The earliest magazine published specifically for Idaho readers was Idaho Farmer-Stockman, a monthly founded in 1895. After several changes in ownership it is still being printed. It is one of several magazines aimed at the interests of a special Idaho audience.
The state’s hunters and fishermen had their own magazines for a long time. Idaho Wildlife Review, published by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, appeared in June 1948, and ran until 1976. In January 1978 it was replaced by Idaho Wildlife, an elegant full-color glossy publication. The March/April 1987 issue, features stories on fishing for crappie, Clearwater River steelhead, hunting wild turkeys and putting out nesting boxes for Idaho’s smallest falcon, the kestrel.
Department Director Jerry Conley’s editorial in this issue speaks of the excitement of springtime, when Idaho families take to the outdoors to hunt, fish or just watch wildlife. “Unfortunately, spring is also the time we see mankind’s effect on the landscape most graphically. What a shock! After the snows depart and before the green growth of spring covers it, the cumulative disregard of Idahoans for their heritage and playground is all too visible. Our roadsides and waterways are close to being first in the nation in trash and litter accumulation. ... I’m afraid we — as a state and a people — sadly lack an outdoor land respect ethic.”
The last issue of Idaho Wildlife appeared in 1998. The privately printed Idaho Fishing and Hunting Guide ran from 1957 until 1974.
In the summer of 1975, Alan Minskoff began publication of Idaho Heritage, a magazine devoted to historic preservation and the role of architecture in giving large and small Idaho towns their identities.
The first issue featured a story by Alexa Howell urging readers to help save the Bishops’ House, then threatened with demolition by the expansion of St. Luke’s hospital.
A series of opinion pieces by prominent Boiseans gave their personal answers to the question “How would you like to see Boise in 1984?” (A title that was suggested by George Orwell’s 1948 classic “1984.”)
Idaho Heritage ran for three years, during which time editor and publisher Minskoff secured grants from several foundations to visit small towns all over Idaho where he, members of his staff, architect Ernest Lombard and I presented town meetings with the theme “A Future for the Small Town in Idaho.”
A common theme that emerged was that there were not enough jobs for young people to stay in the small town where they were born and raised, much as they and their families wished they could.
In December 1976, I wrote a story for the magazine on “Community Identity in Small Town Idaho,” in which I discussed what was unique about Paris, Murray, Oakley, Juliaetta and Rathdrum.
Minskoff next published Boise Magazine from 1987 until 1991 and again from 1997 until 2001. Other towns that have magazines of their own are Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Eagle.
In October 2001, Kitty Delorey Fleischman began publication of Idaho Magazine, the only popular magazine that attempts to cover the entire state.
Each monthly issue features an Idaho city or town, its history and what is special about it today. The very first issue had stories about Twin Falls and Cambridge, and a feature about University of Idaho football greats Jerry Kramer and Wayne Walker, who had outstanding professional careers.
Other Idaho publications that few now remember include The Golden Trail, 1914-1920; its successor Idaho Lifer, 1920-1924 (which was not published for convicts); Idaho’s Golden Road to Adventure, 1948-1958, published by the Brink and a Half Club of Orofino — a group to which in its early years you could only become a member if you had accidentally gone off the road into the Clearwater River.
Indeed, as you drove that riverside highway you were always “on the brink” of going in. Later, anyone who had ever driven that road was eligible to join, for only $3 a year.
Arthur Hart writes this column on Idaho history for the Idaho Statesman each Sunday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.