, the national winner of which receives a large scholarship

Graveside services for veterans.

The American Legion Auxiliary supports Girls State and other civic and community projects from funds received through sale of rodeo programs.

Other veterans associations: Although the Grand Army of the Republic for Civil War veterans disbanded in 1925, other local associations have been developed since: Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freedom Birds. Local veterans associations use Veteran Memorial Hall on Constiution Way for meetings.

Sources: T. J. Stickley, American Legion Bonneville Post 56 Bonneville Museum files

Boy Scouts

In 1913, 15 boys under the direction of Rev. Mark Rifenbark met in the basement of the Episcopal Church, and were organized into boy scout patrols.

Boy Scouts of America first organized troops in Idaho Falls on January 19, 1921. Two troops are still functioning today that were part of the original charter. Troop #1 was originally sponsored by the LDS First Ward. It is now under the sponsorship of the LDS 6th Ward. Trinity Methodist Church sponsors Troop #6, which traces its charter back to 1921 also. Teton Peaks Council was organized April 4, 1925. The original charters may be seen at the Boy Scout Service Center on 4th Street in Idaho Falls.

"The Scout Executive" of April 1925 reports "New Council," Teton Peaks, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Harold Alvord was hired as the new executive and served until 1936. There was a prize offered for the most suitable name for the Council, which Scoutmaster Vernon Strong won by submitting the name "Teton Peaks Council."

In February 1936 Vernon L. Strong became the Scout Executive. In 1961, Lawrence J. Berrett became Scout executive, followed by John D. Warnick, Robert R. Parker, K. Hart Bullock, Rees A. Falkner and in October 1986, Scott Johnson.

In 1936 a campsite was selected for a permanent summer camp for scouts. A Scout leader's uniform was offered to the scouter who would submit the most appropriate name for the camp. Randall Anderson submitted the name, "Treasure Mountain, Camp of the Tetons." The lodge was started May 15, 1940 and completed the summer of 1941. It was built entirely by scouts and scouters while attending camp.

The Teton Peaks Council under the direction of Russell Holm built the present Scout Service Center at 574-4th Street, and moved the council into it on May 1, 1959. It was dedicated in 1960, with Dr. P. Blair Ellsworth as Council President.

On April 10, 1972 the Teton Peaks Council purchased 80 acres of land in the Island Park area for a new Scout Camp. In July 1981, an additional 80 acres was purchased from the Bureau of Land Management, bringing the Island Park Scout Camp to a total of 160 acres of usable camping ground, which is under patent to the Boy Scout Council. Thanks to donations or leases from the Norman Krupp family, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Roscoe Grover family, , the Council now has facilities to serve its full scouting family. Scout Hollow--8 to 11 year olds, Island Park and Treasure Mountain--12-13 year olds, and Salmon River High Adventure for 14- 18 year olds.

Note: For beginning of YMCA, see Chronology, Appendix 2.

Submitters: Mary Jane Fritzen and Loretta Evans.
Sources: Teton Peaks Council No. 107, Boy Scouts of America.



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