Historical Guide

A Treasured Past

Pocatello is a unique city, not only in the name it shares with no other, but because of its Downtown Historic District. This district is architecturally and historically significant and is one of the region's most diverse and well-preserved urban streetscapes. Founded in 1882 and named for a chief of the Shoshoni-Bannock Indian tribe, Pocatello began as a collection of boxcars and construction workers' tents on the Indian reservation where 40 acres had been set aside for the railroad. A special act of Congress on September 1, 1888, created the original town site and a temporary business district was developed.


Pocatello owes its foundation and much of its continued development to the railroad industry. With the construction of the Utah, Northern route in 1878 and the Oregon Short Line in 1882, Pocatello's future as a north-south junction point became assured. The appellation of "The Gate City" was acquired because of Pocatello's early importance as a junction point and rail route through the mountains.

 

The Old Town Historic District encompasses all or part of eighteen city blocks and is composed primarily of two and one-story commercial buildings. The primary building material throughout the district is brick, although hand-hewn stone and terra cotta were also used. The predominant facade line on the top of many second floors is accentuated by sheet metal cornice. A variety of architectural styles is represented in the district, including Gothic Revival, Romanesque Revival, Sullivanesque, and Art Deco, as well as many adaptations of early 20th century commercial styles with classical details rendered in either sheet metal or terra cotta.
For more Pocatello history, see the online edition of Rocks, Rails & Trails.

Alive Today

The historic buildings in Old Town Pocatello are alive today with activity.  With a collection of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and more, visitors to Old Town can experience our rich history with all of the conveniences of modern day living.  Come see for yourself!

Shop, Dine & Play in Old Town Pocatello

Old Town Pocatello, Inc.

420 N Main St

Pocatello, ID 83204

208.232.7545

spalagi@oldtownpocatello.com

News

Registration is now open for this year's "Rudolph's A Night So Bright" Christmas Parade

Hosted by presenting sponsor ISU Credit Union, the traditional Christmas parade will begin winding it's way through Old Town Pocatello on Friday, November 29th at 6:30pm.  Be sure to register your entry today by clicking here!

 

Small Business Saturday Candy Cane Event & Santa   

  November 30! 

Visit the shops and restaurants of Old Town to discover Candy Canes! To celebrate Small Business Saturday, 100’s of Candy Canes will be available as you shop, dine and play downtown. Some Candy Canes have a value, up to $100. The day will also feature visits and free photos with Santa at Station Square from 11am to 3pm. Throughout Old Town kids will enjoy cookies and milk, make-and-take crafts, and free trolley rides. It pays to shop small!

 

First Friday Art Walk

  December 6!

The December First Friday Art Walk will be held in locations throughout Old Town on Friday  December 6.  The festivities will begin at 5pm and will include local and regional art, live music, food, wine tasting and more.  Plan now to come stroll through Old Town and enjoy the charm of our monthly Art Walk!

 

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