BANCROFT - When a couple of new residents to the Chesterfield Valley purchased the old Lawrence Holbrook home eight miles north of Bancroft, a remodel was in order.
When they stripped the old walls inside, history surfaced.
Newspapers from 1899 had been used for insulation. Brittle and yellowed, they were filled with events from May and June of that year. One of the newspapers was an issue of "The Pocatello Advance," a publication that only lasted a few years.
Not to waste the find, the couple contacted Caribou County historian Norman Tolman.
"I was excited," Tolman said. "These are the oldest papers I've found as insulation."
Tolman knows the history of the area well. He was born in Bancroft in 1936.
"We used to farm down there," he said.
In addition to the Pocatello newspaper, The Deseret Semi-Weekly News from Utah and a German-language paper called "Bikuben" also were used as insulation in the home.
The big news in the Advance for May 19, 1899, was the visit of U.S. Sen. George Shoup and the death of a railroad worker in the train yard in Pocatello.
But more exciting news ran in the Utah paper: a train robbery by Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang.
According to the paper's accounts, the gang had dynamited a Union Pacific train in Wyoming, and a posse was in hot pursuit.
"The posse pursuing the Union Pacific dynamiters has had a second fight with the fugitives who are making for The-Hole-In-The-Wall rendezvous," the newspaper reported. "The robbers were driven into a gulch, after abandoning their horses. They ambushed the posse and severely wounded Sheriff Joe Hazen of Converse County, who was shot through the body. The robbers are armed with smokeless powder, long-range rifles and although putting up a stubborn fight, their capture is inevitable as they are now on foot and completely surrounded."
Meanwhile in peaceful Pocatello, the good senator got top billing.
"The senator stated to the editor of the Advance that the mining industry in his county, Lemhi, was taking on a new life and would make a splendid showing this season - the best record for years," a front page story in the Advance reported.
Editorializing in stories was common back then, and the Advance sang the praises of an effort to encroach on tribal lands on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
"The senator did some very effective work in the successful effort made to open the Nez Perce reservation and feels confident that with proper local assistance, he will land the Fort Hall reserve proposition before the next Congress adjourns."
There were several front-page advertisements, including ads for N.P. Nielson, the Pioneer Grocer, Silver Club Saloon, The Idaho Drug Store and J.F. Kane Staple and Fancy Groceries.
Tolman has laminated the old newspapers to keep them from crumbling.
His advice to other Southeast Idahoans who may make similar discoveries is simple: If they find something really old, "don't throw it away."