“The cowboy factor seems to be a common thread in our daily life,” admits Margaret A. Barrett, director of the Bannock County Historical Museum.
“We like cowboy boots, horses, rodeos, guns, Country music and pickups (the dirtier, the better—it’s the Idaho dirt in our veins),” she says.
Barrett has lived in Pocatello, Idaho—population 54,000—since she was six months old. “Our ties to southeastern Idaho go back to the 1880s, when ancestors from Switzerland homesteaded a farm near St. Anthony, Idaho.”
The folks in Pocatello are “still connected to the neighbor-helping-neighbor approach to living that came west with our early settlers,” Barrett says, adding, “People here will make themselves available to help, even if it’s a stranger.”
Being the good neighbor that she is, here are some spots she recommends.
Good Cowboy Bar: The Green T has been in Pocatello for more than 70 years. It’s family friendly, with a separate bar and a dance floor.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Buddy’s is one of my favorites. I recommend Buddy’s salad with its signature dressing. Another favorite is Butterburr’s (Yes, named for the character in Lord of the Rings). The oatmeal pie is the best ever!
Best Bookstore: Try Walrus and Carpenter, which offers an eclectic mix of new and used books.
Historic Site Most Schoolchildren Visit: Fort Hall replica in Ross Park. Constructed in 1963, the replica of the 1834 fur trading post tells the history of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, fur traders and Oregon Trail emigrants.
Popular Local Event: The Pocatello Frontier Rodeo Association’s annual rodeo in April. It is now a stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Series sponsored by Justin Boots.
Event to Attend in June: The Portneuf Muzzle Loaders have a yearly rendezvous near McCammon, a few miles south of Pocatello, held this year on June 3-5. Traditional garb, guns, gear, contests and demonstrations are a great learning experience for anyone interested in our early history.
Avg. House Cost: $87,000.
Avg. Temps: Summer: 83-48; Fall: 47-25; Winter: 40-21; Spring: 75 to 39.
Preservation Project: A 1920s warehouse is being converted into the Museum of Clean, which will share the history of cleaning and its tools, some of which go back 2,000 years.