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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of November 21 - 27, 2001


Historic files need home

Old Bellevue files 
too many for city to store

Express Staff Writer

In 1886, the governor of the Idaho Territory wanted to know what had happened to "the sixty stand of arms, and the boxes containing the ten thousand rounds of ammunition" he had sent Bellevue "during the time of the threatened riots of last year."

For some people, the governor’s inquiry is just history, but for Bellevue’s city staff, it is living history and part of a larger problem for today’s city government.

This city warrant, dated Sept. 16, 1883, made sure Z.B. Hicks was paid $51 for services as Bellevue’s water district constable. Written across the face of the warrant is "Redeemed, Nov. 10, 1883, G.B. Dilley, city treasurer."

The letter from the governor’s secretary, E.J. Curtis, to Bellevue city clerk J.B. Dilley on March 22, is one of hundreds of historical documents in storage at Bellevue City Hall.

The problem is, City Hall is running out of room, and documents dating back to Idaho’s days as a territory are in danger of being lost forever.

The matter came before the Bellevue City Council on Nov. 8, and the city is looking for public suggestions to solve the problem.

Stamp collectors might be interested in the stamps on some of the letters, like a 1932 four cent stamp bearing the image of William Howard Taft or a 20 cent stamp from 1933 bearing an image of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The historical record also shows that dogs have always been a problem in Bellevue, and subject to swift Wild West justice.

On June 6, 1887, Bellevue Marshal W.W. Jenny put a notice in the Bellevue Herald about dog licensing.

"The tax on male dogs is $2, and the tax on female dogs is $5, and must be paid within a two week period, or such dog or dogs will be killed as provided by the city ordinance."

On May 24, 1887, the city passed an ordinance to preserve the peace and quiet of Bellevue, making it unlawful to "use any vulgar, profane or indecent language within the presence or hearing of women or children in a loud and boisterous manner."

The penalty was a fine of $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days.

Bellevue’s old files even have an arrest warrant and the court complaint against Grover Neuman for breaking this very ordinance.

The complaint, brought by William McQuade and dated Aug. 26, 1918, says Neuman broke the peace with his "tumultuous conduct and indecent [sic] behavior."

Much of the historical materials is unimportant—old bank statements, old water payment receipts, and old bond payment slips—but just in case the old files have important legal documents in them, the city’s attorney, James Phillips, plans to go through the many boxes and envelopes.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.