Black in Idaho By Dennis Patterson Photos Courtesy of Dennis Patterson Idaho Falls native Dennis Patterson has been a lifelong advocate for equal rights and fair treatment, as he describes in his 2020 book, Black Pearl: Living Black in Idaho. … Continue reading →
Category Archives: Idaho Falls
And the Fiftieth Earth Day By Veronika Vazhnik On a balmy summer afternoon, the foothills trails are dry and dusty, and I enjoy every step on the gravel and sand, along with the conversation with my fellow runners. It was … Continue reading →
An Idaho Day Celebration By Linden B. Bateman During a thirty-seven-year career as a history teacher, I constantly searched for class projects that could bring the past to life—things that went beyond just reading a textbook. And so it was in … Continue reading →
Beloved Things Now Gone By Linden B. Bateman Photos Courtesy of Linden B. Bateman “My Town, Idaho” is the 2019 theme for the Idaho Day observance held in the Idaho Capitol in Boise and statewide each year to celebrate the … Continue reading →
A Soccer Fan Gets His Wish By Nathan Davis For millions of people, soccer isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life that sometimes can border on near-religious devotion. Throughout most of my life, I’ve loved soccer with just … Continue reading →
World War I Veterans By Linden B. Bateman Photos courtesy of Linden B. Bateman Each year, Idaho Day commemorates the creation of the Idaho Territory by President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1863. This year, the observance at the Idaho … Continue reading →
Before the sun is up, I muster all the strength I have to walk into the room, which is full of confusion, people going in every direction. What am I doing, again? I ask myself. The doctor wants to know where the patient’s family is, a nurse yells for me to hold an airway, another yells at me that someone is ready to be checked in. Continue reading →
What in the world am I doing? Am I crazy? Did you hear that smack? Am I hurt? Is this a midlife crisis? Such questions crash through my mind as I lie loose-limbed on my back looking at the metal-beamed ceiling above me through a metal-barred cage across my face.
The cage is the front of my hockey helmet. The ceiling is the cover over the ice rink in Idaho Falls. I’m back-bound because a new skater who doesn’t know how to stop just took me out from behind. I dropped as quickly as an icicle unhinged from a roof’s raingutter.
It’s week one of hockey season for the Idaho Falls Youth Hockey Association. Dozens of chilly-faced children are at the city rink for their first hockey lesson. They pile through the gate onto the ice like chips poured out of a bag. They sort themselves into a single layer and try to stand. They scramble for footing on finely-ground skate blades, find no steady stance, and pinwheel their limbs until they’re laid out on the ice again. Continue reading →
Forty-two art benches grace downtown Idaho Falls and the Snake River greenbelt. Each one has a story. But how they got there is the story I want to tell.
Downtown Idaho Falls has been called a lot of things. The old timers once referred to it as “Alcohol Falls.” My husband Jerry, a retired sheep and cattle rancher, fondly remembers driving sheepherders and camp-tenders into downtown from his family ranch right after they collected their six months’ of winter and trail wages. It was the early 1950s. The first stops were always the Bon Villa and Jack’s Club, two notorious bars sometimes called “blind pigs” by the locals. Recognizing the windfall delivered to their establishments, the bartenders would allow Jerry, the underaged teen chauffer, to belly up to the bar for free while the hired hands bought rounds for the house.
During the ‘60s, the downtown’s hurly burly persona began to fade. The department stores and movie theaters fled to suburban shopping centers and malls, which offered bigger buildings, bigger parking lots, and bigger crowds. The exodus continued when more downtown professional firms and restaurants moved to the east side of town, where the new shopping centers, malls and hospital were now located. In the early ‘90s, downtown Idaho Falls had about hit bottom—too many vacant storefronts and too few shoppers. As local developer Larry Reinhart told me back then, “I am tired of Idaho Falls being called Jackson Hole’s ugly stepsister.” Continue reading →