This Good Old Building

A Place Full of History

By Madge Cook Wylie with Linda Morton-Keithley

Photos by Linda Morton-Keithley

The old Oddfellows Lodge Hall in Melba is about the only place where there is any activity, excluding the two beer parlors, the grocery store, and a new pizza parlor. It is now the Melba Valley Museum, an achievement inspired by the town’s centennial celebration in 2012.

As self-appointed historian of Melba, I was anxious to participate in the centennial. Chris Hinderliter, representing the city council, was appointed to head the committee for the celebration, and we used the Grange Hall to create a “museum for a day” where everyone could display their keepsakes to help describe their connection to the town’s history. Chris, a technical genius, created a film to be shown at the hall. He interviewed me and we talked for about fifteen minutes about the history of Melba, which was played intermittently all day.

The city had a little money to spend, so I was able to participate in a program I had long wanted to do. Half the buildings in town had been burned down (by the city) or had changed hands or had been abandoned. I created little signs that told when the buildings were built and what their purpose was, such as the old post offices (four of them), grocery stores, blacksmith shops, etc. Jane Zeyer had the actual signs made and attached to stakes. We placed thirty-seven of them around town in vacant lots and on buildings.

I also put together a book about the old pioneers and activities in Melba, beginning in 1912, which I called The Centennial Scrapbook of Melba.

For the centennial, a series of activities around town and at the schoolyards included food booths, a quilt show, walking tour, and music by well-known artist Jerry Tlucek. We honored people like Loyd Coleman, who came here as a baby and in 2012, was ninety-five years old. Lots of oldtimers showed up for the event.

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Madge Cook Wylie

About Madge Cook Wylie

Madge Cook Wylie came to Melba when she was eight years old and has lived there ever since, except for nearly three years in West Virginia after she got married. She wrote for the Idaho Free Press and the Idaho Statesman and was a correspondent for the Kuna Melba News for sixty years.

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