Not Just Rock and Sagebrush
By Geraldine Mathias
“Moreland is growing again,” Lloyd Merrill assured me as I stopped at a small pavilion near his home created to display the large bell he and others saved from the former Moreland School. Lloyd should know. He grew up in Moreland, has lived there all his adult life, and was its postmaster for thirty-one years. He and his wife, Marge, and their five children also owned and ran the Moreland Grocery adjacent to the post office for years.
The platted town of 160 acres, located about five miles northwest of Blackfoot in Bingham County, is not exactly on the beaten path, and is hard to define as an area. People who live ten or more miles northwest of the town still say they live in Moreland. Highway 26 once ran around it, but that route was abandoned with the coming of the Atomic Energy Commission site further west in the desert, and is now called Taber Road. Moreland has grown and flourished before, and like many farming communities, it diminished with the growth of businesses in nearby larger cities and with increasing ease of travel.
Despite Merrill’s affirmation of growth, Moreland still is not the busy community it was in 1970 when my children began attending its elementary school. Though we live in the Riverside area southeast of Moreland, early elementary children are bused to the Moreland School. I didn’t know much about the town at the time beyond what I could see. But after more than twenty years of sending my children to district schools, I’ve come to know many folks in the community, and learned how hard Moreland’s pioneers worked to get their town established and schools built.