So Many Currents in Such a Little Puddle

Second-hand stores can often be treasure troves for discerning browsers. Nearly twenty years ago, a “Montana peak” caught the eye of one such buyer. The campaign hat bore the logo of the “The Cadet Store, West Point, N.Y.” Without provenance, it was just a curiosity, at least until recently, when serendipity stepped in. The faint handwritten letters on the sweatband — “Ward, C. S.” — turned out to be Charles Stuart Ward, Class of 1918. That discovery led to a tale of two young Lewiston people who married in haste and regretted at leisure. Taking a twisted path of nearly sixty years, their story began with a murder, required a Presidential pardon, and ended up in the Idaho Supreme Court. Continue Reading

A Taste For Playing With Fire: Gussie Bollinger Loved Not Wisely, But Too Well

Leo Tolstoy began his novel Anna Karenina by saying: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Gussie Bollinger’s family was a frequent dumpster fire. Gussie loved too often, but not well, indeed, and by the end of her life, she collected a list of names: Carrie Augusta “Gussie” “Jessie” Leachman-Bollinger-Grady-Wellman-Trumbley-Smith-Allen. Continue Reading

A Hellish Truth Seen Too Late

By Steven Branting Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves. ~ Phaedrus Above, the Idaho State Insane Asylum, circa 1894. Photo courtesy of Idaho State Hospital South. The October 6, 1883 edition of the Aspen, Colorado Times carried a public letter to Continue Reading

A Cultured Blossom Sown in Pioneer Soils

By Steven Branting Adapted from Augusta Bunker: Eastern’s First Eagle Lands (2016) Since 2000, many of this country’s leading history, geography and preservation organizations — including the American Association for State and Local History, The History Channel and the Society for American Archaeology — have Continue Reading