Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Author Archive


Ready for a little Trick or Treating? Beware! Goblins and beasties will be roaming the valley Saturday or Sunday, prowling on your doorsteps, begging for a sweet treat to take back and devour in the warmth of their abodes. Not a Halloween passes that we all don’t get a little nostalgic and hark back to years past and remember all that candy and the best costume ever.

Speaking of costumes, did you actually get to wear it on that creepy night of terror? Somehow, every year Halloween is the coldest, bone chilling night of the fall season. Most of us roamed the streets in snowsuits and often boots. A few of Arbon’s senior citizens gave me their versions of how Halloween was observed in the distant past. I (yes, I qualify and will claim senior citizenship) remember going all over the entire town of Malad, including the businesses. The new Star Theater gave out big candy bars. One particular year a bunch of teenage boys ran by and stole my friend’s pillowcase of candy and scared a week’s growth out of us. Some houses, my Grandma Lusk’s, you had to always sing and perform to get any treats. Waxing windows was about all of the mischief we accomplished.

One black night in Arbon three unnamed teenage boys had a paper sack full of manure. They placed it on Geina Newport’s doorstep, lit it afire, rapped on the door, and preceded to run. An accomplice to the crime was an unaware aunt who had given them a ride to the Newport residence (Anyone want to fess up?).

Eileen Estep remembers going trick or treating in Malad, but no one had specific candy for trick or treaters. You might get an apple from their tree or maybe a stick of gum.

Lamond “Buck” Bailey recalls in the 1930’s they didn’t go trick or treating but outhouse tipping. There was none of that sissysoaping windows. They would get a bunch of guys in a car and go around pushing over outhouses. Outhouses were usually just placed over a hole with some dirt shoveled up around the outside, so it wasn’t difficult to overturn the stinker. Buck told me outhouses also had a little birdhouse nailed to the roof or the sides. Bluebirds were the main occupants. The outhouses at the schools were prime targets: Highland in the south end, Arbon Central by Newports, Valleyview close to the LDS Church, and the Pauline School in its present location landed face down yearly. Buck’s father finally bolted two cedar posts on each side of their outhouse, because he was tired of taking time out to upright the hut. This yearly practice became almost impossible after the WPA program of the 1930’s gave out outhouses with cement bases making them very hard to push over.

Since I live in “downtown” Arbon, I get lots of trick or treaters. For many years I was getting 50 kids. Now that is counting a few 18 year olds who were unwilling to give up the yearly practice. I suppose they still might be out there somewhere in the blackness of the night. Now take heed, “ the goblins will get you if you don’t watch out”!

Fire in the Valley!


error ignited as fire swept over the hills in Arbon Valley at about 3:00 P.M. Saturday, August 21st. The fire started at the Lee Baily homestead and was quickly contained and thought to be almost extinguished when a spark from the fire jumped almost 800 yards to start a fire in the wheat stubble to the North.  High gusting

 winds spread the human caused fire straight into the adjoining CRP and stubble fields. Within minutes, tractors from all over the town were seen descending from the valley fields, water trucks were driving in from farm sites and meadows, and the county road crew was mobilizing to defend Arbon from the fire.

The valley’s farmers and ranchers were quick to move with tractors and discs, which helped to tear firebreaks in the thick sagebrush and grasses. The Power County road grader was also seen stripping a wide path of vegetation away from the huge flames exploding in cedars and sage.

BLM, planes, helicopters and Fort Hall firefighters were on the scene shortly after being notified of the blaze. BLM requested some homes be evacuated, including Frank and Loretta Johnson, Blake Johnson and daughter Cheyenne, and the Jake and Breanna Evans family. Jeff and Sheri Stewart and Renae and Willard Bradly were told to be packed and ready to leave as the fire headed toward Rattlesnake. However, all were able to return to their residences before nightfall.

The fire took a northeast path along the east side of the valley, heading up into the Rattlesnake area. Along the way to Rattlesnake it raced up several draws and canyons destroying all vegetation and cover. It’s unlikely that this good deer hunting area will recover for many years. One area rancher believes the fire to be much larger than reported by the local papers. By his estimate it burned 8,000 to 10,000 acres of land.

Thanks to the quick response of the neighbors and fire fighters, the fire was contained by Monday, August 23. Dying winds and a rain showers helped to quench and control the intensity of the blaze. BLM crews remained until Sunday August 29th at a fire camp set up at the intersection of England Road and Arbon Valley Highway to mop up hot spots and monitor any remaining problem areas.

Here is a collection of pictures taken by a few different sources.

The Forgotten Cemetery

Forgotten Cemetery


n Memorial Day 2010, one small purple iris was all that was paying tribute to past loved ones in this forgotten cemetery in Arbon. The flower, much like the homesteaders who came into the Arbon Valley, is unbreakable and determined that Arbon is worth the biting cold, the fierce winds, and the  hard work it takes to survive here. It is planted over the grave of a little girl, Lucille Danken Fredrickson, who was laid to rest November 19, 1914. Incredibly, this plant has survived on its own for nearly one hundred years.

This is not the main cemetery located off Bailey Road but a small acre of ground about a mile west of the Arbon School. The hallowed ground lies surrounded by CRP fields, belonging to the Estep and Adams families and has no public access road. It is a lonely hill seldom visited by anything other than gophers, rabbits, and an occasional coyote.

Many of the grave markers have rotted away, disappearing into the ground. One partial wooden grave marker still stands while another lies next to it in the grass. Both are washed clean by sun and weather. The last burial here was in 1939. Other markers and headstones, still in existence, date back to the 1920’s, and many belong to babies who succumbed in 1915 and 1916. A hand drawn map exists of others buried in the graveyard. According to the map 24 known people are buried on this hill. This cemetery is listed as an official cemetery in Power County, set aside for burying the dead and is not privately owned.

In the fall of 2009, Braden Campbell fenced, mowed the area, and installed a gate for his Eagle Scout project. He received help from adults, Ken Campbell, Stu Adams, and David Lusk. Members of his Scout troop, Eric Ward and Hank Fitch also helped in this endeavor. Many thanks go out to this group for repairing this memorial to the dead.

Spring found the cemetery looking as if it had green mown grass. Once again those family members who have loved ones resting here can be assured they are well-cared for and honored in their final resting place.



Nostrils are flaring as acrid smoke rises from the valley and stunned calves hobble off to find their mothers. Once again cowboys and cowgirls are heating up the branding irons for the annual branding of the calves.

Many in Arbon still brand the tired and true way of the West. Calves are roped, thrown down, and held in place awaiting the hot iron which will designate ownership of the calf. Neighbors all pitch in and help each other. Often city slickers attend making for an interesting day. There are those who believe they can keep their new white tennies clean by tiptoeing in manure. Some can’t stand the sight of burns, blood, and the never ending bawling of the calves, let alone castration! Which came up in a class discussion last week at high school.

Trying to keep a straight face and use school appropriate vocabulary, the discussion ensued. It all began with the vocabulary word castigate. After several mispronunciations it went to castrate and on to Rocky Mountain oysters. Very few in the junior English class knew what they were or why they are removed.

What are Rocky Mountain oysters? They are calf testicles that are removed to help the calf grow meatier and become more docile than the average bull. These calves are now known as steers. The oysters are peeled, washed, rolled in flour, and fried up in a pan . According to history this practice dates back to the Roman times and is presently considered an aphrodisiac in much of the world. And one bright boy told me they taste just like chicken! I wouldn’t know! Just in case your curious about such cowboy fare, many recipes can be found on the internet for your cooking pleasure. Bon appetit!

Standing on the Eastep

Where in the world is Arbon?

A rbon seems to be hiding in numerous places in Southeastern Idaho. Exit 52 on I-84, states this is the Arbon Valley Exit. This spot is not a valley. No mountains come together here, opening into a valley floor. Nevertheless, people living in Big Sky claim they live in Arbon. The infamous “casino” better known as Bannock Peak is said to be in Arbon.

Let a fire start anywhere between the Power County border and the Arbon Valley Exit and it will be reported as originating in Arbon. One one occasion, citizens of Arbon attending meetings in American Falls were told to rush home for Arbon was being evacuated because of fire. Family and friends called us on the phone concerned for our welfare because all the Idaho TV stations were reporting that we were on fire. The fire was actually in the wheat fields near the Sod Farm.

We hear about wrecks, fires, and notorious citizens of the valley being arrested and puzzle who they are and search the sky for smoke. Newscasters haven’t a clue. Heaven save us if an ambulance needs to come to the valley.

The Machaud Creek and Bannock Creek areas have faded into the sagebrush. Even though folks residing along these creeks do not lay claim to being citizens of Arbon.

The idea of 23 miles between the exit and the valley is incomprehensible to some people. If your house lies anywhere north of the post office, your address is listed as Pocatello. However, is the post office located in Arbon? Most of the natives would tell you it’s in Pauline. Some claim the official starting point of Arbon is the Church Road. I used to live ten miles south of there and still thought I resided in Arbon. But then where does it end??—— in Summit, Buist, maybe Crystal?