Interstate 15 is the popular route to Salt Lake City and most of the time the City of Malad ends off being nothing more than a quick stop on the way or just the last Idaho town before crossing the border.

Brenda Stanley joins us now with a look at an Idaho Gem that may have you taking a little detour.

Matt, Marlise, I visited the Oneida Pioneer Museum in Malad and while it’s called the “Pioneer Museum, what I found was a unique place that is full of much more than just pioneer relics and history.

It feels like you’ve opened the door to a huge version of your grandma’s attic when you step inside the Oneida Pioneer Museum. And Fay Cottle is your official tour guide on a trip back in time.

“It’s been a labor of love,” says Cottle, “I’ve just really got involved in it. And know all the stories about the different things we’ve got.”

There are original portraits that line the walls, old medical equipment, musical instruments, clothing, furniture, even animals.

“My favorite thing is in the back room and the only reason I haven’t stolen it is because it won’t fit in my pocket,” explains Cottle, “and it’s an old bathtub that came out of a barber shop. It has casters on the front legs but not the back legs so they could wheel it and put it in the sunshine.  And when the little school programs that was in here on a field trip, a little boy, he said that ain’t a bathtub, that’s a horse trough, and it does look like a horse trough but anyway, we’ve got a lot of fun things in here.”

Fay’s been with the museum since its inception over a quarter century ago and enjoys telling the stories of the many articles housed within the walls of the historic 1914 building.

Fay shows off an old cream separator, “My parents had one of these. I think in later years they were electric but remember turning that crank.”

Most of the items stored here are from the late 1800s when the pioneers came into this valley, but Fay admits, some things are there because they just couldn’t find another home.

“Things that was in Grandma’s house that nobody wanted anymore, says Fay, “we try to keep everything in here from our county from Oneida County. But obviously the bear that’s hanging on the wall was killed up into Alaska, but it was killed by a man from here. After that man died his brother was a judge up at the courthouse he had that hanging on his wall up there and when he retired he took that home and through it over the back of his couch and it didn’t take his he’s wife very long to get tired of that, and she put in a big garbage bag in their basement and I heard about that and I said why don’t you let me hang that up in the museum, so she was thrilled to get it out of their house.”

Fay is now officially retired, but is still dedicated to showing anyone who wants to see the collection, even putting her phone number on the front door in case someone passing through wants to take a look around.

“It’s been a labor of love and it’s been hard to let go,” says Fay, “even though I’m retired, it’s been hard to let go of things.”

And so she’ll keep watching over all these memories of a simpler time.

“It’s just kind of a walk through memory lane to come in here,” says Fay, “you know, my grandma had one of those. It’s pretty nostalgic for people.”

And if you drive to or from Utah and you look off to the east on the hillside right at the state line, you’ll see an old gravestone surrounded by a small fence. There’s a photo of the man who is buried there in the museum, along with the story of why he was mistakenly buried in Idaho.


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