It is possible to color history.
That’s all thanks to the Sugar City Historic Preservation Commission that’s selling coloring books depicting images of the city’s past.
The 17-page coloring book is entitled “Picturing the Past” and is available for $3 at city hall located at 10 Center Street. Created by longtime resident Ginger Brown, the coloring book depicts drawings of the city’s early residents, homes and businesses.
City Councilwoman Joy Ball oversees the commission that used the coloring book as a fundraiser during Sugar Days.
“We thought ‘We could start our fundraising to accomplish some goals in preserving the history of Sugar City,’” she said.
During Sugar Days, the commission netted around $200 from the sale of the coloring books. Some of that money came from donated funds, Ball said.
The coloring books quickly sold, Mayor Steve Davis said.
“They started with two boxes full of coloring books, but they had less than a box left when they were done,” he said.
The coloring book begins with a picture of one of Sugar City’s first buildings that housed McCullock & Huntington Real Estate Loans and Insurance. The company shared the building with The Sugar City Townsite Company.
The next page features a drawing of a “Carpenter Tools” ad from the December 1906 Sugar City Times. The adjacent page depicts the Sugar City Chapel and water tower.
A drawing of the Alfred Ricks Home is also shown. An accompanying page features Alfred, his wife Winifred, and their daughter, Mary Ricks.
Ball’s parents purchased the Ricks’ home in the 1950 and were still living there when the Teton Dam broke in 1976.
“After the flood, it had to be demolished,” she said.
The next page shows a 1906 ad featuring a young man using a pocket knife to carve wood. The adjacent picture shows a toddler with his pet.
“Earl Wilding, at about the age (of) two with the dog, Laddy, that taught him to walk,” says the picture’s caption.
Another page features the old Sugar Beet Factory while the following one shows a young George Ostler standing in front of stove that was part of a 1906 ad. The next page depicts the old District School building.
The former Fremont County Bank on Center Street is featured next. It now serves as Stone Ridge Dental.
“A landmark still today is on Center Street. It started life as the Fremont County Bank. Did you know that Sugar City was once part of Fremont County? At one time (the building) was the high school cafeteria,” reports the picture’s caption.
The next page features John K. Orme, once a prominent Sugar City resident. Turn the page, and a drawing of former Mayor Lyle Moon’s family’s homestead is depicted. The next page features a Shell Service Station that was one of five in Sugar City. Today, Brad’s, Carwash and Gas Station on Center Street is the only gasoline station in town.
The following picture depicts the 1908 Sugar City Mercantile General Merchandise Store while the next one shows the old Bean House. The Bean House survived the Teton Dam flood thanks to being made of rock.
Ginger and her husband, Jess, bought the Bean House 40 years ago.
“It took us years and years and years to get it in decent shape inside,” she said.
Ginger spent two weeks creating the coloring book in 2003 for the centennial committee.
“They gave me a bunch of old photographs from back in the day, and I just blew them up and traced them,” she said.
Ball discovered the coloring book in a filing cabinet. No credit was given to Ginger for the artwork, and Ball tracked down centennial committee members to find the coloring book’s author. Ginger has now been given proper credit in the recently printed 250 coloring books.
“Eventually, one of our goals for these coloring books is to be used in the schools,” Ball said. “We strongly feel like we need to get material created and used in the schools, so they actually teach the history of Sugar City as part of their curriculum.”
The commission also wants to continue gathering historical information and to someday place it inside a Sugar City museum.
“We’re looking for a place that could possibly be a museum,” Ball said.
Ball believes that residents would willingly donate funds toward such a facility. She noted residents raised $50,000 for a new Sugar-Salem-Moody Cemetery irrigation system. Ball also pointed out how the community was also generous in helping to keep the St. Anthony Art Lab open.
“When we see how quickly the art institute in St. Anthony was able to raise money, it shows us there’s hope, and that there are good people out there,” Ball said.
For more information on the coloring books or in donating toward the historical commission call the city at 208-356-7561.