Blog Archives

The Bait That Got Away

Posted on by Carol Gee / Comments Off on The Bait That Got Away

With a Little Help By Carol Gee All the women’s magazines I read back when my husband Ronnie and I were first dating claimed that the way to a man’s heart was not through his stomach, as those
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The Aviatrix

Posted on by Richard Bennett / Comments Off on The Aviatrix

Idaho’s First Female Commercial Pilot By Richard Bennett While waiting at the baggage carousel at the Boise Airport for my luggage to be returned, a photo in a gallery on the west wall caught my eye. I walked
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Bennett Mountain

Posted on by Richard Bennett / Comments Off on Bennett Mountain

A prominent mountain northeast of Mountain Home, seen on the left as you pass through the outskirts of town on I-84 eastbound, bears the name Bennett Mountain. Scores of my cousins and second cousins and their children recount with pride that the mountain was named for Richard Bennett, our ancestor.

I grew up in Mountain Home and don’t remember any of the locals or family members ever questioning the origin of the mountain’s name. It was named after my great-grandfather who ran sheep there a hundred and thirty-five years ago . . . or was it? Continue reading

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A Town To Be Proud Of

Posted on by Arthur Hart / Comments Off on A Town To Be Proud Of

Mountain Home was in its infancy when this photograph was taken about 1885. The freight wagon in the foreground, hitched to an eight-mule team, looks a lot like one of the covered wagons that carried pioneers over the Oregon Trail.

Wagons like these passed north of present Mountain Home on the great Overland Road bringing pioneers into the Pacific Northwest. After the Union Pacific railroad was finished in May 1869, freight from Kelton, Utah, was hauled along the old route, known thereafter as the Kelton Road. It connected the Union Pacific with mining towns in Boise Basin like Idaho City, Placerville, and Boise City—capital of Idaho Territory. Rattlesnake Station on that road, where Rattlesnake Creek comes out of the mountains, was renamed Mountain Home, no doubt because it was a prettier name, but also because it was near Bennett Mountain Continue reading

Mountain Home – Spotlight

Posted on by John Hiler / Comments Off on Mountain Home – Spotlight

After the discovery of gold in the early 1860s, the end of the Civil War in 1865, and the coming of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the little station on Rattlesnake Creek became quite famous. It was here that the famous Overland Stages came up the trail from the East carrying passengers bound for the fabulous gold strikes on the South Boise River.

Rattlesnake Station was founded in August 1864 when Ben Holladay put through his Overland Stage Line between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Walla Walla, Washington. Commodore William Jackson, an early employee of Holladay, acquired the property in 1872.

In 1875 an Owyhee Avalanche correspondent wrote, “I leave this morning by buckboard train for Rocky Bar. I have changed the name of this station, where I have been sojourning since noon yesterday, from ‘Rattlesnake Station’ to ‘Bedbug Station.’ There are no rattlesnakes here but an abundance of the other animals.”

On Feb. 13, 1877, The Idaho Statesman reported, “The station formerly kept at this point was called Rattle Snake and was and is yet the property of Mr. William Jackson. Jackson had a difference of opinion with the owners of the stage line, which resulted in the removal of the stage station to a point higher up the creek to the left of the old road. A post office has been established here with the name of “The Mountain Home,” but as yet there is no service, as no one is willing to serve the county in the capacity of post-master.”

In the summer of 1883 an enterprising drummer by the name of Tutwiler set up a walled tent and some whiskey barrels on sawhorses alongside the survey stakes for the new railroad being built. When the grading and track laying crews, known for having a horrible and almost unquenchable thirst, saw Tutwiler they said, “Hooray for Tut!” and named the camp Tutville in his honor. The first train steamed into Tutville in early July 1883.
Jule Hager, the new postmaster and stage agent at “The Mountain Home,” decided that since the trains brought the mail, the post office should be there to meet it. Without government authorization, he packed up the post office into a fifty-pound soapbox and brought it down the hill to the railroad. With it he brought the new name for the town, Mountain Home. Continue reading

Pariah

Posted on by Melissa Whiteley / Comments Off on Pariah

In 2005 I married into a family of hillbillies, cowboys, and ranchers whose earlier generations began somewhere in Arkansas. In Idaho, they make their living raising cattle. They consist of five or six families living in the middle of nowhere, amid rugged mountaintops or in the wide-open desert. These communities are sometimes so small and so isolated that the bar is in the back of the convenience store and the bartender is also the Sunday school teacher. Some of the family, though—like my in-laws (thankfully)—live in a more pleasant manner, in manufactured homes perched on hundreds of acres. These homes are surrounded by flat brown plains, horse corrals, and looming haystacks. At times, the smell of manure and rotting carcasses fills the air—a smell that I have yet to grow comfortable with. Continue reading

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Artful Mountain Home

Posted on by Chris DeVore / Comments Off on Artful Mountain Home

It’s not unusual for those looking down from Interstate 84 at seventy-nine m.p.h., or weekend visitors seeking a convenient bed-and-breakfast, or map-loving friends and family who only reach us by email, telephone, or text, to ask, “Why Mountain Home?”(1)

I recently realized that this simple question represents two distinct camps. One wants to know why anybody would move to Mountain Home on purpose, while the other is interested in how the town earned its name. One says, “I can understand if you were stationed there.” The other asks, “Is it maybe irony, like referring to your six-five, three-hundred-pound uncle as Tiny Trev?”

To the naysayers camp, the answer is that Mountain Home, at least to this man, is like the best kind of woman. Since this awkward simile has yet to achieve its demonstrative goal, even though I’ve tried it a minimum of three times, I’m taking the only logical next step. I’m doubling down, putting it in writing, where it can once and for all be justified, seen for the genius that it is, prove my wife wrong, and be redeemed—which will no doubt redeem me.

Mountain Home is not quite front-cover Seattle or Portland or Boise. Those cities force you to dream up all sorts of life-ever-after from across the room, only to disappoint you when they can’t live up to your impossible expectations. Similarly, the best kind of woman is subtle. You notice she’s attractive, but you can still breathe, speak in complete sentences, and use the logic you brought. You laugh at her slightly self-degrading jokes, share chips and salsa littered with cilantro, learn you have the same interests—the Snake River, the Dunes, Bruneau Canyon, religious experiences all. The more you are with her, the more beautiful she becomes; the more you laugh at yourself, rather than going home self-conscious. You love her blemishes, but you keep your head. You become less judgmental, better in general. She embraces you, defends you, calls you her own. She stops you when you’re going too far. She filters you from the world and the world from you. Mountain Home, like this best kind of woman, is redemption. Continue reading

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