St. Anthony History

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St. Anthony was founded by C.H. Moon in 1890. He established his home on the corner of Main and Bridge streets where Tony's Mini-Mart is located. Soon after two other families came to this spot by the name of Ross and Wyath. It was decided by Moon to name this spot St. Anthony after the name of St. Anthony Falls, Minn.

For many years this spot was known in the Snake River Valley as " Moon Corner." Ross and Wyath became owners of much land below Parker which was known as the "Ross and Wyath Ranch" and now is called Egin. Shortly after Moon came to this location. Fremont  County was created, including everything north of Idaho Falls, Madison, Jefferson, Clark and Teton counties at one time were part of Fremont County.

When Fremont County was created it became a question where to locate the county seat. It was agreed that St. Anthony should temporarily be the county seat but that Rexburg should have the officers. This was to extend five years and them come to a vote, requiring two-thirds of the votes to establish the county seat. It was voted that St. Anthony should thus be it. Two years later another election was called, but again the people decided to keep the seat in St. Anthony.

The railroad came to St. Anthony in 1899. Our former governor, Charles C. Moore, arrived in this city on the first train that reached St. Anthony. Shortly after Moore arrived, H.G. Fuller came to make his home here, as did Gusta Fletcher and her sister, Susan Fletcher. Gusta Fletcher became the first superintendent of Fremont County schools. Moore and Fuller taught school at the old schoolhouse, which is where the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall is located.

Susan Fletcher taught school on the south side in a small building where the South Side School was located. The school was were the U. S. Highway 20 overpass is now. At that time the Bartlett Opera House had been erected in the spot where the Fremont Motor Co. where Sykes Machine is today. The Opera House a few years later burned down. A schoolteacher whose name cant be recalled taught school in this building,as neither of the buildings mentioned was large enough to handle nine children.

Shortly after, the old rock schoolhouse was built where the South Fremont Senior High school is today. It had four rooms and was plenty large enough for all students.

Moore continued teaching until 1902, when he was elected county representative. He became chairman of the Appropriations Committee and in 1903 introduced a bill that brought the State Industrial Training School to St. Anthony. In 1903 the cornerstone was laid at this institution by Charles C. Moore.

The first superintendent of the Industrial School was H.G. Humphreys.

In 1901 Miller Bros. organized and opened up the Miller Bros Grain Co. This burned to the ground a year later, but rebuilt and meant much to this country. Fred C. Sturdevant became connected with this company at this time. Short after St. Anthony was located, a U.S. Post Office was opened in the building where Penny Stanford's law office is today. M.J. Gray was the first postmaster in St. Anthony.

James G. Guinn became the first mayor in St. Anthony and served several years and at other times as mayor. Mr. Guinn became the second judge of this district.

The Presbyterian Church was the first church to open in St. Anthony and was located at the site where it now stands. The Rev. Wilson was the first pastor. Next was the Methodist church, located where Sidney Nielsen and Sons once had their establishment on the south side. This site also was torn down to make room for Highway 20. Rev. Hoffman became the first pastor.

The Mormons then started their organization in a small log building on Main Street with William Carbine as the first bishop. Shortly after they built a small church on the south side west of where Gary's Auto Body is today.

Then came the Catholic, Episcopal and the baptist churches. The Baptist church was located near where Roger and Dolores Marlowe live today and burned down many years ago. The Episcopal Church was located where Farm Bureau Insurance is today on East Main Street. As near as can be learned, the Catholic Church is located where it has always been from the time it was built.

In 1908 the first Civic Club was organized in St. Anthony known as "The Copus Club." Mr. Truex then manager of J. C. Penney Co., became the first president. Two years later it was changed to what was known as the Boosters Club.

It was at this time that 200 men, mostly businessmen from St. Anthony, dressed in white pants, dark coats, gray high hats and carried white umbrellas. Headed by the Industrial School band and with Mr. Fitzgerald the leader, they marched into Idaho Falls on the round-up days and surely put St. Anthony on the map. The key to the city was turned over to Charley W. Scott, Boosters Club president.

Also during those days, every business in St. Anthony closed it's doors every Wednesday at noon and a real day of rest and enjoyment was spent. Each town had its local ball team which played other teams.

They also enjoyed what was known as "The Foolish Day" each Labor Day. It was about this time that the Idaho Industrial School started, with the assistance of the businessmen, to honor and celebrate Flag Day at the school each June 14. Sports were enjoyed by the students and all partook of a fine barbeque, prepared and handed out by the school.

In the years to follow, the Boosters Club turned into what became the Chamber of Commerce. Later appeared the Kiwanis and Lions Clubs.

In 1911 the first picture show,, a silent picture was shown in the room east of the Riverside Hotel, Mr. Snyder being the owner. In 1913, the Gray Opera House was built where Housley Pumps is today. At first it just showed road shows, then later went into the picture show business.

In 1909 the Yellowstone LDS stake was organized with Daniel G. Miller sustained as stake president. Elders George F. Richards and David O. McKay of the twelve effected the organization at Parker, St. Anthony was selected as the headquarters for the stake. The first stake conference was held in the Bartlett Opera House in March 1910, with Elder Rudger Clawson of the council of twelve being present.

On July 24, 1910. The first Mormon pioneer celebration in St. Anthony was introduced with William M. Hansen as the promoter. The following 34 years Hansen served part of the time as general chairman, but every time as marshal of the day.

About 1907 St. Anthony had the three largest department stores this side of Pocatello. They were Skalet & Gilman, Fogg & Jacobs and The Flamm Co. Skalet & Gilman was located on the corner of the intersection of North Bridge and First North streets. Fogg & Jacobs had just completed the building where the St. Anthony Starch Factory was operating. It was torn down for Highway 20. The Flamm Co. was doing business in the building known as Club Billiards and the former China Clipper Cafe, also the full basement under where Robert Fisher's office is located. Today these buildings are the New Life Christian Ministries and the southern dining room at the Silver Horseshoe.

In 1910-1912 the Yellowstone LDS tabernacle was erected.

In 1918 our good townsman, Honorable Charles C. Moore, was elected lieutenant governor, which position he filled two terms, then was elected governor of the state and served two terms- in all served in the Statehouse eight years.

Until the County Courthouse was built in 1909 the county office was in a small frame building where Nels Sahl's law office is today. Those buildings were sold at the time the courthouse was completed.

The city park was established and improved in 1916 under the direction and encouragement of Frank L. Soule. During the flu epidemic in 1917-1919, the first hospital was established in St. Anthony. It was in the large, white, square two story house on the way to the Industrial School. The building now is a duplex apartment building located across the street and west of where Jerry and Maxine Edgington live today. 

Later the building owned by Wrights Wocelkas and today by Ken Matthews as an apartment house near the Sand Bar was built as a hospital and served until 1932.

In 1928 there were two show houses operating in St. Anthony - The Rialto by Nell Schreiber and The Rex by William M. Hansen. The Rialto was the first to bring to St. Anthony the " Talkies."

The Rialto Theater was operating where the Hansen Funeral home did business in 1963 and where First Security Bank is today. The Rex Theater was located where Fremont County Herald-Chronicle is today.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Fremont County Centennial Edition , Thursday, March 4, 1993