Rolling through history in Blackfoot

Rolling through history in Blackfoot

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Most area tours will take you to a city’s notable spots on foot or by bus, but Blackfoot is turning back the clock to offer people an alternative way of getting around.

This summer, you'll be able to learn about Blackfoot's history on an old San Francisco trolley.

“I like the looks on people as I’m driving, looking at their faces as I pass like ‘where did that come from, we’ve never seen that before," driver John Gregory said. "I had a guy come up and go 'where? Where can I get on?' and I yell out, the best I can, Potato Museum.”

From now until Labor Day, people will have three daily options for tours, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. 

The trolley, originally from San Francisco, was found in Louisiana and purchased with the assistance of some local grants.

Now it’ll give people a chance to see and hear about some of the stories that made Blackfoot what it is today.

Tour guide Karrie Miller said one of her favorite parts is telling people about some of the historical figures who’ve made their way through town, “such as Robert Kennedy, right before he was assassinated, made a stop in Blackfoot," Miller said.

"Teddy Roosevelt wanted to go to the fair.” 

Although Tuesday is only the second day that the trolley’s been running, people have already been lining up to take rides and are loving what they’re hearing.

“I haven’t had a tour yet that hasn’t learned something new,” Miller said.  

Even the trolley driver is learning. 

“The biggest surprise to me was when I was told there's tunnels underneath Blackfoot," Gregory said. "I wanna go find them and go for a look.” 

Many people have asked Miller to point out spots with paranormal activity around town, which, apparently, there's a lot of. 

“We even have a ghost at the Elks lodge that’s named Chester,” she said. 

Tish Dahmen, the museum’s executive director, said the whole project has been an extremely beneficial learning experience, even through the struggles of obtaining and upkeeping the trolley.

“I just think that it's worth all the effort and I think that investment we put in the trolley, and we put in the tours, it’s just going to benefit Blackfoot,” she said. 

Dahmen said that the group is already making plans for the trolley to run next year and to add a digital component that would allow riders to see historical images of the places on the tour.  

The tour is $2.50 per person and $10 for families. 

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