The week in eastern Idaho history

100 years ago

Idaho Falls Mayor George W. Edgington was back in town this week in 1917, holding the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army. Edgington’s return had been delayed on account of illness and official duties, but he was expected to stay until Dec. 13, when he was to travel to American Lake, Wash. There he was to be in charge of a company of the 363rd infantry. Edgington told the Idaho Falls Register he expected his unit to be in France by February. Edgington also said he planned to resign from the mayor’s office at the next scheduled council meeting. He would survive the war and in the 1920s he was a District Court judge in Idaho Falls.

75 years ago

The citizens of Howe were eager to do what they could to send the seven students at the Clyde School there to the launching of Idaho’s “Victory Ship.” As a reward for placing third in the state for the collection of scrap metal for the war effort, one student was entitled to attend the launch, but the town’s citizens felt it would only be fair to send all seven, as they had collected 47,141 pounds, more than three tons apiece. Community leaders wrote to Landon F. Watson, executive secretary of the Idaho salvage collection, who assured them that sending all seven would be fine if the money could be raised.

50 years ago

An atomic energy exhibit celebrating the 25th anniversary of the world’s first reactor was scheduled to end tonight in 1967. Sponsored by the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission and AEC contractors, the exhibit was held in the former Montgomery Ward building at Shoup Avenue and B Street. It featured a number of working exhibits reflecting the specialized research of the National Reactor Testing Station (now Idaho National Laboratory). The 25th anniversary was of the first chain reaction, sustained Dec. 2, 1942, on a squash court at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.

25 years ago

Thirty-three employees of EG&G Idaho took voluntary separation packages this week in 1992, not as many as the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory had hoped for but close enough to 40 that the company could avoid another round of cost-cutting layoffs. Volunteers came from several areas, including waste management, research, maintenance and the New Production Reactor. The workers were eligible to receive severance packages and were eligible for state unemployment benefits. EG&G had announced in October it would have to lay off up to 100 of its workforce of 5,200, to balance its 1992-93 budget. By November, new jobs within the company had been found for about 60 workers.

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