Idaho Days

2012 Idaho Days Agenda

2012 Idaho Days Contact List

On April 14, 1860 pioneers settled Franklin, the oldest permanent settlement in Idaho. Two years before the fiftieth anniversary, William Woodward came up with the idea of having an annual celebration to commemorate this historic event. On April 26, 1910, Governor James H. Brady proclaimed June 15 as the official Idaho Day. On June 14 and 15, 1910, the first Idaho Day celebration took place. June 14 was a day of much celebrating. Beginning at sunrise with a gun salute and flag raising; an Indian skirmish with 75 Shoshone Indians against whites; a pioneer meeting featuring the state historian, and the unveiling of the monument honoring the original settlers. The governor of Idaho and Joseph F. Smith, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were featured speakers. Baseball games between the Indians and the whites, horse races, foot races, tug-of war, other sports and the usual carnival attractions filled the park. A banquet was held with extra guests being the state treasurer, sate auditor, and superintendent of public instruction. A brass band and an orchestra performed. Included in the entertainment was an Indian War Dance. June 15 was again welcomed with a gun salute and flag raising followed by a parade and a town meeting featuring Governor James H. Brady, secretary of state Hon. Robert Lousdon, and addresses by other state officials. In the afternoon, they went to the top of Mt. Smart, now called Little Mountain where the state insurance commissioner spoke on "Incidents Connected with the Mountain." The rest of the day was filled with activities much as the day before ending with a grand ball at the Opera House.

Idaho Days has been celebrated every year since then. It seems to be the general consensus of most everyone that grew up in Franklin, that Idaho Days was one of the most exciting events of the summer. 1960 was the centennial celebration of Idaho Days. The whole park was filled with people, fun, and entertainment. In 1958, Governor Robert E. Smylie officially changed the date to the last Saturday in June where it still stands today. An excellent history of Franklin and its settlers along with the whole state of events is included in the 1960, Idaho Days Program. Click to view program in pdf format. For many years, Idaho Days was one of the biggest and most anticipated celebrations in Cache Valley. The girls got new dresses and new shoes. Young men worked hard for little pay and saved their money. Then they asked the prettiest girl to accompany them and spent much of their money on the day's events. Many of the events from the original Idaho Day became tradition and were observed each year. A flag raising, a town meeting usually featuring the governor of Idaho, the president of the LDS church or a church official, an Indian skirmish, and usual games and field sports including ball games, and the grand ball in the evening. A carnival was brought in by the railroad and concessions were sold. People came from all around. It was the place to be.

Before 1900, Franklin had become a booming industrial community with the Oneida Mercantile Union, the North Star Woolen Mills, W.L. Webster General Store, Robert Lowe Furniture, Hill Brother's Store, Riter Brothers Drug, Monson and Sons Lumber and Shingle Mill, Nash's Blacksmith Shop, and the Herd Hotel. Franklin had the telegraph office where the message of Custer's Last Stand was sent to the nation. It was the end of the railroad line until 1878 when the West Side railroad extended to Pocatello. The story goes that a bank wanted to purchase the corner where La Tienda now stands. When they were turned down, the bank went to Preston. The railroad from Franklin was also extended to Preston, which became the northern terminus for the Eastern Cache Valley Spur. With both the bank and the railroad in Preston, the businesses followed. Preston grew and Franklin stayed small.

As other surrounding communities grew and had their own celebrations, as technology developed and televisions and movie houses drew the crowds, Idaho Days changed from a valley celebration to what seemed like a community celebration. The centennial celebration in 1960 brought back the carnival and many of the traditional events including the Indian skirmish and celebrities. It is remembered fondly as one of the most successful Idaho Day celebrations ever.

Again in 1990, as the centennial celebration of Idaho becoming a state, another enormous celebration was planned. The carnival was brought back for one last time and thousands of people attended and were delighted with the fanfare. And on of the highlights of the celebration was the Thirteen Wagons musical re-enactment of the settlement of Franklin. Franklin still has Idaho Days each year the last weekend in June. Many who live in Franklin and Preston still anticipate it faithfully. People in Franklin are proud of the contributions those original settlers made to this state. The traditional Idaho Day is still a top priority on the Franklin Agenda. It now opens with a Miss Idaho Day Pageant. Saturday has a flag raising, a chuckwagon breakfast, a 5k run, parade, booths set up in the park, children's games and other activities, ball tournament, spelling bee, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, animal races, entertainment, Dutch oven supper, lighting of the 1860 on Little Mountain, dance, and fireworks