Name Origins of Idaho Falls Area Schools

Published online: Aug 03, 2020 Articles, Looking Back Jeff Carr
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Note: The dates here attempt to represent the foundation of each school, despite any moves or name changes. For instance, Idaho Falls had schools well before 1894, but that was the first year of the organization known today as Idaho Falls High School. Similarly, elementary schools called Emerson and Lincoln existed a century ago, but the alternative high schools in those buildings now are much newer. There are also numerous other schools that no longer exist, including Central, Eastside, Riverside, and York. Even with the excellent Museum of Idaho archives, public records, and calls to schools and districts, some things remain a little squishy, but that’s how history works. 

  • Iona (c. 1886): the town, named by President John Taylor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, allegedly after a town in Israel 

  • Ucon (c.1892): the town, suggested by residents (spelled “Yukon”) and altered by the US Postal Department to its current spelling. Formerly Willow Creek.

  • Idaho Falls (1894): the city, renamed from Eagle Rock by professional land promoters from the Interior Land and Irrigation Company, to suggest abundant water and fruitful farming prospects (farmers don’t like eagles or rocks)

  • Ammon (c. 1900): the city, named for a Book of Mormon prophet

  • Holy Rosary (1920): a form of prayer psalter used in the Catholic Church and the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers

  • Fairview (1927): well, it’s true

  • Hawthorne (1937): author Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • A.H. Bush (1954): the school’s first principal. Formerly Whittier, after the poet.

  • Dora Erickson (1954): the school’s first principal. Formerly Bel-Air, after the neighborhood.

  • Linden Park (1955): its neighborhood, centered on Linden Drive, which was lined with linden trees that didn’t last long

  • Bonneville (1957): the county, and therefore Benjamin Bonneville, an early explorer of the region

  • Longfellow (1957): poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Edgemont Gardens (1958): considering the school’s location, this remains a mystery

  • Hope Lutheran (1958): chosen to reflect an emphasis on hope in Christ

  • Templeview (1958): this was more accurate before I-15 was built

  • Hillview (1960): this has also decreased in accuracy over time

  • Theresa Bunker (1963): a longtime local educator

  • Ethel Boyes (1965): another longtime local educator

  • Falls Valley (1967): makes sense

  • Skyline (1968): the street, named by real estate developers, probably as a nod to the adjacent airport

  • Eagle Rock (1975): former name of Idaho Falls, named for a boulder in the Snake River where bald eagles nested

  • Rocky Mountain (1977): here we are, in the Rockies

  • Westside (1979): it’s way over there

  • Cloverdale (1981): its subdivision 

  • Sandcreek (1987): a creek

  • Tiebreaker (1987): its subdivision, developed by a tennis enthusiast

  • Snake River Montessori (1989): it’s only 3-4 miles away from the school. Also, Maria Montessori, founder of the educational philosophy that bears her name.

  • Fox Hollow (1991): foxes allegedly lived on the site before the school was built

  • Sunnyside (1992): the street

  • Taylorview (1992): Taylor Mountain, named for early settler Sam Taylor, brother of town founder J.M. (although my grandfather Taylor Carr, who lived across the street, insisted it was in his honor)

  • Hillcrest (1993): it’s kinda close to the foothills

  • Lincoln (1995): the community, named for Abraham Lincoln

  • Watersprings (1997): Psalm 107:35 – “He turns … dry land into water springs”

  • White Pine (2001): named by the founder for Idaho’s state tree

  • Emerson (2005): the street, named for Willis G. Emerson, one of the land promoters behind the city’s name change (his colleagues included Lee, Higbee, and Holmes)

  • Lighthouse Montessori (2005): a guiding light, education… makes sense, right? Also, Maria.

  • Rimrock (2006): a nearby subdivision, Rimrock Acres, probably named for a spot on the nearby foothills

  • Taylor’s Crossing (2006): name for J.M. Taylor’s 1865 toll bridge across the river, around which the city was born

  • Woodland Hills (2006): subdivision and park

  • Bridgewater (2008): its subdivision

  • Discovery (2008): just one of those positive education words, it seems

  • Monticello Montessori (2010): Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home, which also had a domed roof. Also, Maria.

  • Mountain Valley (2010): keepin’ it simple

  • American Heritage (2012): chosen to reflect the school’s emphasis on a specific brand of patriotism

  • Compass Academy (2012): signifying direction

  • Technical Careers (2012): named for early settler Phineas Technical (just kidding)

  • Summit Hills (2013): its subdivision

  • Alturas (2016): from a Spanish word meaning “heights” or “high place”

  • Thunder Ridge (2018): an area in the foothills nearby

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