Looking back

100 years ago

Idaho Falls’ Colonial Theater hosted the legendary John Philip Sousa and his band this week in 1921. The Dec. 7 performance was the only Idaho stop the March King made on his tour of the West, which meant people from far away as Boise were hot for tickets. In Pocatello, a special train was scheduled to make a trip north, picking up passengers in Blackfoot. While Sousa’s music is still widely heard at Fourth of July celebrations and in school auditoriums, his name is not as widely remembered today. In his day, however, his civilian band, formed in 1892 after he left the Marine Band, performed an estimated 15,000 concerts in 40 years. Sousa’s March 1932 obituary in the New York Times remarked that his tours were “considered to have contributed toward the furtherance of musical education in the nation.”

75 years ago

Expansion of the Idaho Falls municipal airport moved forward this week in 1946 with the completion of two metal hangars capable of housing 12 planes. City Engineer Claud R. Black estimated that the two 34-by-174-foot buildings cost $22,000 to build, including materials, labor and installation of concrete flooring and the aprons connecting them to the runway. “The hangars will be transferred to the manager of the airport, who will arrange for rentals,” Black told the Post-Register. “Small planes will be stored in the new hangars, enabling storage of larger ships in the commodious log hangar built at the airport several years ago and now used by Intermountain Skyways.” Black said that under Civil Aeronautics Administration regulations, Empire Air Lines had to store its planes under cover in overnight stops. The large hangar would also be available to Western Air Lines.

50 years ago

The Idaho Human Rights Commission announced this week in 1971 that it was allying itself with 25 eastern Idaho teenaged boys who’d been kicked out of two high schools for violating long hair codes. The commission, through Deputy Attorney General Don Knickrehm, asked Idaho Falls School District 91 and Bonneville School District 93 to readmit the students, on the grounds that they were discriminating against boys since the short-hair requirements are not made of girls. Knickrehm said the commission was likely to schedule hearings in Idaho Falls on the matter before long.

25 years ago

With the ballot a month in the past, financial information about the November 1996 initiative to overturn the 1995 agreement between the state of Idaho, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Energy was beginning to come to light — specifically that Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Co. spent more than $200,000 to preserve the deal. The Associated Press reported that the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory contractor had contributed $160,000 to Get the Waste Out, with another $38,000 spent on the services of Boise attorney Roy Eiguren and consultant Marc Johnson. “Overall, the campaign committee and Lockheed combined to spend more than $517,000 to turn back the initiative supported by Stop the Shipments,” the report said. Based on its own post-election reports, Stop the Shipments spent $430,000 in its bid to overturn the deal, which lost by a 2-to-1 margin. Actor Bruce Willis alone contributed $126,000 to the effort.

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

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