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History of Pocatello, Idaho

Pocatello is named after the chief of the Shoshone Indian tribe who granted the railroad a right-of-way through the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, which lies north of the city. Now the hub of southeastern Idaho, Pocatello is at the intersection of highways I–15 and I–86. Pocatello is midway between Yellowstone National Park and Salt Lake City, Utah. Motorists traveling to Yellowstone go through Pocatello on all but the most northern route. Founded in 1889, Pocatello is known as “Gateway to the Northwest.” Thousands of trappers and gold miners, as well as pioneers on the Oregon Trail, traveled through the area to continue west along the Snake River, which borders the Indian reservation just before it bends west and heads for Oregon. Much earlier, Fort Hall was established as a trading post in 1834. Today the city, together with neighboring Chubbuck, is a bustling 70,000. It is steeped in history with two historic districts on the east and west sides, divided by the railroad tracks that brought the people who built the town. Five churches are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as several commercial buildings and residential properties. Downtown buildings, housing thriving businesses, display dates as early as 1892 and 1901. Visitors may obtain a walking tour brochure through the Chamber of Commerce or the Visitor Center. Pocatello is home to Idaho State University, known for its fine College of Pharmacy and one of the premier pharmacy research programs in the country. Also on campus is the Idaho Museum of Natural History where visitors learn about the dinosaurs and other ancient mammals that lived there millions of years ago. The museum collects, preserves, and displays objects relating to the natural history of Idaho and the northern Intermountain West. Near Yellowstone is the Pocatello Zoo in Ross Park, where they keep animals native to the northwest that are not always seen in the park. The Fort Hall Replica is there along with ample space for large group gatherings, and the city’s spiffy new aquatic center. Ross Park also is known for its natural lava rock climbing wall that is open to the public and offers frequent instruction programs through the city’s recreation program.