Franklin County was established January 20, 1913 with its county seat at Preston. Named for the first settlement in Idaho, Franklin, which in turn was named for Franklin Richards, an apostle of the Mormon Church. The settlement began in Franklin county in 1860 with thirteen families.
County Clerk County Courthouse Preston, ID 83263-1234 Phone: (208) 852-1090 Fax: (208) 852-1094
Preston, Idaho is a real town located near the Utah border, and is predominantly Mormon. Since the release of Napoleon, it has become a tourist attraction of sorts, with the school, Preston High School, being a main feature. Preston held a Napoleon Dynamite Festival celebrating the film on June 24-25, 2005, and an estimated 6,000 people attended the two-day event. Napoleon T-shirts have also become somewhat hot commodities in 2005, selling at many stores that sell novelty shirts, such as Hot Topic. In April 2005, the Idaho state legislature approved a resolution commending the filmmakers for producing Napoleon Dynamite, specifically enumerating the benefits the movie has brought to Idaho as well as for showcasing various aspects of Idaho's culture and economy. The film also displays many quirky references to Mormon popular culture. Napoleon uses euphemisms like flip, gosh, and heck that are common in Mormon circles, as alternatives to swearing. (For Example: "What the flip was Grandma doing at the Sand Dunes?" or "Heck yes. I'd vote for you.") He wears a t-shirt that reads "Ricks College," the former junior college located in Rexburg, Idaho now known as BYU Idaho. In the DVD extras, there is an interview with Jon Heder in which he jokes that perhaps Napoleon and Deb may be "sealed for time and all eternity"—a reference to the Mormon belief in "eternal marriage" or "sealing" performed in LDS temples. The principal's reference to "Juarez"—where he assumes Pedro is from—may be a reference to Colonia Juarez, a Mormon colony in Mexico founded to evade U.S. polygamy laws in the nineteenth century. Characters, even those intended to be the popular girls, do not wear shorts any shorter than knee-length. Fashions in Mormon culture tend to be more modest than those of popular culture. Napoleon goes to Deseret Industries, a thrift store operated by the LDS Church to buy his infamous suit. At the same time, the director seems to have taken care to not project an overt presence of Mormon culture. Catholic crosses and statue images are placed prominently in some scenes, particularly at Pedro's house.
Driving through this little Idaho town, you may not even notice the historic streets beyond the highway/mainstreet of Frankin. But drivers who take a slight detour will be rewarded. Settled in 1860 by Mormon pioneers, Franklin is the oldest town in Idaho and will treat visitors to the sights of the past through its architecture. Travelers will notice the Relic Hall, ZCMI Co-op, the Hatch House, the old City Hall, and the Franklin City Park. Visitors may also find the distinct Pioneer Monument, a stone spire topped by an eagle that was erected in 1910 to honor the settlers of this territory. One of the last Yellowstone Markers is found here as well. These boulders featured an arrow welded to the top to point the way to Yellowstone National Park. As you continue your drive through Franklin, notice the hill to the west and its tribute to the year Franklin was settled.
PRESTON is Franklin County's largest city. Before the first house was built in Preston and when it was still a wilderness, LDS Church President Brigham Young and company were on their way to a conference in Bear Lake when he had his driver stop. President Young got out of the wagon near the present business district of Preston, placed his cane to the ground and said, "There will be a great city built here." (History of the Development of Southeastern Idaho, 1930). He was right! Preston began on that very spot. Now boasting a population of almost 5,000 folks, with an additional 12,000 in the County, wonderful shopping and recreation opportunities, and the best Rodeo in the West, you can see why Preston is the place to be! Preston was originally called Worm Creek when it was settled in 1888 because the waterways in the area resembled worms as they curved and wound their way through the countryside. (Another story relates that it was actually WARM Creek, because of the many hot springs in the area, but someone got it wrong and WORM Creek stuck!)
Bear River Massacre Site This now peaceful valley is the site of one of the most tragic meetings of two cultures that the state has ever experienced. At 1 am on January 29, 1863, an infantry of soldiers with all their weapons moved through the snow drifts into position to attack a band of 450 Shoshoni men, women, and children that had camped along the banks of the Bear River. The troops began the attack at the crack of dawn just as the Shoshoni were lighting their first campfires. The Shoshoni lost nearly 275 people due to this cruel attack of the California Volunteers. Oneida Stake Academy The Academy is a unique 3-story Romanesque stone building, constructed in the early 1890s. It is one of three, out of 35, similar surviving buildings from the days of Mormon Church sponsored education. Ezra Taft Benson was a graduate of this Academy.
Settlement at Oxford July, 1864, a company of explorers were sent to Idaho by President Brigham Young to located suitable places for settlements. The same year Noah Brimhall and John Boice built the first homes in Oxford. William G. Nelson, George D. Lake, and George D. Black were presiding elders until 1876, when William F. Fisher became the first bishop. Mr. Fisher, noted express rider, erected this building 1876 for his law and mercantile business. Oxford, one of the first settlements, was for years the main trading center north of Cache Valley.
Maple Grove Hot Springs is located along the Bear River at the North end of Oneida Narrows Reservoir in the scenic Oneida Narrows canyon in South Eastern Idaho. The hot springs are open every day 10 am -10 pm, year-round including all major holidays, offering three natural, therapeutic hot pools of varying temperature. Facilities include shower rooms and a kitchen for the use of all patrons. Outside food and drink is welcome, glass containers must be left at poolhouse. Campsites are available and can be reserved individually or in groups for parties and family reunions. There is also a travel trailer available to rent for the night if you prefer a bed to a tent. Riverdale Resort features a large outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs fed by natural hot water, including a therapeutic jetted tub. A hydrotube pool and children’s pool make this a good family outing. A gaming room and snack bar compliment the changing and locker
rooms. The resort has eight motel rooms with hot tubs in every room. Riverdale Resort is next to the Bear River in a very scenic valley five miles north of Preston at the intersection of state highways 34 & 36 Information at (208) 852-0266.
Cub River offers some great fly fishing. Most of the fish are cutthroat trout with some hatchery rainbow this is a catch and release area. Located between Preston and Franklin city turn on Cub River Road from Hwy 91.
Foster Reservoir: Rainbow trout, perch, bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass. Should be good for trout and fair for perch and bluegill. One mile north of Preston off SH 34 onto East Glendale Road.
Hawkins Reservoir: Rainbow trout. Located 10 miles west of the Preston-Logan exit off I-15 on Hawkins Road.
Johnson Reservoir: Rainbow trout, bluegill, largemouth bass. Good fishing for rainbow trout; fair for bluegill. Located 3 miles east of Preston on Oneida Road, just past Lamont Reservoir.
Lamont Reservoir: Rainbow trout, bluegill, perch, largemouth bass. Fair fishing for bluegill, perch and rainbow trout. Located 3 miles east of Preston on Oneida Road.
Oneida Reservoir: Walleye, perch and occasional smallmouth bass. Fair fishing for 12-14 inch walleye with occasional fish larger than 20 inches. Oneida Narrows Reservoir is used to generate electricity, it is open to the public for boating, fishing, swimming etc. There are 2 boat ramps, and camping available as well as a day use picnic area. Below the dam another 6 miles of Bear River provide great trout fishing in the beautiful Oneida Narrows. Drive from Grace or Preston on Highway 34 to the intersection with Highway 36, 5 miles north of Preston. Turn onto Highway 36 and drive east 3 miles (almost to the Bear River), turn north on the Oneida Narrows Road and drive 6 miles to Oneida Reservoir.
Treasureton Reservoir: Rainbow trout: This reservoir is managed for quality size trout. Located near SH34, 11 miles north of Preston.
Condie Reservoir: Bluegill, perch and largemouth bass. Access from SH 34, 8 miles north of Preston.
Twin Lakes Reservoir: Bluegill, perch, largemouth bass and rainbow trout: Good fishing or bluegill, fair for perch and rainbow trout The Twin Lakes Canal Company charges a daily entry fee to access the reservoir, $5 per vehicle. Access from Twin Lakes Road off SH91 north of Preston.
The Preston Hill Climb occurs every year during the Last Weekend in January. It is exciting and spectators can see some of the best snowmobilers in the country.
Snowmobilers Rise to Top at Yearly Preston Hillclimb
By Emilie H. Wheeler - The Herald Journal writer FRANKLIN COUNTY - It's “sheer competition” that brings Sid Zollinger to the hill each year. The Logan resident is one of almost 200 people from the western United States and one Canadian province who have gathered this weekend to participate in the Preston Pride Hillclimb. By the end of today, the fastest and most nimble snowmobile racers - the best of the best - will have risen to the top of their groups to receive their honors and prizes. For people like Zollinger, it's also a family activity. His four sons and two daughters-in-law were there Friday to race alongside their dad.
“There's a camaraderie among the racers,” said Zollinger, a past president of the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb Association.
The hill just northeast of Preston is one of the favorites, several racers said.
Not only is it always the first of about 10 hill climbs each winter, but it has “a little bit of everything,” said racer Rick Ward. Other people like the qualities of the hill, too.
“It's steeper than most of them, it's more challenging ... You get a longer run ...” listed Shawn Atkinson, one of this climb's organizers. Other hillclimbs include those in Montpelier, Idaho; Afton, Wyo.; Brianhead, Utah; Elko, Nev.; and Red Lodge, Mont.
The group has gathered for the past 15 years on the hill about five miles up Glendale Road north of Preston. For many of them, this is a way of life. A stock “sled” easily costs thousands of dollars, with just about any addition and betterment possible.
Tonya Weston, a Providence resident who has helped on the paperwork side of the races for years, said every Friday night of the races each year, people are fixing their sleds inside their trailers from earlier mishaps to get them ready for the next day. It's not unusual to see a few sleds a day be towed or dragged down the hill. The sport also averages about one person a day who has to be taken to the Franklin County Medical Center by the standby ambulance, organizers said.
Ward of Teton City, Wyo., has been racing since 1985. Well known around the snowmobile community for having the most “wins” - which are based strictly on the speed of a race - Ward said the atmosphere of the sport attracts him to it. “It's just a friendly sport for people,” he said. “It's just a bunch of good people and we're all good friends.” The race is divided into classes, depending on the machine's weight and characteristics. There are pro, semi-pro, juniors, womens and new member divisions. Approximately the top third of each class qualified to move on to today's races. Spectators are welcome to attend, and should dress for the weather. Those attending should follow signs onto Glendale Road and take $5 for parking.