Ads 468x60px

Subscribe:

7/22/11

Urban Exploration - Welcome to Arco, Idaho



I am fascinated by blogs like Ghost Hunting Theories and Above the Norm who do Urban Exploration (or Urbex).  When the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to try this on my own...

Traveling to Boise for work, I decided to take the backroad and bypass the interstate.  I drove along route 20, which cuts a path through south-central Idaho, and takes you a lot of the older towns that have populations in the hundreds (or less).  One town I passed was Arco.


Arco was founded in 1901, and currently has a population sitting around 900.  In its prime, the city brimmed with over 1,500 people!  Sadly, there are more abandoned buildings and run-down businesses in Arco than there are people. 

One highlight of this town is the fact it was the first city ever powered by atomic energy, back in 1955.  It is also close to the Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear testing site home to the only fatal reactor-meltdown in the US (back in 1961).  The INL is the main hub of employment in Southeast Idaho, and many Arco residents work at the site.


One interesting sight in Arco is number hill.  The local high school has a tradition of painting the graduating class' number on the hill, a tradition carried on since 1920.  As far as senior pranks go, this is pretty tame, but a 91 year old tradition is still pretty cool.

Sadly when driving through Arco, you're in and out of the town faster than you can sing Mambo #5.  With all the run-down businesses and houses nearby, I was hoping on doing some true Urbex, but all of the properties were fenced off and monitored.

Even something as simple as taking a picture of this abandoned house drew a patrol car, asking if I was planning to tresspass.  I told the officer "no, just taking pictures from the public road" and he left with a sneer.

Maybe I'll try the urbex thing again later, when I can find a place that isn't so heavily policed.  For a town of less than 1,000, there sure were a lot of law enforcement around....

10 miles east is a smaller town called Atomic City.  Maybe I'll go there next?
Please Share it! :)

18 witty retorts:

Haven said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Dale said...

I'm surprised they even have polic there, I'm so fascinated by towns like this (population under 1K) because I just can't imagine what it would be like to live in a town that small. Thanks for sharing and taking a different path to Boise that day. :)
-dale

Pickleope said...

With a name like Atomic City, how can you resist? If there's not a superhero patrolling Atomic City, I demand they change the name.

Pickleope said...

Urban exploration is great. With a name like Atomic City, how can you resist? And if there's not a superhero patrolling, I demand they change that city's name.

myjoyproject said...

I agree with Pickelope - Atominc City sounds like a perfect place to explore :)

(love the pic of the abandoned shack btw, a creepy subject put against a bright blue cheerful sky = awesome)

BigOryx said...

i love Urbex too, and your report made me wanna explore new places, great post, I love it
I hope you will do more urbex ;-)

The Minute Man's Wife said...

That picture of the dilapidated house made me feel sad inside, but then I laughed when i read about the cop!!

Shutterbug said...

It looks like a great place to film old westerns! :)

Autumnforest said...

I just knew you'd get hooked! Yahoo! Idaho has to be one of the best states for this hobby. We run into the same issue in Superior--great mining town but very very policed and the folks don't like you stopping or taking pictures. They slow their cars down and sneer at you. Some advice--old mining towns and agricultural towns--the best. Avoid main street. Go to the outer circle of the town.

D4 said...

It's probably not heavily policed at all. That's probably just where all the action happens.

Melissa Hicks said...

I grew up in a place like that. It was thriving...until the railroad built itself 30 miles over. Our old store used to be the Opera House.

Adsila said...

I feel like a proud Mama. I love that we got you interested in checking out abandoned places and taking pictures of them. Be careful, you will get hooked. Like Autumnforest said, those small town peeps seem to stare at you like you was an alien from another planet. We did have cops check us out when we were photographing an abandoned ballpark. They never said anything, just watched us for awhile.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I think that I would rather walk through a Taliban encampment than a small Podunk town where the population has that ever so charming "you aren't from around here are ya boy" mentality... At least the Sheriff didn't hassle you too much.

But I find small towns like this pretty fascinating as well. The Panhandle of Florida has quite a few towns like this also.

Mynx said...

Great pics and I love doing the same and getting off the highway.
The abandoned house is interesting to me. Stone base then timber.
Very different to what you might see in our country side

hit girl mellie said...

You never know what you are gonna find. I have heard stories about a set of train tracks and the surrounding land for years.

Melanie said...

I love going up north here and discovering things that could be anything. I am dying to check out the Michigan Pyramids, but they are WAAAAAAY up north, so it may have to wait until next summer. Some claim they are man made, others claim they are natural. I would like to make my own decision. And how funny is it that the police were all over you. That means there's something really cool going on!

Astronomy Pirate said...

That's an interesting little town your found. Urban exploring could be a fun hobby, I wouldn't mind seeing more small towns like this.

Bluezy said...

I have seen the sign a billion times, but never been there. It is so close...There is a place called the Seven Mile Tunnel and the St. Anthony Ice caves...too that are so close to where I live that I need to go see. The lava rocks around here are pretty boring...

Post a Comment

Comments are always appreciated. Sometimes they end up being better than the initial post! Come join in on the fun... (and remember, you can post anonymously)

And if you like the post, feel free to share! Stumble, Digg, Tweet, go bananas!