Bingham County Historical Society celebrates grand opening of gallery

BLACKFOOT — As they moved past the shelves at the Bingham County Historical Society's gallery, Lane and Chris Wood stopped and checked out the photographs.
"This is pretty cool," Lane said as he examined a photograph. "I remember most of these buildings. A lot of them are gone now."
Kevin Rupe pored over an aerial photograph of downtown Blackfoot dating from the 1950s. He tried to pick out Alice Street and the lot on which Rupe's Burgers now stands. His family has owned the business for nearly 50 years.
"This is a fascinating place," said Marguerite Hartman as she and her friend Eva Findlay studied a book of photographs.
They were among the people who stopped by the gallery at 3 Northwest Main on Wednesday to help celebrate its grand opening and ribbon-cutting.
"It was a lot of work to move from Broadway to here," said Merlin Wright, the society's executive director. The gallery had previously been in the Milmor Building, which is now bank-owned with an uncertain future.
Janet Alvarez, the BCHS president, thanked all those who've had a part in putting together the new displays and who have donated things to help make them esthetically pleasing.
"The purpose of the gallery is to bring together people who are interested in history," especially the history of Bingham County," Alvarez said. "It's also to learn and disseminate information about that history."
The building in which the gallery is housed is itself a piece of history. It was a bank and still has the vault used to keep peoples' money safe. It's now used to house file cabinets full of newspaper clippings and other historical items.