Monday, October 19, 2009

Atomic, Idaho

Our recent trip through Idaho took us into some very interesting areas. Along the way we chanced upon the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, an actual drive in movie theater that features the world’s largest potato in the city of Driggs but the most impressive item that we encountered on our trip was the small former nuclear town located at Atomic, Idaho. This town was directly on US 26 as we headed west out of Idaho Falls.

I had to search my memory high and low trying to determine when and where the government conducted any of its earlier nuclear experiment in Idaho. Previously Atomic City was known as Midway more then likely due to its location between the towns of Arco and Blackfoot. Initially the town was home for the government’s experimental breeder reactor and it is the site of the first nuclear reactor to ever generate electricity. The nearby Pickle's Place cafe is the home of the "Atomic Burger".

Atomic City was once the most impressive city actively promoting a nuclear future however today it is nearly a ghost town and the only remains of its past glory lies in its name. There are currently only about 25 people that still reside in the town for most of the population has long ago moved elsewhere or past away. Those families that remain are retired and therefore do not need to actively work. The main street of town remains unpaved since there are not enough citizens to actually accumulate the necessary funds to repair public roads and streets. Since the median income of the town is less then $10,000 dollars it certainly doesn’t have any extra money to go around.

This isolated ghost town has an old gas station which no longer is permitted to sell gas due to the underground tank regulations established by the government. It also has a post office as well a local bar. The old abandoned Atomic City Raceway is now nothing more then weeds although occasionally in the summer you may find a few stock car races taking place. If you are a photo nut then you will certainly enjoy the many opportunities to take pictures of the past age signs that are abound as you enter the town.

As we entered the ghost town we saw several of the locals that were casually sitting on their porch and they waved to us in a friendly manner from their double wide trailer. We stopped to talk to several of the locals and they certainly seemed friendly enough in fact they even offered us a cool beer from their nearby cooler which we graciously accepted.

Although there really is nothing of value to see here it is well worth the drive merely to talk to some of the local citizens and get a different view on the area.

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ruthinian said...

This is a very interesting place. Thanks for sharing.

Sharkbytes said...

Interesting. Made me think of the scene in the most recent Indiana Jones Movie... except THAT town would be flat!

namendra said...

Atomic, Idaho.
It is a very nice place for a beautiful trip. Atomic City was once the most impressive city.

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