Printed on: December 13, 2012

LOOKING BACK

Bryce Glenn
Post Register

100 years ago

Plans were completed this week in 1912 for the transformation of the Odd Fellows Home in Idaho Falls into the city's first general hospital. An Idaho Register article lamented that few communities the size of Idaho Falls lacked a general hospital. Plans called for 20 private rooms and two wards and quarters for the nurses.

In national news, Kansas City lobbed perhaps one of the first salvos in "The War on Christmas" when officials banned Santa Claus appearances outside stores. "The practice of stores sending out men dressed out in Santa Claus regalia has become obnoxious," lamented Judge J.L. Carlisle. If he only knew.

75 years ago

Idaho Falls was briefly in the national spotlight this week in 1937 when a jeweler claiming to be from this city offered to become any woman's husband -- as long as she would pay his debts of $534.26. "I'm willing to love, honor and obey any woman who will pay my debts," said 35-year-old Albert T. Croft, who lived in Los Angeles. "My wife doesn't have to be pretty and she doesn't even have to know how to cook."

In Boise, triple-murderer Douglas Van Vlack avoided the gallows when he instead flung himself from the top of a cell-house beam to the concrete floor 30 feet below. Van Vlack -- convicted of murdering his ex-wife and two law enforcement officers near Buhl in 1935 -- was allowed to leave his cell to kiss his mother goodbye about four hours before his scheduled execution. Just after the farewell, he suddenly scaled the side of a cell in order to reach the beam. The 33-year-old made his death plunge about 30 minutes later after ignoring pleas to come down. "If they're going to get me, I'll beat them to it," he said. "This is just the way I want to die."

50 years ago

Idaho Falls business news was the flavor of the week in 1962 as Smith Chevrolet opened its new dealership center on Holmes Avenue and North Yellowstone Highway and Albertsons opened its 99th store on Holmes and 17th Street. Smith Chevrolet began service in 1920 -- making it one of the nation's oldest Chevrolet dealerships -- and operated for all but two of its first 42 years at its facility at C Street and Park Avenue. Albertsons first came to Idaho Falls in 1946, opening its fifth store on Capitol Avenue.

25 years ago

Beer-sellers in Idaho Falls were given the go-ahead this week in 1987 to sell 12-pack cartons of Bud Light that included Christmas imagery. The cartons in question displayed pictures of canine star Spuds MacKenzie -- a bull terrier touted by Budweiser as "the original party animal" -- in a Santa Claus suit. An Idaho Liquor Dispensary regulation prohibited the advertising of distilled spirits that depicted or made reference to Santa Claus or any Biblical character, but the agency said the regulation did not apply to beer or wine. The liquor regulation also prohibited references to Easter and Mother's Day, although Father's Day and Hanukkah were apparently fair game.