You may be disappointed to know, though, that Bone, Idaho does not have its roots in immigrant travails or some long-forgotten massacre. It was named after Orin or Orion G. Bone, an early settler. He got there in about 1910.
Mr. Bone thought the place needed a general store, so he moved a schoolhouse building from Birch Creek and started a business called the Bone Store.
If you’ve heard of Bone at all it’s probably because of that store.
The store and post office (1917-1950) eventually acquired a grille and a bar. Patrons tacked hundreds of dollar bills with their names on them on the ceiling for some reason lost in time. Local branding irons were used to burn atmosphere into the wooden walls. It operated until a few years ago when it apparently became a losing proposition.
What drew folks to Bone in the first place? The prospect of operating dry land farms, mostly wheat. They still raise wheat in the area and it is a popular snowmobile destination. If you go to Bone you’ll probably go up through Ammon, just outside of Idaho Falls, but it’s almost directly east of Firth as the crow flies.
It got a brief moment of fame in 1982 when the NBC daytime program Fantasy gave the residents of Bone their “fantasy,” which was a telephone for each of the 23 residents. It’s doubtful this was high on the fantasy list for most people, since telephone service had actually been brought to the community earlier in the year. They were happy to play along with the show, which lasted only a couple of seasons, and accept their free telephones.
Thanks to Julie Braun Williams, who grew up near Bone, for her help on this story.