Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
June 13, 2012     The Adams County Record
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June 13, 2012

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Page 8 Wednesday, June 13, 2012 The Adams County Record The History Corner The Story of Banks and the Road to Lowman By Dale Fisk -- 253-4582 According to Forest Service records, a young rancher named Merle Banks filed a homestead claim in 1908 where the north and south forks of the Payette River meet. Banks did no farming at first, and only built a small cabin, which made Forest Supervisor Guy B. Mains suspicious that Banks might be filing for land for the sole purpose of selling out to a timber company. This had become a serious problem all over the West. Banks was fortunate that he filed for this land when he did. In 1911, just as the Idaho Northern Railway was starting construction up the river, Reclamation Service officials and farmers on the lower Payette began to worry that private power companies might build a dam on the river and restrict their access to the water. As a result, the federal government decided not to allow any more homesteads within a quarter mile of the Payette River. This action did not affect any pending applications, so Banks' claim was safe. In 1913 Bar'ks leased a right- of-way to the Oregon Short Line so the railroad could be built through his homestead claim. The next year, after Banks planted some crops, the General Land Office gave him a patent for the land. That same year (1914), his wife, Emma, established the first Banks Post Office and became the first postmaster. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order withdrawing land for a town site at Banks from the restrictions of public domain. This opened possibility for a town, and a 1920 survey proposed big plans, but little came of it. During the peak of the logging era, Banks was a busy place where logs and lumber were loaded onto rail cars. It was common for northbound trains to pick up logs here for the Cascade sawmill, and for southbound trains to load logs bound for the Emmett mill. In the 1950s a hotel, which contained the post office, was operated at Banks by the Ritter family. Some of the children attending the small school were those of the Ligget and Pearson families along with kids from three or four ranches on Dry Buck Creek. Most of the railroad facilities at Banks are now gone. A couple of tool sheds and the section house remain. They are located on the west side of the tracks, across the Payette River from the Banks store, and can be reached by way of a bridge just to the north of the mouth of the South Fork of the Payette River. Latter Days George Gardner of Council, lived at Banks as a kid and remembered Merle Banks as being an old man. The original community of Banks was on the west side of the river until the present highway was built. The store/gas station/ bar was on the east side, and the building is still there and in use, although it has been remodeled extensively. The Gardner family lived on the east side as well. The store had two gas pumps, a little bar, a grocery and general merchandise section, kitchen and a small dining room. There were three or four rental cabins down below the store-toward the river. When George was 12 years old (1949) he started working in the store. He pumped gas, did odd jobs and even tended bar. Nobody thought much about a kid selling alcohol until a stranger stopped in and said, "Good Lord! How do you get away with having a kid tending bar? That's against the law!" Apparently an outsider's opinion didn't carry much weight because George kept tending bar. The owner of the store lived in an apartment in the basement. One night there was a tremendous crash upstairs in the store, and when the owner went up to investigate he found the front window broken and a billy goat standing in the store. The goat belonged to George. It had seen its reflection in the store window and butted it. Old Merle Banks had a couple daughters. The younger of the two was named Dixie (married a man whose last name was Harp). She worked in the kitchen at the store, and Merle would come down and get a cup of coffee, and then sit out front and smoke his pipe. There was .no electricity in Banks at that time, and only three telephones in the community. The store had a diesel generator and a bank of batteries to supply power. Merle Banks had two old cars in his barn, put up on blocks to store them. One of them was said to be the first car to be driven up the old road from Emmett to Banks. The cars were perfect shape and in running condition when they went into storage. George and a few of the neighborhood kids used to go into the barn and play in the cars. A man named Ralph Handly (spelling?) bought the Banks ranch from Merle, but Merle retained the rights to his house and barn until he died. After Banks died and Handly got the buildings, he just pushed those old cars into the rive~ One can only imagine what they would be worth now. Indian Valley & Mesa News By Lynn Leatherman -- 739-5756 It is with sadness in their hearts, that Indian Valley bids farewell to yet another icon this week. Bob Baker will be missed by many friends and our hearts and prayers go out to Doris and the entire family during this time. Well, last Monday it turned out that Bey Galloway made the decision that she and Larry Boehm were going to miss "Music in the Park" in Cambridge and headed to Weiser. They went to cheer on grandson, Micah Galloway, and his team at a baseball game. The game only lasted four short innings before everyone was dashing to their cars and heading home in the torrential rainstorms that covered the area. Thursday, they enjoyed their monthly Cuddy Mountain Ramblers luncheon and meeting at Lakey's Caf6. Bey has been experiencing a bit of pain in her hip and back area, and has enjoyed therapeutic massages given by Stacy Ertel in Ontario twice this past week. Bev feels it has helped some, at least she was able to get out and get her yard mowed and work at pulling up those returning maple tree sprouts. Hope you're feeling much better real soon, btit I'm really thinking if you quit pulling up the maple tree sprouts you would feel better sooner! Jill Doughton, along with her morn, Margaret Thomason, enjoyed a very inspirational evening out on Friday. They fulfilled one of their yearly traditions by going to show support for the many cancer survivors as they walked their lap at St. Alphonsus in Ontario. Jill said is was even more moving this year, as over 150 survivors walked this year. On Saturday, she and Margaret kidnapped their good friend and "valleyite" Della Haberle to head to Boise to watch someone and something very Courtney, was performing in a dance recital that day and they all enjoyed her performance very much. Jill had even more bonuses as her son was there running a food vending booth, and anoeher granddaughter, who had just completed her first year of teaching, was there also, making it a great family affair. " After en}oying time with some of their daughters, Dave and Cathy Veselka spent the week adjusting to being empty nesters once again. While Dave spent his time working in the fields, Cathy enjoyed each moment of nice weather that was presented by spending time digging and planting in her garden. Bill and Ruth Reeder attended a memorial service for long time friend, Kay Skeen, in Ontario on Friday. After the service they visited daughter, Shirley Vandrell, and her husband, Louie, staying for lunch. They did special. Jill's granddaughter, a bit of shopping before Horse and Rider Training Clinic June 22nd and 23rd Limit 6 participants Council Rodeo Grounds Call Kelly at 2o8-566q939 IAWiIDI It Do you and your horse have a problem that is frustrating you? ! will evaluate and hel our uine nershi I returning home. A little birdie informed me that there is great news for the Harvey and Lakey households. It seems that Matthew finally asked that long awaited question to his girlfriend, Melinda, and placed a beautiful ring on her finger. Congratulations to the newly engaged couple. Love must have been in the air on Saturday, as a great wedding was held at the home of Brian and Cyndi Bauer. Brian's brother, Brad, married his beloved, Amy Hackel, in a very quick ceremony that tookplace in between rain showers. Their sister, Debbie, officiated, making the occasion extra special for the family. A reception was held at the community hall after. Craig, Ardis and Hayden Boll joined up with Challis and Meagan in Boise on Sunday. Challis and her friend and co-worker, Jessica, had just returned from their first archeological job, so they all joined for dinner at Car6 Ole. Vic Boll and his good friend,/an, joined, making it a great evening out. Judy Green had a wonderful day with her book club friends in Cambridge on Wednesday. Judy prepared a Russian themed luncheon to match their book, which included a Russian stroganoff, teacakes, sweet Russian cabbage soup and Russian black bread. Judy picked up her good friend, Sue Platt before heading to the home of Betty Dopf for the meeting. Afterward, she and Sue enjoyed some visiting time before she stopped-at Loveland's General Store to shop. Tom participated with the American Legion at the services for Jerry Stanford of Cambridge held at the Angel Camp Cowboy Church in Midvale on Monday morning. Janet Meyer is up to eighty-four tomato plants planted and happily growing in her garden as of Monday evening. Janet is very happy that all her plants survived the crazy storms of the weekend past. Janet also has decided that she doesn't like the "seed tapes" that she tried this year, as she spent more time chasing them as they blew away in the wind or the dog decided they were a great new play toy. Ron and Janet enjoyed a trip to visit with good friends, the Endicots, at their cabin on Advent Gulch. Your own. P rww y! Transfer your Rx Kelly Ross, CPhT ACHC PHARMACY Inside Adams County Health Clinic 205 N. Berkley, Council Idaho 2o 8-253-49 57 Where you are treated like family!