Take A Stroll Through Old Town Pocatello!
From specialty shops to fine dining, Old Town is a magnet for people looking for a unique experience. Clothing, antiques, housewares, sporting goods, art galleries and other stores make Historic Old Town a destination for shoppers. Places to eat, serving everything from subs to fine international dishes, stand side-by-side with bars, coffee shops and bakeries. For those who want to be pampered, there are day spas, beauty salons and candy treats to ease the hustle-and-bustle of 21st century life. Banks, architects, lawyers, accountants, and doctors round-out Old Town’s business community. All this amongst the beautiful historic buildings that speak of the past and create the perfect ambience for a unique experience.
Take a stroll through Old Town and you will see beautiful window displays, one of a kind items, and local shop keepers that will welcome you into their stores. Below are a couple of site-seeing, shopping and dining ideas we think you will enjoy! This stroll begins and ends at the Old Town Pavilion.
Literary Pavers – As you walk through Old Town, take time to read the “Literary Pavers” located in the sidewalks along the way. These pavers have been commissioned by the Pocatello Arts Council and feature poems, prose and writings by local writers and artists.
Ghost Signs – An example is the “Rolled Oats” sign across from the Old Town Pavilion (9). Ghost signs are a piece of the past. There is much discussion about how to preserve these pieces of art and advertising. Some believe sealing and leaving them as is would be the best approach. Others believe re-painting and bringing them back to their original color then sealing is best. Old Town has ghost signs throughout our area. As you walk, how many can you count?
Gate City Boxing Building – The historic Miller Building is currently home of Gate City Boxing Club. The façade of the building was the 2012 Operation Facelift project. A combined effort of 20 organizations and businesses including the Bannock Development Corp, Eastern Idaho Development Partners, the City of Pocatello, the Historic Preservation Commission, Old Town Pocatello, and Myers Anderson Architects and over 500 volunteer hours brought a complete transformation for this building. The storefront was completely replaced, the building was painted and art was hung during an intensive 11 day project. Pocatello won the “Most Improved Community Award” for this year’s Operation Facelift Challenge.
Pocatello’s only outdoor art gallery is located in Old Town on the corner of N. Main St. and W. Lander. The High Winds Gallery features large framed pieces by local artists. The pieces change quarterly with the seasons. The gallery was made possible by the Pocatello Arts Council, Stan & Sharon Gates, Doug & Kerry Harmon, Old Town Pocatello, Inc. and our talented local art community.
Pocatello High School and Old Town’s sustainable garden (7) The high school of course is a gem in the Old Town area. The original high school was built in 1892. Twenty-five years after a major fire in 1914, the building was rebuilt in 1939 as a W.P.A. effort. In 2004 the large gymnasium was built and the school was remodeled. The gardens surrounding the school’s parking lot, on Arthur Ave., Main Street and Fremont Street, were planted in 2008 in a combined effort between the City of Pocatello, Old Town Pocatello, School District #25, the Pocatello Tree Commission and the Ifft Foundation. The project included the planting of 59 trees and over 2,200 varieties of plants and grasses. Today the gardens serve as a nursery in the spring and fall for other landscape projects in the Old Town area. The interior parking lot areas along Lander Street include impervious pavers that serve as a drainage system. This was the first time the City of Pocatello had used this type of drainage system in a public parking lot and it serves as an example for future building and construction projects in our City.
The Marshall Public Library (6) is home to two beautiful sculptures outside and a collection of paintings, sculptures and photographs inside. The sculpture at the front of the historic Carnegie Library section of today’s modern library features “Liberty Through Imagination” which captures the experience children find inside the library. The sculpture was designed and built by Jason Brown, Joshua Sprague, Colin Warnock and Doug Warnock in 2003. The rear entrance of the Library features a sculpture made of recycled guns collected by youth in our community and stands as a symbol against gun violence. The sculpture was created by collaboration between Dennis Proksa and the Pocatello Youth Forum in 1997.
Simplot Square (5), the site of the now demolished Bannock Hotel, is home to “Frolicsome Fish.” This stainless steel sculpture features flowing water during the warm months. The piece was created by sculptor Dennis Proksa and architect Bruce Poe.
The Downtown Reach of the Portneuf Greenway (2) features a marble engraving depicting pioneers and covered wagons by Kristene Thomas McCulloch. Included in the Reach is Pioneer Park which features a kinetic sculpture by Joshua Sprague. Across the street on the corner of W. Benton and S. Arthur, inside Ifft Trappers Park, stands turadot a public sculpture by Douglas Warnock. Constructed in 1997 of cast bronze, stone, water and light. One of only two Greyhound Bus Station signs still “running.” See it on the 200 block of West Bonneville and don’t forget to take a good look at the Union Pacific Depot. Pocatello was originally a railroad town and the railroad continues to operate out of the Depot today.
Dudunake Park (300 block S. Main St.) is home to a 10′ tall, two piece, working sun dial. “Passage of Time” was designed by artist Peggy Letterly Gunnerson and commissioned by the Pocatello Arts Council. This piece is listed on the North American Sundial Society’s directory of sundials in North America. It is one of only two listed in the State of Idaho. The directory is available at www.sundials.org. This park serves as the Southern entrance to Old Town Pocatello.
The Pocatello Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce – Old Town is home, and rightly so, to our Chamber of Commerce. The building is also home to the Pocatello Auditorium District and Visit Pocatello. Both organizations work to enhance events and build tourism in Pocatello and Chubbuck. We Love Where We Live!
The Union Pacific Railroad Depot (3) Still used by the Railroad today. Pocatello owes its foundation and much of its 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. Pocatello became known as “The Gate City” because of its early importance as a junction point and rail route through the mountains.
“A Star Is Born” Museum Exhibit – Opened September 7, 2012 – The Historic Princess Theater was open at 120 South Main Street, inside the Nicolette Hotel, and was featured in the classic musical, “A Star Is Born.” Judy Garland sang about “being born in a trunk, in the Princess Theater, in Pocatello, Idaho.” The building still stands today, as The Whitman. The area where the theater was open is still welcoming guests. Step inside the lobby and see the entire exhibit, including the trunk. The Bannock County Historical Society and Museum created and maintains this beautiful exhibit.
Oldest Wood Building – The oldest wood building in the city of course is located in Old Town. See it at 326 W. Center St. The original Wade’s Bakery Building is now home to Decadence Board Shoppe, a wonderful marriage of the past and present.
Center Street Underpass – A work in progress! The Center Street Underpass is in need of a complete facelift, not just so it is more visually appealing, but so it is safe for drivers, pedestrians and can withstand the day to day use it experiences for many years to come. A consultant has been contracted to complete a design/concept plan for the eventual renovation of the underpass. The project will hopefully include a new parking lot to the immediate South, a pedestrian pathway across the west side over the underpass as part of the Downtown Reach of the Greenway, and increased lighting, security and visibility for pedestrians. The design/concept plan is scheduled to be completed by August 2013. Our fingers are crossed for construction funds no later than 2018.
Old Town Bark Park – That’s right, we have a dog park too, and it’s Pocatello’s first! The Old Town Bark Park is located behind the 100 block of North Union Pacific Avenue. For residents and visitors, this park was built by Bannock Bark Parks and the City of Pocatello in cooperation with Old Town Pocatello, Inc. Fido gets to play in Old Town too!
Antique Row (1) There are treasures to be found in our antique stores. Be sure to stop on the Eastside of Old Town, just under the Center Street Underpass, and walk through our antique row.
Leadership Pocatello Park (8) A building once stood here. Where buildings once stood, today you will find a parking lot or preferably a pocket-park. This small park is a beautiful access point from the free public parking lots along North Union Pacific Avenue to Main Street. Many thanks to Leadership Pocatello, the City of Pocatello, the City of Chubbuck and the Ifft Foundation for helping to make this park clean and beautiful again!
Relight The Night – Old Town Pocatello has announced a symbolic new initiative that blends several interests and passions together into one bright, shiny package dubbed “Relight the Night.” Old Town enjoys many glowing traditions including an awesome collection of vintage signs. These artistic lights of the night once rivaled those of any city. Some downtown signs are treasured and capably maintained by their property owners: Pocatello Electric, Key Bank, The Whitman, Molinelli’s Jewelers, Greyhound Bus Depot, for example. Others, for monetary reasons, change in ownership or other challenges, experience the misfortune of peeling, rusting, and languishing away–both in storage yards and on the buildings they grace but definitely not as in their glory days. Bit by shining bit, some of Old Town’s beckoning signs have begun to fade into darkness and despair–a stark contrast to the signs of vitality and life so evident in Old Town’s many eclectic and artistic events and businesses. The Relight the Night Initiative intends to reverse the deterioration of these community icons–rescuing and restoring these landmarks–large and small–one by one to their former brilliance and glory as jewels of Pocatello’s city center. The first sign to be saved was the Chief Theater Sign. The completely renovated sign now shines brightly on Main Street beginning at Dusk every evening. The sign is located across the street from Leadership Pocatello Park, on the 200 block of North Main Street. This is the site of the original theater. The theater burned to the ground after an extensive remodeling project in March of 1993. Only two pieces of the theater were saved, the tile mosiac from the entrance to the theater and the historic neon sign. Both are now home and serve as a memorial to the Chief Theater. The next sign selected for renovation will be announced soon!
Additional Ways To Experience Old Town:
Restaurant Walk – for a unique dining experience we recommend sampling from several restaurants in one night. Choose a starting location such as The Grecian Key and order from their appetizer menu. Flaming cheese is a local favorite. Next walk to PV ‘s Pasta & Vino for your main course. We suggest the entire menu! Your next stop is Thai Paradise for dessert. Coconut rice with coconut ice cream is a dream!
Gift Giving – for birthday gifts, anniversaries, special days and holidays, there are many unique and one-of-a-kind gifts to be found in Old Town. When you purchase a gift in Old Town, you not only give a gift that’s not like the other 100 items on the shelf, you also give back to the community. Our shop owners live here. They spend their money here. When you spend with them, you both keep that money in our local economy.
This year, take the Holiday Challenge! Make your holiday shopping list and do all of your shopping in Old Town. Experience for yourself shorter lines, less stress and pressure, personalized service second to none, and people who really care about our community. Sounds like holiday shopping this year can be a pleasant and enjoyable experience!
Events Old Town Is Famous For:
First Friday Art Walk – the first Friday of every month from 5-8pm, all year long with participating locations throughout the Old Town area. Gate City Brewfest – the second Saturday of March brewers from around the region converge in Old Town for a day of sampling, live entertainment and great fun.
Portneuf Valley Farmers Market – every Saturday May through October from 9am to 1pm and every Wednesday June through September from 4-8pm at the Old Town Pavilion.
Bannock Civitan Revive @ 5 Wednesday Summer Concerts – the last Wednesday in May to the first Wednesday in September a live band, great food and family fun at the Old Town Pavilion.
Trick-or-Treat the Old Town Streets – Halloween afternoon from 3-5:30pm merchants open their doors and hand out treat to all the visiting children.
Holiday Open House – the second weekend of November, the Old Town merchants host open houses to highlight this season’s decorating and gift-giving ideas.
Night of 1,000 Santas Festival & Night Lights Parade – the day after Thanksgiving Old Town welcomes in the Holiday Season. Activities begin at 4pm with Santa’s arrival, the parade begins at 6:30 and the community Christmas Tree is lit at 8:00pm or immediately after the parade at the Old Town Pavilion.
Be sure to visit www.oldtownpocatello.com to learn more about Old Town Pocatello!