Pocatello’s historic downtown district is well worth the time it takes to divert from Interstate 15 and do some exploring. You’ll find some neat shops, ghost signs, and lots of neon along Pocatello’s Main Street. It’s a good place to spend a few minutes on foot, checking out the town.
Downtown Pocatello is located on the opposite side of the railroad tracks from Interstate 15. That means you’ll have to take one of Pocatello’s exits, then find an overpass that crosses the tracks. Be aware that the Business I-15 route does not take you over the tracks onto Main Street.
This was the 11th day of my vacation, and I had just one goal – get to Salt Lake City for a late-evening flight, and the end of my trip. I didn’t have a lot of time to burn on the drive down from Blackfoot, Idaho, but I figured I could spare about an hour or two. As I drove by Pocatello, I realized that I had been through the area many times before, but had never driven into town. So, that’s what I did.
Pocatello is the kind of town that I love to photograph. Old buildings and old signs are still around and have been kept in good condition. The first example I saw was this big sign for the Cowboy Oil Company (I presume an old gas station) on US 30/91/Business 15, also known as 5th Avenue.
While 5th Avenue feels like the main route through town, Pocatello’s actual downtown district is to the west, on the other side of the railroad tracks. I found an overpass, then landed on Main Street.
When you arrive downtown, Petersen’s Furniture jumps out at you. This building was constructed in 1914, and although Petersen’s went out of business in the 1990’s, the giant ghost signs on both sides of the building remain.
Across the street, you’ll notice a great old neon sign that’s missing its building. The Chief Theater was built in 1938, was closed in 1982, and was restored in 1993. But shortly after the restoration, fire destroyed the building. The neon survived, as did a tile mosaic that was reassembled nearby.
I’m guessing the Oasis Bar’s neon sign has been around for quite a few years…
… and the same goes for the clock outside Milinelli Jewelers.
The old Hotel Yellowstone, built in 1916, still has some great signage on the roof, towering over Main Street.
The photo of Chopstick Cafe’s neon sign was the last picture I took on the trip. I didn’t have any other choice but to finish the drive to Salt Lake City and wrap things up.
Back at the airport, I checked the final total for the 11-day trip… 2,789.7 miles.
Here’s a look at the drive from Blackfoot to Pocatello, including the drive around town…
… and from Pocatello to Marriott-Slaterville, Utah…
… and on into Salt Lake City:
The Bottom Line
Pocatello’s historic downtown has some interesting businesses and great old, well-preserved signs, providing an authentic experience of old, small-town Idaho.