of a Public Water System
The city took James Murray and company to court over rates and finally, in 1914, won ownership of the water company. A water bond was passed August 26, 1914. However, appeals of the decision to the Idaho Supreme Court and intransigence by Murray delayed city possession until 1916. Water meters were installed shortly thereafter.
Meters and Annexation of Alameda
Some progress comes slowly in Idaho. In 1996, much of what had been the town of Alameda still did not have water meters in private houses, pursuant to an agreement made when Alameda was consolidated with Pocatello in 1962. The mayor of Alameda at the time was George Hansen, later long-time congressman and convicted felon. The annexation made Pocatello, for a short time, Idaho's largest city. Boise immediately annexed ground on its perimeter and regained first place.
Although many in
Idaho and even some in Pocatello, do not know this, the Portneuf River
area contains a great diversity of natural settings where birds and wildlife
may be seen through all twelve months. Glenn Ray Downing's 1991 book "Days
Out Of Doors" contains a year's cycle of vignettes on nature close
to Pocatello. Despite years of industrial abuse, the Portneuf Valley remains
a gentle and beautiful place.
View looking northeast from dance pavilion right South Lincoln St., 1922 or 1923. The photo must have been taken on a Sunday morning, as the streets are empty. Even so the lack of cars is remarkable. Perhaps residents were requested to move them? Perhaps streets were built first and the cars came later? Most of Pocatello's downtown buildings had been constructed. The Bannock Hotel is prominent in the middle of the view. The Union Pacific smokestack and power plant are in full operation. The smokestack, visible from all over town, still stands, unused, as a symbol of early days in Pocatello and the Union Pacific Railroad. The Center Street viaduct is in the middle of the view. Emerson School is in the lower right, with the Portneuf River behind it. Note that buildings have been constructed as close to the river as possible, with no allowance for the flood plain. Indeed, surveyed lots of the original Pocatello townsite, carved from the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in 1891, are strictly rectangular, parallel to the railroad. The original plat does not include the Portneuf River and many lots go across the river. As pointed out by Oscar Sonnenkalb, such an urban design without any account for the natural terrain could only have been done by the Federal Government from afar. Since the land was removed from the Indian Reservation, the Federal Government, rather than local business, determined how the city would be laid out. Sadly for Pocatello, this mistake was a permanent one. The river is now hemmed in not only by private property, but by a concrete flood control channel built to protect that private property.
Photograph by Cook Photography, Bannock County Historical Society Collection.