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Downtown Montpelier Historic Walking Tour

Welcome to the Historic Downtown Montpelier Business District on Washington Steet!
Take a few minutes to enjoy a walking tour filled with interesting information about this area and its place in history.
Also, spend a few minutes visiting our many downtown businesses.

Sent by Brigham Young, Mormon settlers began to arrive in the Bear Lake Valley in late
September of 1863 under the direction of colonizer and Mormon Apostle Charles C. Rich.
On the following spring of 1864, John Cozzens led a group of sixteen families to settle the
area known as Montpelier today. First known by travelers along the Oregon Trail as
"Clover Creek", the town name later changed to "Montpelier" by Brigham Younh after
the capitol of his native state of Vermont.

The town business districts blossomed thanks to emigrants passing through on the
Oregon Trail. The Bear Lake valley became a welcome rest area along the Oregon Trail
to replenish supplies with fresh produce, daily products and beef.

With the arrival of the railroad in 1892, the first significant number of non-Mormon
resients arrived and soon the settlement grew into separate communities- "Uptown
(Mormon) Montpelier" and "Downtown (Gentile) Montpelier". The town became the
home terminal for the Union
Pacific/Oregon Short Line
trains until October 1972
when the terminal was moved
to Pocatello. Largely due to
the arrival of the railroad,
the community became the
largest in the Bear Lake valley
and by 1900 most of the
businesses of the valley
were located in Montpelier.

Montpelier continues to be the center of commerce of the valley with a population near
3,000. Agriculture continues to be an important way of life in the valley with farmers
and ranchers raising grains and cattle. Tourism has fast become a strong industry in
Montpelier due to the city's location to scenic Bear Lake to the south and its location
on US Highway 89 half way between Salt Lake City, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
the gateway to Yellowstone
National Park.

While this walking tour will direct
you to interesting facts about the
Historic Downtown Business
District, the City welcomes you to
see three other historic buildings
found a few blocks to the west of
the downtown area on
Washington Street;

Montpelier City Hall
The neo-classical revival style city hall is the oldest building in the district and is
distinguished by its protico with pairs of Tuscan columns. It was built of buff brick made
by Utah Pressed Brick and Tile Company of Ogden.

LDS Tabernacle
The semi-circular LDS Tabernacle began construction in 1918 as a red brick structure
employing classical motifs and round arched entries with ornate terra cotta tympanums.
The tabernacles is the city's largest auditorium.

Bear Lake Middle School
This building was constructed in 1937 to serve community as the Montpelier High
School under the Public Works Administration on the land opposite the tabernacle.
Constructed of mountain red variegated tapestry brick, the building is distinguished by
its expensive and perfusely ornamented terra cotta trim.

First known by travelers along the Oregon Trail as "Clover Creek," the town name was later changed
to "Montpelier" by Brigham Young after the capitol of his native state of Vermont

[Picture Captions]

Montpelier busines district
blossumed thanks to emigrants
passing on the Oregon Trail
and the rue of the railroad.

Montpelier, circa 1929&151;Note telephone poles running along both sides of Washington Street and mud puddles in the as yet unpaved streets.

Montpelier, circa 1950s&151;view looking east up Washington Street

Montpelier, circa 1960s&151;view looking east up Washington Street

Sponsors: Greater Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce, Montpelier Gem Community Team, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, The Bear Lake County Historical Society, USDA Rural Development Agency & Utah Power. History research by Jo Ann Farnsworth & Steve Allred.

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Montpelier, Idaho in 893 images.