Will the Lizard Erupt?

Not Unless We Get Enough Tires

By John M. Larsen

A pizza joint in Marsing now occupies ground where the Spot Tavern stood, once a favorite hangout of local prophets. 

A  steady stream of barflies buzzed about and often landed on a wooden bench in front of the bar, where they would reminisce about the past and speculate on the future. Public fear is an old commodity and one of the flies’ favorite speculations concerned the eruption of Lizard Butte across the Snake River. This speculation was fueled by the presence of a cave where the lizard’s left ear might be and from which the lava was expected to flow.

Old Ernie was one of the regulars. He would sit back, put his thumbs under the shoulder straps of his bib overalls, and forecast the imminent volcanic threat to the city from this presumably angry butte, which is indeed an ancient volcanic deposit. He took it as gospel that at any time the cave could barf lava that would roll down toward the city.

He said the cave was the end of a tunnel that ran under the river to the city directly across the river. To follow this logic of Old Ernie and other barflies, one had to consume at least five beers, yet there was concern among some citizens that Lizard Butte might erupt.

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John M. Larsen

About John M. Larsen

John M. Larsen came to Idaho in 1940, went to high school in Marsing, and graduated from the College of Idaho. His parents were co-founders the Owyhee County Historical Society and from 1998 to 2018, John was either the society’s president or a board member. He worked for the City of Marsing and later was a consultant for the city until 2018.

One Response to Will the Lizard Erupt?

  1. Mike - Reply


    Love this.

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