After Nevada, we continued briefly into Oregon before arriving at our destination of Idaho. While visiting with my mother, we still took some time to drive around and I found so many great signs and more! After wrapping up our visit, we drove into Utah before eventually arriving in Vegas. So today I bring you another installment of “I pulled over for this!”
John Baptiste Charbonneau’s Grave, Jordan Valley, Oregon
John Baptiste, fondly known as “Pomp” was the youngest member of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery when he was born to Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau on Feburary 11, 1805 at Ford Mandan in North Dakota. When Sacajawea passed away in 1812, John Baptiste was taken in by William Clark, and later traveled to Europe and Africa, learned German, French, and Spanish, and was welcomed by royalty. Upon returning to America he became a guide, interpreter, miner, an all ’round mountain man. Sadly when traveling to the newly found gold strike in Montana he passed away due to pneumonia on May 16, 1865 and was buried in a mass grave with five others.
Star Theater, 322 State Street, Weiser, Idaho Operational as live performance venue.
Home to the Illustrious Onion Skin Players, the Star Theater was built around 1917 as the Wheaton Theater for live performances. When a movie screen was added it became the Star. It is currently experiencing an ongoing restoration.
Weiser Auto Parts, 534 State Street, Weiser, Idaho. Undergoing construction.
Hungry Onion, 334 N. Main Street, Meridian, Idaho. Closed.
The Hungry Onion had been a staple of Meridian since at least the 1960s, but sadly it shuttered in December of 2021. A March 2022 Facebook post on their page made note that they had owned the property “outright since the 60’s” and cited rising costs and that they were “dealing with a limited amount of space and a 75 year old building” and other issues. They also expressed a desire to become a franchise chain. However they have since let go of their domain name, which seems like a bad business move if you ask me. The drive-in was also used in the 1980 film Bronco Billy starring Clint Eastwood.
Lowell Pool, 1601 N. 28th Street, Boise, Idaho. Temporarily closed.
South Pool, 921 Shoshone Street, Boise, Idaho. Temporarily closed.
Boise is home to two stunning streamline moderne swimming pools, designed by the innovative Westley Bintz, of Lansing Michigan. Bintz’s unique above ground, egg shaped pools took up less space than a traditional in-ground pool because the locker room area supports the pool deck, and because less excavation is required, they often cost less too. Eventually there were over 100 Bintz pools across the country. The pools in Boise opened in 1953 and enjoyed swimmers of all ages until COVID-19 hit and they were shuttered. Amid the pandemic there was concern if they would ever reopen. Thankfully Friends of Boise Historic Pools was formed and created a grassroots effort to save both, as Boise is the only city to have two Bintz pools still standing and of recent use. Friends of Boise Historic Pools triumphed in September 2022 when both pools landed on the National Register of Historic Places. The pools are still closed, as they are both in need of some updates, but they are at least saved! Sadly there are fewer than 20 of Bintz pools surviving.
When I arrived to take a photo of the Lowell pool, a woman walking her dog came up to me and asked if I was part of Friends of Boise Historic Pools, I said no, and that I had found the pool somewhere on the internet and had to see it for myself during my visit to see my mom. She introduced herself and she told me all about the efforts to save the pools, and when doing research I learned she was the founder and vice president of Friends of Boise Historic Pools! Talk about serendipity!
State Motel, 1115 N. 28th Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Fanci Freez, 1402 W. State Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Fanci Freez has served Boise residents since 1947 and has been regularly voted among one of the best places for ice cream and milk shakes. They even opened a second location in Meridian, but this is the original!
Boulevard Mo-Tel, 1121 S. Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho.
Built in 1938, this example of a classic roadside motor court was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. At some point the city purchased the property to become low income housing, and the Idaho Heritage Trust aided in restoring the neon sign.
Betty the Washerwoman, 1504 S. Vista Avenue, Boise, Idaho.
Originally built in the 1940s or 50s (sources vary) to catch the eye of passing motorists for a Maytag laundry, Betty has become a beloved icon of Boise. When Maytag left Cucina Di Paolo, an Italian restaurant, moved in and the public begged for Betty to stay. Since then she has donned new outfits monthly and even been made into a calendar with sales going to charity.
Artsmith’s Jewelry, 700 S. Vista Avenue, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Viking Drive-In, 3790 W. State Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Golden Star Restaurant, 1142 N. Orchard Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Somewhere, 3544 W. Chinden Boulevard, Garden City, Idaho. Operational.
Formerly the Ranch Club (which read “Ranch Club” in neon text above the smaller neon) opened in 1949, and was also featured in Bronco Billy.
Campos Market, 413 S. Orchard Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
With a sign like this, I suspect Campos Market was originally a bar. But I couldn’t find anything while digging. If you happen to know, let me know in the comments below.
Tiki Teriyaki Burger Time, 1273 S. Orchard Street, Boise, Idaho. Closed.
Burger Time opened in 1965, and Tiki Teriyaki took over five years ago, and closed in May of 2023. While the murals are not vintage, I loved them too darn much not to share!
Pioneer Tent and Awning Company Building, 598 Main Street, Boise, Idaho.
The Pioneer Tent and Awning Company was founded in 1900 and manufactured, you guessed it, tents and awnings, mostly catering to the miners of the area. In 1910 they had this building constructed, and they expanded to make covers for the new fangled automobile. The business shuttered in 1971, with the building being purchased and restored in 1974. You can see historic photographs in this YouTube video from KTVB7 News.
Pengilly Saloon, 513 W. Main Street, Boise, Idaho. Operational.
Holiday Motel, 401 W. Main Street, Jerome, Idaho. Operational.
Amber Inn Motel, 1132 E. 1000 S, Eden, Idaho. Operational.
Garden of Eden Traveler’s Oasis Truck Plaza, 1017 S. 1150 E, Eden, Idaho. Operational.
The Garden of Eden was en route to the Amber Inn Motel, and we only stopped to snap a photo of its amazing neon apple, but we didn’t need anything, so we didn’t step inside. Much to my disappointment when working on this post I found out there is another neon sign inside and a tree complete with snake of temptation!
East Park Motel. 507 E. Main Street, Burley, Idaho. Operational.
Charlie’s Cafe, 615 E. Main Street, Burley, Idaho. Operational.
Parish Motel, 721 E. Main Street, Burley, Idaho. For sale.
Safari Motel, 413 S. Main Street, Nephi, Utah. Operational.
Fillmore Motel 50 N. Main Street, Fillmore, Utah. Operational.
Avalon Theatre, 43 N. Main Street, Fillmore, Utah. Uncertain of status, it’s certainly not a theater anymore.
Spinning Wheel Motel, 65 S. Main Street, Fillmore, Utah. Operational.
El Bambi Cafe Truck Stop, 935 N. Main Street, Beaver, Utah. Operational.
Ron’s Chevrolet, 1095N N. Main Street, Beaver, Utah. Abandoned.
Arshel’s Cafe, 711 N. Main Street, Beaver Utah. Operational.
DeLano Motel, 480 N. Main Street, Beaver Utah. Operational.
Mels Drive Inn, 155 N. Main Street, Beaver, Utah. Operational.
Sleepy Lagoon Motel, 885 S. Main Street, Beaver, Utah. Abandoned.
Abandoned House, 885 S. Main Street, Beaver Utah.
Greenwood Feed, 1266 S. Main Street, Beaver Utah. Abandoned.
Sands Motel. 581 East E St. George Boulevard, St. George, Utah. Operational.
Larsen’s Frostop, 858 E E St. George Boulevard, St. George, Utah. Operational.
Frostop was a chain, akin to A&W, and this location opened in 1965. At one point it had a large root beer much sign that rotated. The chain went out of business in the 1980s, but some locations stuck around with individual ownership, such as this one. This location has changed hands several times, and closed in December 2021, but reopened in 2022.
If you choose to visit and photograph these locations, please remember to be respectful. Many of these signs are located on or near residences. I always abide by “No Trespassing” signs and use my telephoto to get close-up shots.
Want more from in and around these places? Check out the post below!