b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEIdaho Falls sent a delegation from thetowns north of Idaho Falls to meet Future site of the NRTS is imposedwith the governor. These towns were on map showing towns and stateon the route between Idaho Falls and highways in 1949.the west entry to Yellowstone NationalPark. They had for some time desired adirect highway connection to Arco,and this obviously was the time torenew the campaign. Urgent and unan-imous, the towns petitioned Robins toenlist the State Highway Departmentin the task of building the new road. 9The town of Blackfoot was only thirty-six miles from the siteand connectedto it by a paved, albeit primitive, road.With a population of 5,500, the agri-cultural center also was home to theIdaho State Hospital South, originallynamed the Blackfoot Asylum for theInsane, and thus had a good-sized By the time Johnston arrived for his ning respectfully with Governorcommercial center. first visit, competition among the four Robins), the towns prepared to makecities already was getting rough. On their welcomes and their first impres-Pocatello was larger than Idaho Falls April 6 the mayors and newspaper pub- sions. 1119,000 people by a few thousand, and lishers of the four towns met togetherwas home to the growing Idaho State to overcome the selfishness which Arco took the approach that its proxim-College. The Naval Ordnance Plant seems to abound in all our communi- ity to the site was so self-evident thatcomplex included office space, transfer ties. Together they sent a telegram to the plum would have to fall on its sidewarehouses, and other facilities that Johnston to say they had all united to of the fence. The committee rounded upcould serve the IDO immediately work with him on the project he was to old college friends of Johnston whodespite being sixty-five miles from the supervise. It would help, they said, if he happened to live in Arco and deployedtesting station. The town leaders wel- could tell them what to expect. An AEC the towns most distinguished citizens,comed the prospect. news release followed, indicating that Idahos former governor Clarence A.So the four contenders for the IDOs in all of 1949, only fifty people were Bottolfson and his wife, Elizabeth.home town were Arco, Idaho Falls, expected to arrive for work. Growth They prepared an evenings dinner andwould be gradual and there was time to the next day a cordial breakfast gather-Blackfoot, and Pocatello. The winner get organized. Once more, a delegation ing for the visitors. 12could look forward to a multitude of went off to Boise for another planningcommercial opportunities, not to men- session with the governor. 10 The Idaho Falls Chamber busied itselftion heightened prestige and a general creating happy memories and magicalboost in the cultural evolution of the Despite the official declaration of illusions for the visitors. Some called ittown. The AEC officially activated the amity, each town did its best to win the the party plan, as it included roundsIDO on April 4, but it was up to headquarters. As Johnston and his small of luncheons, cocktail parties, dinners,Johnston to choose its permanent home. entourage made their first round of vis- and tours showing the sunniest andits during the week of April 18 (begin- most appealing features of the city.3 2'