I’ve met many Idahoans who were born somewhere else but moved here on purpose and came to be as Idaho as you can get. Merle Wells, Cort Conley, Robert E. Smylie, Cecil Andrus, and Tom Trusky spring immediately to mind. So does Alan Minskoff.
Alan was born in New York. He moved to Idaho in 1970 after dropping out of grad school. The night he arrived he drove up to Bogus Basin and saw his first coyote. He fell in love with the place and by 1974 was the editor of the newly formed Idaho Heritage Magazine. He would later run Boise Magazine. Today he is a writer and journalism professor at the College of Idaho.
When he was running Idaho Heritage, a non-profit, Minskoff received a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council for a project called A Future for the Small Town in Idaho. As a part of that project he visited 24 small Idaho towns and learned about their histories and what made them tick. That was in 1976 and 1977. The magazine did a couple of special editions based on the project.
Then, more than 40 years later, Minskoff had an idea. What if he went back to those towns to reprise the project, looking for changes and for things that had not changed? Oh, and sampling the best pie in Idaho along the way.
The result of this little brainstorm is a new book called The IDAHO TRAVELER,* published by the legendary Caxton Press in Caldwell. It’s part autobiography, part travel guide, and part pie joint review. It’s about the small towns, but also includes things you didn’t know about Boise, Pocatello, Coeur d’Alene, Moscow, and Meridian.
You’ll meet the fascinating people that live in small town Idaho and begin to understand why they do. You’ll also meet Minskoff, an Idahoan who just happened to be born in New York.