Friday, August 26, 2011

Shelley Idaho Memories

An old neighbor and high school classmate recently shared a digital library of photos and information about Shelley, Idaho... the community where I grew up.  This is an image from that library that brings back memories.  It's the old Shelley First Ward Chapel.  I remember going with my mom to Relief Society quilting bees and laying on my back under the quilt watching the needles create their designs.  And I remember being so sad, almost violated, and crying when the building was torn down and replaced with a newer model of chapel.

Other classmates shared more pictures of old Shelley:

An aerial shot of the Shelley City Park circa 1960.  The roadway along the right edge of the picture is the highway that went into Idaho Falls northward and Blackfoot going south.  For the few blocks of downtown Shelley, it was also Main Street.

From the northwest corner of the park, just off center in the photo at the end of that long line of Cottonwood trees, you can see my old house on Oak Street.  The white one on the corner belonged to Edith Hanks.  We lived in the next one, also white, until I was 8.

And the old library in the log cabin at the park... one of my favorite places in the whole world!  There were tables and chairs just the right size for kids painted a green somewhere between lime and mint in my memory.  Books were checked out by noting the titles on a steno pad and during summer break from school there was a reading contest.

The merry-go-round in the foreground was another source of fun times.  You could get on when it was at a dead standstill and "pump" by leaning in and out to get it going.  Pretty soon it was creaking like crazy and going so fast that gravity nearly pulled you off!  I also remember trying to stand in the center while it whirled round and round.  All of the playground equipment was in a line along this edge of the park and it was all metal equipment set right into the grass.  Next was a slide where, in the heat of a summer's sun, many of us kids left burned off skin from the backs of our legs.  Then a swing set where we'd dare each other to swing the highest and jump from the swing at the peak of the arc.  I also remember the monkey bars and a big fire pit.  Sadly, I understand that all of this is gone now.

Before the house on Oak Street, I lived in this one.  It was a school house (first one maybe in Shelley) converted into 2 living quarters.  We lived downstairs and my grandma Clarke lived upstairs.  I remember helping her make Potato Chip Casserole and Peanut Butter Cookies in that little kitchen.

Shelley has a history of schools burning.  The old Junior High burned during the last week of school the year before I started there.  Conveniently, the school board was in the process of deciding what to do with it as the new building was nearing completion in the field behind.  Years later, after the schools had been shuffled and the building where I attended High School was being used as a Junior High, it also burned at the same time the school board was meeting to decide what to do with it because a new building had been erected.  Surely an odd coincidence of timing for that happen twice in such similar circumstances.

And while this last photo was taken a bit before my time, that is very much the way I remember Main Street.

They say you can never go home.  In some ways that's true.  Shelley has changed very much from the nostalgic, almost Saturday Evening Post illustration worthy, place of my childhood.  But finding this treasure of old photos and remembering makes me feel like I've gone home.

Photo credits:  First Ward Chapel, Old Frame School and Spud Day in the 1950s from the North Bingham County District Library collection as presented on the digital collections from the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.  Aerial view of Shelley City Park from private collection of Dana Mallard.  Log Cabin Library from private collection of Val Carson Darrington.  Junior High Fire scanned clipping from The Shelley Pioneer.


Rey Thompson said...

Nostalgia overload for me. Glad for the memories, need to sail on through the present. Thanks!

The Secrest Family said...

Hi Kathy! I just came along your post over the Internet! The White House that use to be a school house is that located on South Park!? If so we just bought it!!!!!!

Kathy Burton said...

Wow! Congratulations on buying your home!! I *think* it is Park Street... I haven't actually been in Shelley for 20-some odd years so things like street names aren't all perfectly clear. When I lived there the upstairs was an apartment with an outside entrance on the street side of the house. My Grandma Clarke lived up there. It's the first place I remember eating her Potato Chip Casserole that I wrote about here:

The Secrest Family said...

It's on the corner of locust and S park ave! It's now blue and only has a lower porch now! But I really believe this is the same house!!!! My grandma makes a version of potatoe chip casserole also but with macaroni noodles and canned chicken!!! My husband(from Dallas) is now a lover of potato chip casserole!

Kathy Burton said...

Corner of S. Park and Locust sounds right to me... so I bet it is the same house! Fun to find some history about it, isn't it? And amazing how a home can change over the years!! I'm still trying to imagine it painted blue and without the upstairs porch(es)- there used to be almost identical porches front and back. I hope your family is very happy there and that you enjoy everything about the house, neighborhood and community!

The Secrest Family said...

I'll have to somehow get a picture of it to you! How could I do that? I'm not very good with the computer! Haha! I love that there is so much history behind this home! It's so neat! And we are super excited to be a party of Shelley's community! We have always been enticed by the little home town feel!!!

Kathy Burton said...

When you comment, isn't there an option below where it says "Choose an identity" to email follow-up comments? You could just attach it to an email that way.

Or, you could post on the Facebook Page where [sometimes] there's additional stuff that never makes it to the blog:

The Secrest Family said...

I posted a pic on your Facebook! It's the only one I have since we haven't moved in yet! I'll try to get one once we move in at the same angle the picture of the old house was!

Kathy Burton said...

I just did a blog post showing the two pictures together to show the contrast. If you'd like a link to your blog, just give me a holler and I'll edit one in. :)

Connie brown said...

So bizarre. My mom and I were thinking about traveling back to Shelley for the heck of it. I meant to google 'maps' but hit 'images' by mistake. Almost the first thing I see is my old house! It's 305 So. Park corner of E Locust. My family lived there from 1976 to 1980 when I graduated from Shelley High School (go Russets!). We converted from the two apartments to a single family home. There were two upstairs balconies. My room was the top left in the picture. That door was in my room. Lots of sleepovers on that balcony in the summers. We also owned the small house to the south. There was a weeping willow tree in the front, we planted pine trees along Locust, and there were huge beautiful lilacs along the east property line. Oh ya ... And asparagus grew wild in the irrigation canal behind our garage. Enjoy your new home!