Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Heritage Court honors Basque past

Rose Mallory maintains important cultural history

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo At age 11, Rose Mallory was a true Idaho cowgirl. Courtesy photo Rose Mallory poses before her Hailey High School graduation in 1945.

2007 Heritage Court

The Blaine County Museum will honor a quartet of ladies this month as its fourth annual Heritage Court.

Each lady was chosen for her longevity and commitment to her town. The new court will be honored from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. This year, the entertainment at the coronation will include host Chris Millspaugh and performances by Company of Fools, singer Cheryl Morrell and Footlight Dance Centre. There will be a reception after the event, at which the ladies will "hold court" to meet their public.

After the coronation, special docent tours will be offered at the Blaine County Museum, which just received the governor's "Take Pride in Idaho" award for its dedication to historic preservation.

The four ladies will ride in a vintage carriage in Hailey's Fourth of July Parade, Carey's Pioneer Days Parade, Ketchum's Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade and Bellevue's Labor Day Parade.

Third in a series of four stories on the 2007 Heritage Court.

The coronation of Maria Rosario "Rose" Mallory into the Blaine County Museum's Heritage Court 2007 not only honors a model Hailey citizen, but also the Wood River Valley's Basque heritage.

Born in Ybarrabguella, Spain, Mallory came to Hailey in 1929 at the age of 3. Her father, a native of Idaho, worked in the sheep business and went to Spain to marry Mallory's mother, Epifania "Epi" Inchausti, in 1925.

"I speak Spanish as a first language," Mallory said. "I can't speak Basque, but I do understand it."

Mallory's father was a foreman at the Drake Ranch in Challis and had met her mother in Pocatello on a train from New York City. In 1936, Mallory's parents started a Basque boarding house in Hailey, which housed sheepherders and Basques who were working in the Triumph Mine.

"The Basque heritage has been long-going, almost 100 years in this valley," Mallory said. "I'm glad to have grown up as a Basque."

The Inchaustis owned and operated the Gem Bar until a fire destroyed it in 1950. Then, Mallory's mother started Basque dinners, which today are a part of the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Roberta McKercha Park.

In 1959, when Mallory's father died, the Basque dinners were held at her parents' house on Bullion Street, which was enlarged to accommodate larger dinners. Epi's Basque cooking brought customers from Sun Valley, such as Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, Janet Lee, "Colonel" Harland Sanders and other notable people.

"I helped out," Mallory said. "My mother also served Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce dinners."

Including the Bosie area, Mallory said that this is the largest Basque community away from Spain, though there were many more Basque families in the valley while she was growing up than there are today.

Mallory said her sisters will keep the family Basque tradition alive and the children still carry on her mother's recipes, which are still being used for Basque dinners today.

Mallory's first job was in high school, folding papers for the Sun Valley Sun newspaper, which was printed in Hailey. She ended up having a career in banking until she married her husband, William Mallory.

"My greatest joy was being married to Billy Mallory, my husband, because he had a fun pioneering family here, and I think it was the best decision of my life," Mallory said. "In 1998, he was grand marshal for the Fourth of July parade, which was special because he died that fall."

Mallory was also a telephone operator until 1963 when dialing came to Hailey. In addition, she worked for the Hailey Times, assisting with local happenings, and ended up working in banks for several more years. Mallory also volunteered many times for elections, both local and general. She is an active member of the Red Hat Society and has nine grandchildren.

"It's always been a nice place to raise children and to recreate," Mallory said. "My husband never wanted to leave the valley and loved it. He was born and raised here, and most of his family lives in Idaho."

Mallory's husband was the son of general store owner and regional photographer Martyn Mallory. Rose Mallory played an important role in the organization and identification of his photography collection, now preserved in the Hailey Public library.

"In 1936, there were 1,500 residents when my parents moved here. It was the same year Sun Valley opened for its first winter," Mallory said. "I have lived in Hailey for 71 years. When I used to go to town, I knew everybody. Now there are lots of new people, but everyone is still friendly."

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