Sugar City–Spotlight

Sweet Town, Idaho

Story and Photos by Joyce Driggs Edlefsen

I share a bit of history with Sugar City. I was born in nearby Driggs in 1947, the same year that Sugar City’s sugar beet factory was dismantled. I was aware of the town’s sugar beet history and occasionally made the trek with my parents on Highway 33 through Newdale, Teton, and Sugar City— the last town before we got to our destination of the bigger city of Rexburg, where we could shop or visit a dentist or doctor. In the idyllic 1950s and 1960s, the neatly laid-out streets, beautiful trees and flowers of Sugar City, its small business district of stores and an egg farm, all seemed never-changing to me.

As I grew up, Sugar City became the enemy. Teton and Sugar-Salem High Schools had powerful rivalries in basketball, football and wrestling. As in most small towns, the whole community turned out to support the teams. If you were from Teton High School in Driggs, Sugar-Salem was the bad guy. Even today, a sign at the town’s south limits proclaims it as the home of the Sugar-Salem Diggers.

Three other circumstances have played key roles in Sugar City’s life. First, it was a company town built with the sole purpose of supporting a sugar beet factory. Second, seventy-two years after the town’s founding, it was all but destroyed in the Teton Dam flood. Third, the creation of Brigham Young University-Idaho next door in Rexburg has influenced the direction of the community today.

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