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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Soda Springs in Caribou County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

The Springs of Soda Springs

 
 
Tour Our National Byways, left panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
1. Tour Our National Byways, left panel
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Inscription. (left panel:)
Tour Our National Byways
Click on the Tour Our National Byways photograph to enlarge it and view the local byway routes.

(center panel:)
The springs of Soda Springs - indeed a curiosity
For eons naturally carbonated springs have bubbled up from beneath the earth in southeast Idaho. Some springs even make notable sounds and others are known for peculiar smells and flavors.

Soda Springs was known as "Beer Springs" to the early explorers and pioneers
Click on the Soda Springs was known as "Beer Springs" photograph to enlarge it and view the early Preuss Beer Springs map.

Trappers and explorers
Explorer Benjamin Bonneville, 1832 "Captain Bonneville describes Beer Spings as having the taste of beer. His men drank it with avidity and in copies draughts.....The Indians, however, refuse to taste it." -- Washington Irving, 1837

Explorer John C. Fremont,1842 In the early 1840s, John C. Fremont traveled to the West on exploratory trips for the U.S. government. Traveling with Fremont's party was Charles Preuss who mapped in detail (right) the fascinating mineral springs observed in the Soda Springs area.

The Springs of Soda Springs, center panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
2. The Springs of Soda Springs, center panel
Captions: (left side, top to bottom) The Trappers, William T. Ranney, 1856; John C. Fremont; Narcissi Whitman, 1805-1847; Wagon Train, courtesy of Idaho Public Television, 2008: (map legend) Fountain Hill - You are here. On the mound near you is the Soda Springs geyser "released" in 1937; Beer Spring - The bubbling springs were considered a must-see curiosity by early travelers.; Steamboat Spring - About 1/4 mile down stream from Beer Spring is Steamboat Spring which early travelers reported sounded similar to a steamboat engine. The spring is now covered by Alexander Reservoir.; Emigrant Road - This well-used route is the old Oregon-California Trail and present-day US-30.
Oregon Trail pioneers
Emigrant Narcissa Whitman, 1836 "Went today ten miles off our route - to visit the Soda Springs."

Emigrant Sarah White Smith, 1838 "Traveled ... along the bank of the bear river & are encamped at Soda Springs. This is indeed a curiosity. The water tastes like soda water, especially artificially prepared. The water is bubbling and foaming like boiling water. I drank of it ... We find it excellent for baking bread, no preparation of water is necessary. Take it from the fountain & the bread is as light as any prepared with yeast.

(right panel:)
Soda Springs Geyser - unleashing the sleeping giant

The world' s only "captive" geyser
In 1937, Soda Springs' city fathers, intent on locating hot water for a community swimming pool, unwittingly drilled into the mound in front of you, unleashing a 100-foot geyser and startling the local citizens.

"Such a scene as that, only a few men have ever witnessed."
"On November 30, 1937 tired and cold drillers leaving for dinner discovered to their surprise that a rampaging geyser was shooting 100 feet high and "roaring like a dragon." For most of the night, Soda Springs was enveloped in a mist of steam water running down main street and threatening business
Soda Springs Geyser, right panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
3. Soda Springs Geyser, right panel
Captions: (upper left) Everyone is invited to enjoy the 72-degree geyser water, which erupts every hour on the hour.; (upper right) Drilling for hot water, 1937; (center right) Soda Springs Geyser in 1937 before it was capped.; (center left) Explorers John C. Fremont during his travels to the West in 1843 observed a crusty white geological formation, naming it "Fountain Hill.: This is the location of the Soda Sprigs Geyser. Soda Springs and the geyser mound, 1882.; (bottom left) Soda Springs Creek in the foreground with the imposing Idanha Hotel in the background, about 1900,; (bottom right) Mineral Heights Resort.
basements." -- The Soda Springs Sun, December 2, 1937

Early Soda Springs
Native Americans, trappers, explorers, and pioneers were drawn to the warm, bubbling mineral waters in the area. Some left illustrations and diary entries of these natural curiosities.

First destination resorts in Soda Springs
At the turn of the 20th century, the train brought guests eager to enjoy the renowned springs at Soda Springs. Many stayed in the luxurious Idanha Hotel or Mineral Heights Resort, enjoying the warm mineral waters.
 
Location. 42° 39.42′ N, 111° 36.297′ W. Marker is in Soda Springs, Idaho, in Caribou County. Marker can be reached from East 1st Street South near South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Soda Springs ID 83276, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "It Roars Like a Mad Dragon" (within shouting distance of this marker); George W. and Leah Wallet Gorton (within shouting distance of this marker); Ground Observer Corps National Planning (within shouting distance of this marker); Ground Observation Corps Soda Springs Post (within shouting distance of this marker);
The Springs of Soda Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
4. The Springs of Soda Springs Marker
The geyser is to the right.
Ground Observer Corps National Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); Caribou Mountain (within shouting distance of this marker); Wagon Box Grave of 1861 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Dinkey Engine (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Soda Springs.
 
More about this marker. The geyser and marker are in Geyser Park.
 
Categories. ExplorationSettlements & Settlers
 
Soda Springs Geyser, every hour, on the hour image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 21, 2017
5. Soda Springs Geyser, every hour, on the hour
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 27, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 55 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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