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Idaho Government Documents

About this collection

Bannock County Images is a digital repository through which researchers, students, scholars, genealogists, historic interpreters, authors, and members of the general public can access information pertaining to Bannock County, Idaho.  This is a collaborative project between Special Collections and Archives, Eli M. Oboler Library, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho; the Bannock County Historical Society, Pocatello, Idaho; and, the South Bannock County Historical Center, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.  The project was funded in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council.

 

Bannock County, Idaho

 

Bannock County was created by Legislative enactment of 1893, with Pocatello as the county seat. It was created out of the southeastern third of Bingham County, itself a fragment of old Oneida County, which originally comprised the major portion of southeastern Idaho.

 

At the turn of the twentieth century, the northwestern corner of Bannock County was taken up by the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, home to the Shoshone Bannock tribes, which covered nearly one-fourth of its total area. The population of Bannock County at this time was 14,000, over one-third of whom lived in Pocatello.  Another 1,400 residents lived on the Reservation.  

 

The county is rich agricultural valleys, the two principal ones of which lie along the east and west side of the Portneuf range of mountains: Gentile Valley, which lies on the east between the Portneuf and Bear River ranges; and, the valley on the west, between the Portneuf and Bannock ranges.  It was through the center of this valley that the Oregon Short Line operated, on its way from Salt Lake City, Utah to Butte, Montana.  And, it was along this route that many small towns developed, from Oxford on the south to McCammon on the north.  The principal towns of the county include: Pocatello, Soda Springs, Bancroft, McCammon, Oneida, Downey, and Oxford.  The largest of these, outside of Pocatello, is Soda Springs, which grew into an important sheep and wool shipping point.  

 

The boundaries of Bannock County have changed considerably.  Some of the land and communities in the eastern part of the County were subsumed by Caribou County in 1919, and again in the 1940s.  Additionally, Reservation land in the county was transformed when tracts were opened for white settlement in 1902 and 1904.  In 1927, additional reservation land was ceded to the city of pocatello for an airport.

 

Today, Bannock County comprises over 1,100 square miles of land; the population in 2010 was 82,839.

                                                                                                                        

 

 
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