Looking back

100 years ago

District Court Reporter James O’Brien of Idaho Falls gained some front page recognition this week in 1919 for his rescue of a 9-year-old girl from the icy waters of the Snake River under St. Anthony’s Main Street bridge. According to the report in the Idaho Register, he was walking across the bridge when he saw two girls playing on the ice below. The ice where one of them was standing broke away and floated out into the stream, pitching the girl into the water. Upon seeing this, O’Brien scaled the bridge’s railing and dove into the swift current. Surfacing, he saw the girl had been carried several hundred feet downstream. Swimming hard, he reached her and carried her to gravel bar below the rapids, then carried her home The girl was later identified as Stella Fogg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Fogg of St. Anthony. As the townspeople tried to acclaim him as a hero, O’Brien got out of town and returned home to Idaho Falls, where he told no one about the incident. His friends only learned about it when Pat Williams of St. Anthony came to town and told them, the Register said.

75 years ago

This week in 1944 Idaho marked the passing of Harry “Captain” Guleke 80, the first known non-Native American to float the River of No Return. Guleke, of Salmon, had gained national recognition in the 1920s when he was featured in magazines as a guide on “the wildest boat ride in America.” He first shot the rapids in 1896, in a flat-bottomed barge about 32 feet long. Even before that, he had been carrying freight downriver by boat to miners in the canyon. A boat maker, he supervised the construction of a barge used by the National Geographic expedition of 1935.

50 years ago

Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Director Ernest C. Craner reported 87,000 gallons of water had been applied that winter to the city’s seven skating rinks, which shut down the third week of February when the weather got warm. Also that month, 34 picnic tables in the city’s parks were repaired and painted, bringing the year-to-date total to 81 tables and 17 garbage racks. Crews also began dismantling and painting playground equipment, and two truckloads of tree debris were hauled away.

25 years ago

Students at Challenger Junior High School got a shock March 14, 1994, when a man with a baseball bat burst in and threatened students. Located under the east stands at Ravsten Stadium, tensions had been building between students and residents across Tiger Avenue in the Arbor Court apartments. Police said the man never swung the bat, only yelled at some of the students. No charges were filed.

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

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