The week in eastern Idaho history

100 years ago

Blackfoot received the news this week in 1918 of the death in France of one of its sons, Lt. Stewart W. Hoover, son of Dr. and Mrs. C.A. Hoover. A graduate of West Point and the youngest American officer on the Western Front, Hoover, 22, was killed in a German raid on American trenches along with nine other U.S. soldiers. It was the first incident of hand-to-hand combat experienced by Americans. “It was hot work and the Dutch (Germans) were on three sides of us at once,” said one survivor, a private from Minot, N.D., who said he was by Hoover when he fell. “He died like a fighting man, with his face to the enemy and with his revolver in his hand, calling on us boys to do our best, and we did,” he said. The Idaho Register reported that Hoover’s body was likely to remain in France until the end of the war.

75 years ago

Idaho Falls Mayor E.W. Fanning announced this week in 1943 that he would seek another two-year term for the office he’d occupied since November 1940. Fanning’s was the second petition filed for the upcoming April 6 election, as Councilman Russell Freeman had announced he would seek another four-year term. Thomas Sutton, the other incumbent council member, had picked up a petition and had until March 6 to file. Fanning said he was filing “with full knowledge that undoubtedly the coming administration will meet many difficult problems which require the best thought and cooperation of the community to solve.” Sutton would later unseat Fanning as mayor for a two year term in 1949-50, but Fanning regained the seat in 1951 and held office until his death in 1956.

50 years ago

John Homer, chairman of the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce education committee, spoke this week in 1968 to the Civitan Club about the need for a two-year community college in eastern Idaho. Speaking at the club’s weekly luncheon, at the Stardust, Homer said Idaho Falls was the only city of its size in the Northwest without a community college. The issue would require a two-thirds majority from the college district, which included Bonneville County, and Homer said it was conceivable that it could be on the general ballot that fall.

25 years ago

About 45 people showed up this week for a meeting of the Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization to hear about federal money that was available for making roadways and bridges accessible and safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. To access the money, the planning group, made up if representatives from Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, Ammon and Iona, was required to develop a transportation plan. The March 4 meeting was the first step in taking public comment on the issue. Several people at the meeting showed up with copies of the 1981 bikeways plan.

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

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