Pocatello is known as the “Gateway to the Northwest” (or “Gate City” by the locals). Pioneers, gold miners and settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail passed through our gates. Stage and freight lines and the railroad soon followed, turning the community into the trade center and transportation junction it is today.
LDS Members make up 52.09% of the population of Pocatello. The state of Idaho has 414,182 members in 121 stakes, 979 wards and 98 branches, 2 missions, and 4 temples in Idaho, with a fifth announced to be built in Meridian Idaho. Idaho has the third most Mormons of any U.S. state (after Utah and California), and the second-highest percentage of Mormons (after Utah).
Latter-day Saints first attempted settlement in what is now Idaho at Fort Limhi (later spelled Lemhi) on 15 June 1855 but that was abandoned in late March 1858. A second LDS colonization effort began in 1859 when a group of Utah saints began claiming and improving land near Franklin. The Bear River Massacre, reputedly the worst one-day killing of Native Americans in U.S. history, took place several miles northwest of Franklin on 29 January 1863. Responding to complaints regarding Indian attacks on emigrants, settlers, miners and cattle, federal troops from Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City killed about 300 natives in an early morning attack. Residents of Franklin nursed the troops’ wounds as they returned to Fort Douglas. A few settlers were permitted to return to the massacre site and rescue surviving adult Natives and three small children.