Southeast Idaho Historical Markers & Monuments
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Range WarsRange Wars
Franklin County
Historical Marker- #431- Armed cattle ranchers delayed farm settlement here for six years before a permanent farm community was organized in 1872.
This kind of conflict occurred in widely scattered western areas when farm crops displaced rangeland. Families of early farm pioneers still occupy holdings here that are well over a century old, although many of them finally have shifted from planting crops to raising cattle after winning their battle against early stock herders.
Bear Lake Bear Lake
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- Discovered in 1812 by trappers returning home from Astoria, Oregon, this valley and its large lake soon became an important fur trade center. Donald MacKenzie, Jim Bridger and a host of famous beaver hunters operated here. Two major summer frolics and trade fairs brought plenty of excitemet to Bear Lake in 1827 and 1828. Helping local Indians expel Blackfoot invaders, those trappers never forgot their wild festivals here.
Old Delta SedimentsOld Delta Sediments
Franklin County
Historical Marker- #432- Diverted into this valley by lava flows, Bear River deposited a huge, mostly red clay, delta here where it entered a vast inland sea that covered much of Utah. Some 14,500 years ago, its shoreline here suddenly went down about 80 feet following an enormous discharge into Snake River. From then on, it gradually receded to become Salt Lake. Bear River then had to cut through and erode its old delta, forming steep sides and gullies you see here today.
Cariboo MountainCariboo Mountain
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #433- Rising to an elevation of more than 9,800 feet, Cariboo Mountain has two of Idaho's highest Gold Camps.
Jesse "Cariboo Jack" Fairchild discovered gold high on Cariboo Mountain in August, 1870 and a mining rush from Utah followed in September. Production continued for two decades before the gold ran out. Millions of dolalrs worth of gold were taken from the gravels during that long period of successful mining.
Oneida StationOneida Station
Bannock County
DUP Historical Marker- #329- An act of Congress, approved April 1878, gave the Utah & Northern Railroad Co. permission to build a narrow gauge line through Marsh Valley. It reached Oneida by July of 1878, where the first station was built. The town attained a population of about 2,000 as it was the forwarding point for the Soda Springs area until the Oregon Short Line came to McCammon in 1882. First post office in this valley was established, Alma Hobson, postmaster. Oneida changed to Arimo honoring an Indian Chief.
Red Rock PassRed Rock Pass
Bannock County
Historical Marker- You are standing in the outlet of ancient Lake Bonneville. A vast prehistoric inland sea, of which Salt Lake is a modern remnant.
Covering over 20,000 square miles when it overflowed here about 14,500 years ago, its winding shoreline would have stretched from here to New Orleans if it were straightened out. This pass was deepened considerably when Lake Bonneville began to flow into Snake River. For a time, a torrent several times larger than the Amazon was discharged here. Finally, with a hotter, drier climate that slowly emerged about 8,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville gradually disappeared.
Bear River LavaBear River Lava
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #220- Until about 28,000 years ago, Bear River used to flow northwest from here through Portneuf Canyon into Snake River.
Then these lava eruptions blocked that route, diverting Bear River south into what now is Salt Lake. At that time a large inland sea -- known as Lake Bonneville -- covered much of Utah. Additional water from Bear River helped make it overflow into Snake River before a change in climate dried it up about 8,000 years ago.
Pioneer Mail RoutePioneer Mail Route
Franklin County
DUP Historical Marker- #61- This marks the trail of the first communication between Cache Valley and Bear Lake Valley known as the Shoshone Indian Trail. In 1864 mail was carried to Bear Lake on snow shoes, a distance of 25 miles over steep and rugged mountains from Franklin, through Cub River Canyon. In 1868 The Deseret Telegraph Line was extended from Utah to Franklin, Idaho, and in 1871 on to Paris, Idaho. The halfway house where the carriers camped was near this site. The spring supplied them with water.
John GreyJohn Grey
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #362- Discovered this valley in 1818 or 1819 while hunting beaver for Donald MacKenzie's Northwest Company Trappers.
An Iroquois leader - also known as Ignace Hatchioraquasha - he also explored Grey's River nearby in Wyoming. Aside from his trapping skills, he was noted for his unusual aptitude in fighting grizzly bears. After trapping in ths country for 20 years, he retired with his Iroquois band in 1836 to help found Kansas City, Missouri.
John Grey Soda Springs
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #158- In this area are a group of springs famous to Oregon Trail travelers, most of whom stopped to try the "acid taste and effervessing gasses" of the waters.
Earlier, fur traders often--less elegantly--called the place "Beer Springs" after one spring whose water tasted "like Lager Beer... only flat." Another, Steamboat Spring, made sounds "exactly resembling... a high presure steam engine. Both springs are now drowned in the modern reservoir, but others still can be tasted.
John BidwellJohn Bidwell
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #219- In 1840, John Bidwell began to assemble emigrants from Missouri to open a road to California; and a year later, he set out with a party of 69 Pacific coast pioneers.
When they reached here, August 12, 1841, half of his group decided to go northwest to Oregon instead. But his California crew turned south down Bear River to try a terrible route west of Salt Lake. So Joseph R. Chiles returned east in 1842 to find a practical California Trail across Idaho through Fort Hall and Granite Pass.
Hudspeth's CutoffHudspeth's Cutoff
Caribou County
Historical Marker- #161- In the summer of 1849, the California gold rush was diverted this way in search of a more direct route to the mines.
Stampeding 49'ers would try anything to save miles and time in their rush for California gold: the regular Oregon and california trails looped north of here to Fort Hall, but on July 19, 1849 Benoni M. Hudspeth led a party west from Soda Springs through rough country hoping for a more direct route through a gap 1.4 miles south of here. This immediately became the main road, though it saved far less than Hudspeth thought.
Bear River MassacreBear River Massacre
Franklin County
Historical Marker- #216- Very few Indians survived an attack here when P. E. Connor's California volunteers trapped and destroyed a band of northwestern Shoshoni.
Friction between local Indians and white travelers along this route led Connor to set out on a cold winter campaign. More than 400 Shoshoni occupied a winter camp that offered ideal protection in Battle Creek Canyon. But they suffered a military disaster unmatched in western history when Connor's Force struck at daybreak, January 29, 1863
THOMAS FORKTHOMAS FORK
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- #157- A bad ford gave trouble to wagon trains crossing this stream on the trail to California and Oregon in 1849.In that year, gold-seeking 49'ers developed a shortcut that crossed here.Then emigrants built two bridges here in 1850.But an enterprising toll collector came along and charged $1 per wagon, which was more than some could afford.Penniless emigrants, who had to make an eight-mile detour, cursed, while their richer companions comfortably clattered across both bridges.
SMITH'S TRADING POST SMITH'S TRADING POST
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- #159- In 1848, Pegleg Smith started a trading post on the Oregon Trail at Big Timber on the Bear River about a mile northwest of here.Some travelers called it Fort Smith, though it had only four log cabins and some Indian lodges.Packing a plow and tools from Salt Lake City, Smith (a mountain man who had to amputate his own leg 20 years before) tried unsuccessfully to raise crops.But he did a big business when the California gold rush of 1849 brought thousands past here.The 49'ers reported that he had many horses and cattle and was making $100 a day.
SMITH'S TRADING POSTMCAULEY'S ROAD
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- #456- Coming west with Ezra Meeker in 1852, Thomas McAuley decided to build a road to let emigrants bypass Big Hill.Worst of all Oregon Trail descents, Big Hill needed replacement.Eliza McAuley reported that her brother Tom fished awhile, then took a ramble...And discovered a pass by which the mountain can be avoided by doing a little road building. With an emigrant crew, he opened a wagon toll road that followed current Highway 30.After 1852, no one maintained the new route and it fell into disuse.
BANK ROBBERSBANK ROBBERS
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- #446- On Aug. 13, 1896, Butch Cassidy and his infamous Wild Bunch of gunmen invaded Montpelier's banks and scooped up more than $16,500 in gold, silver and currency.Leaving a surprised cashier and his terrified customers, they calmly rode away.A deputy sheriff who borrowed a bicycle to pursue them up Montpelier Canyon was quickly outdistanced.Cassidy never was caught, but Bob Meeks was imprisoned until 1912 for helping in Montpelier's great bank robbery.
BRITISH SETTLERS BRITISH SETTLERS
Bear Lake County
Historical Marker- #319- Most early Bear Lake settlers came from Britain.Ann Elizabeth Walmsley Palmer was the first woman convert to the LDS Church in Europe.Born in Preston, England, August 24, 1806, she was baptized July 30, 1837.An invalid, she was carried into the water, but walked out unaided.After coming to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1842, she drove an ox team to Utah in 1849 and settled there in 1863.She died here November 2, 1890.Through faith she gained the strength to overcome trials and to achieve triumphs.
LAVA HOT SPRINGS LAVA HOT SPRINGS
Bannock County
Historical Marker- #16- Long before white men discovered these springs, September 9, 1812, Indians gathered here to use the free hot water.Except where they found hot springs, prehistoric Indians had a hard time getting hot water. They wove water-tight baskets into which they put heated rocks.Here they had plenty of hot water for baths and for processing hides without going to all the work of heating baskets. This was one of their major campgrounds, especially in the winter.After 1868, when they began to stay mostly on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, this spot lost its importance as a winter camp
Utah & Northern RailwayUtah & Northern Railway
Franklin County
Historical Marker- #257- One mile south and directly west of this highway, an old 1878 railway grade, still is visible, although trains have not used it since 1890.
Jay Gould -- a nationally prominent financier and Union Pacific owner -- extended Utah and Northern service north from Franklin to Montana by 1880. A narrow gauge line until 1887, it helped build up Cache Valley and accounted for many new Idaho cities and towns farther north. But small, woodburning locomotives had a hard time ascending this hill. After a more direct route 4 miles west of here was completed, service north of Preston was abandoned on this grade. .
AMERICAN FALLS
Power County
Historical Marker- The town is named for the nearby falls of the Snake River, a famous landmark for fur trappers and early Western travelers.The Oregon Trail passed close to the falls, which had been named in contrast to Canadian Falls now known as Shoshone Falls 95 miles downstream.The town of American Falls was founded when the railroad came in 1882 and served a ranching area. An important power dam was built in 1902.When the present large irrigation dam was built in 1925-27, the town had to be moved out of the reservoir area.
More than two decades before the Amercan Falls Dam was built, water power was generated in a series of plants at American Falls.Starting with an island plant to serve Pocatello in 1902, this superlative site was used soon after as long transmission lines were developed.As new kinds of turbines and generators were invented, they were installed here. Rare examples of old technology still are preserved in these landmark plants.
OREGON TRAIL
Power County
Historical Marker- You have just crossed a small canyon that Oregon Trail emigrants regarded as their most dangerous exposure to Indian hostility.After 1854, they had good reason to be alarmed.Wagon traffic had ruined important traditional Indian trails.Thousands of oxen, horses, sheep and cattle had overgrazed a broad zone along their trail, leading to Indian resentment.Worse yet, a few emigrants had shot enough Indians to provoke a great deal of bitterness.On August 9, 1862, Pocatello's Shoshoni band resisted further wagon traffic here, trapping a small emigrant party in a deep gully.An unusually fine stretch of wagon tracks leading to that site can be reached by a marked trail from here.
EMIGRANT TRAILS
Power County
Historical Marker- Early California and Oregon trail ruts, left by thousands of emigrant wagons as they ascended this bluff, are still visible below this viewpoint.In 1859, F.W.Lander's wagon road builders dug an improved grade that shows more clearly.California traffic, for which Lander constructed a better road, diverged from this Snake River route to Oregon just beyond Raft River, six miles west of here.When they got up this grade, emigrants were thankful that they had passed 20 miles of bad road and that a less demanding trail lay ahead.
TAYLOR'S BRIDGE
Bonneville County
Historical Marker- A landmark toll bridge spanned the Snake River at this rocky site in 1865, replacing the Eagle Rock Ferry, nine miles upstream.James Madison Taylor (a relative of Presidents Madison and Taylor and a founder of Denver, Colorado) settled here in 1864 to develop an improved route for his freight line from Salt Lake to Montana's new gold mines.After his bridge was built, telegraph service reached here, July 16, 1866, and Eagle Rock (as Idaho Falls was known until 1890) became a regional transportation center.A railroad bridge was built adjacent to Taylor's Bridge in 1879.
ELEPHANT HUNTERS
Bonneville County
Historical Marker- Early day big game hunters, who occupied lava caves around here more than 12,000 years ago, had a diet that included elephants, camels and giant bison.When a gradual change to a warmer, drier climate made local grasslands into more desert, the elephant herds left for cooler plains farther north.But 8,000 years ago, bison still were available here.Indians continued to hunt buffalo on these plains until about 1840.Then they had to go to Montana for their hunting trips.
BIG BUTTE
Bingham County
Historical Marker- Towering 2,500 feet high, two overlapping rock domes form a 300,000-year-old butte that dominates this lava plain.After a hot flow of molten rhyolite (acidic rock) boiled up through older lava, a second rhyolite dome pushed up a block of earlier basalt on its northwest side.They took many thousands of years to reach their present shape, but geologically, they are very recent structures.
Massacre RocksIdaho's Oldest Town
Franklin County
Historical Marker- #23- Franklin was settled April 14, 1860 by Mormon pioneers. The free local museum exhibits a large collection of tools and relics of pioneer days
The founding of Franklin was part of a well organized plan of Mormon expansion. Church authorities sent the colonists under Thomas Smart from Provo, Utah. Men of many trades were included in order to make the community self-sufficient. From 1874-1877, Franklin was the busy terminus of the Utah Northern Railroad where freight for the Montana mines reloaded for the long wagon haul north.
The Battle of Bear River The Battle of Bear River
Franklin County
DUP Monument- #16 fought in this vicinity January 29, 1863 Col. P.E. Connor, leading 300 California volunteers from Camp Douglass, Utah, against Bannock and Shoshoni Indians guilty of hostile attacks on emigrants and settlers, engaged about 500 Indians of whom 250 to 300 were killed or incapacitated, including about 90 combatant women and children. 14 soldiers were killed. 4 officers and 49 men wounded, of whom 1 officer and 7 men died later. 79 were severely frozen. Chiefs Bear Hunter, Sagwitch, and Lehi, were reported killed. 175 horses and much stolen property were recovered. 70 lodges were burned. Franklin County Chapter, Daughters of The Utah Pioneers Cache Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America, and Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association.
Hatch HouseHatch House
Franklin County
Historical Marker- In 1874, Bishop L. H. Hatch built a mansion that has been preserved as a fine example of pioneer Idaho architecture.
Idaho's only railroad, serving Montana's thriving mining camps, reached here that year - a time of depression between gold rushes, when Franklin was Idaho's largest city. Two years later, rail construction resumed, and freighters moved on. But Hatch's elegant house remains as a reminder of a bygone era.
Settlement at Oxford Settlement at Oxford
Franklin County
DUP Monument- #55 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.
Bannock County Company
Twin SpringsTwin Springs
Oneida County
Historical Marker- This was a major campground in the days of the California Gold Rush after Hudspeth's cutoff brought the trail here in 1849. Except in the wet seasons, there was no water for 22 miles to the east. Parties often had to travel late into the night across rough country to reach these two great springs and avoid the hardships of a dry camp. You can still see their trail winding up the hill to the west.