Idaho Falls
clear sky
humidity: 29%
wind: 6mph NE
H 82 • L 80

Looking back: Stranger saves 9-year-old from falling 25 feet and “huge balloon” seen flying over Salmon

Looking Back

Share This

IDAHO FALLS — is looking back at what life was like during the week of May 9 to May 15 in east Idaho history.


REXBURG — A Rexburg man was being commended for his bravery, The Rigby Star wrote on May 9, 1918.

Private Jess Watts was recognized by Major General Frederick S. Strong at Camp Kearney for rescuing “the lives of several people” who were caught in a tide at Ocean Beach in California.

Watts, a former barber in Rexburg, had his picture featured in the Salt Lake Tribune for his heroic act.


POCATELLO — A nine-year-old girl was saved from tumbling into a “deep excavation,” the Idaho State Journal reported on May 9, 1950.

Mary Pritchett was playing with her 11-year-old sister, Catherine, near the Red Hill “I” on the Idaho State College campus when the accident happened.

“Rolling and tumbling, (Mary) almost went over the edge of the hill, which drops abruptly for about 25 feet due to excavation work, when she grabbed hold of a small rock,” the paper explained.

Mrs. C. C. Green was at her home when she saw Mary fall and called police. At the same time, an unidentified man came by Green’s home and “when his attention was directed to the near tragedy, he rushed up to the hill and pulled the girl back to safety.”

“I carried one little child away from there dead once, and it looked for a while as though the experience would be repeated,” he said.

Police Chief A.L. Oliver immediately issued a warning to children not to play on the hill.

“There’s a wire guard around the top, but it can’t keep the youngsters off if they want to climb over it or under it,” Oliver pointed out.

He added, “It’s a dangerous hill and children should be made to realize it.”


TERRETON — An “epidemic” of break-ins in the upper valley towns had been reported over the span of two weeks, The Rigby Star reported on May 10, 1956.

“From all indications, they are the work of professionals,” the sheriff’s office said.

Two break-ins happened in Terreton at the Terreton Store and Terreton Post Office. The safe in the post office was forced open and $350 in postal money was taken. The store had $450 taken.

Ririe also had a break-in at Brown’s Store. There was no safe in the store but about $20 in silver was taken from a cash register.


SALMON — A “huge balloon” floated over Salmon and was visible in the area for roughly five hours before disappearing, according to the Salmon Recorder Herald’s May 13, 1976, paper.

The balloon was being tracked as to its movements and was being used to collect atmospheric data, the local paper said.

“The pilot tracking the balloon landed at the Salmon Airport,” the article mentioned. “He indicated the balloon was floating some 27 miles high.”

The project was apparently the undertaking of a university. The balloon was reported over Billings, Montana, the day before it reached Salmon.