The week in eastern Idaho history

100 years ago

Joe Winkelbauer, better known around Idaho Falls as “Joe Bowers,” was on his way to Salt Lake City with Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal L.H. Smyth this week in 1917. A labor organizer for the International Workers for the World, Winkelbauer had been declared pro-German and was to spend the remainder of World War I in the prison camp for Germans. Idaho Falls Chief of Police Fred Erickson had arrested Winkelbauer about six weeks earlier and put him in the county jail, charging him with fomenting labor unrest. “A great deal of seditious literature and organization papers and reports found in his possession were used against him as evidence,” the Idaho Register reported. “He is a bright, intelligent man of about 35 years, well informed, and has no doubt been a source of menace to the country, as he was able to induce men less intelligent than himself that they were doing the right thing when they refused to work to increase food production. … With all due respect to government procedure, but had Mr. Winkelbauer been backed against the wall in the shelter of which he and his followers congregated in Idaho Falls and been shot to death in their presence, it would contribute in a large measure toward giving those who believe as he does, and act on his advise, a wholesome lesson in the fact that this country is in war, and all those not for us are against us.”

75 years ago

Though in its final stages of construction, the Idaho Falls LDS Temple was to be closed Dec. 20. David Smith, president of the North Idaho Falls LDS Stake said he had received a letter from the First Presidency of the church requesting the temple be closed until completely finished. Smith said the final inspection would likely be in March or April 1943, with dedication ceremonies to follow. Painters were to remain working inside, as well as workmen focused on interior decorating, carpeting and other finishing touches.

50 years ago

Grand Targhee Resort was seeking more stockholders at a meeting in Driggs this week in 1967. “Local control, it was pointed out, is necessary to get the Farmers Home Administration loan of $600,000,” the Post Register reported. To qualify for the loan, the company was on the hook to raise $100,000 from people in Teton, Madison and Fremont counties. Ray Peterson of the FHA told prospective shareholders they were in a position to capitalize on the long winters, and that there would be skiing on Fred’s Mountain several weeks ahead of other ski areas.

25 years ago

An Idaho National Engineering Laboratory project producing armor for M-1 Abrams tanks would continue production, but future work would depend on demand from the Pentagon. INEL spokesman Brad Bugger said the U.S. Department of Energy had $49 million to operate the Specific Manufacturing Capability project through Sept. 30. The previously classified SMC project had begin in 1987. Bugger said they would not know until January how much armor the Army would need in 1993, and that there were varying estimates.


Paul Menser is the author of “Legendary Locals of Idaho Falls.”


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