Growing Up in Eagle: A tapestry of memories by two sisters

Kim (left) Pam (right) photos by Cy Gilbert

In the late summer of 1977, Pam McClenny was a teenager when her family made the journey from Kimberly, Idaho, to the then-small farming community of Eagle. Reflecting on that time, Pam shares, “Once we passed Collister, there wasn’t much besides farms until we got to Eagle.” They settled in Eagle Village, a new subdivision behind where the Library is now, surrounded by vacant space until the Library was built in 1999. Pam vividly remembers, “We didn’t get phone lines for a couple of months, so whenever we needed to make a phone call, we went to the pay phone by Orville Jacksons.”

Orville Jackson and his wife

Pam reflects on the shopping scene. “There was a little store called Jerry’s Market where Smoky Mountain is currently, but when we needed groceries, Butterys on the corner of Cole and Fairview was the nearest store,” Pam recalls. Albertson expanded and arrived in 1996. “Eagle was so small, but there was some commerce such as a meat packing plant, The Boise Valley Packing Co, which was located on the river where S Rivershore Ln is located now; Tri-City Meats on State Street and the Bank Club Bar where Da Vinci’s is now.”

 

Old Bank

Eagle, back then, was a tight-knit community with its unique charm. Pam’s involvement in the Eagle Chamber of Commerce during the 90s marked a pivotal period in the town’s history. She recollects, “I was at the groundbreaking for the Eagle by-pass, sat in on talks to bring a High School to Eagle, [and] discussion on strict sign and architectural guidelines.” The goal was clear – to preserve the charm of a small town amid growth.

Kim Winkle, in her reflective interview, expresses the impact of Eagle’s growth on her memories, stating, “That small town I grew up in is long gone.” She fondly remembers waiting at the original Eagle Fire Station where Customedica is now for the Ski Bus, sharing, “We knew everyone on the bus, so it was always a good time.” However, as the years passed, the landscape of Eagle transformed, with Eagle Road being widened and developments like Two Rivers Subdivision altering the familiar scenery. “At the time we thought, who would buy that land to build on, it always floods, it’s next to the river,” said Kim not thinking of the pond diversions at that age.

One significant event etched in Kim’s memory is the burning down of the iconic Egg Farm. She mourns the loss, saying, “None of us will ever forget when the Egg Farm burned down. What a major part of Eagle – I miss the Big Rooster that stood out front.” The main office and site for the egg farm sat where the Eagle Fire Department currently is and stretched 68 acres.

Merrills Egg Farm

Both sisters reflect on Eagle Fun Days, a beloved event that brought the community together. Pam recalls the wet and wild parades and the infamous Eagle Fire Department Nut Feed, named Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed, stating, “People would stand in line for hours… Once you got ‘inside,’ it was just a big party with a good band.” However, Kim notes a change in dynamics, mentioning the event’s cancellation due to issues like excessive drinking and fights. With Eagle becoming the Beverly Hills of Boise, and additional safety measures added, the Nut Feed was brought back.

As Eagle transformed, Kim reflects on the evolving sense of community, saying, “Honestly, in my opinion, I feel like the sense of community and connection has been lost with the growth.” Yet, she acknowledges the positive impact of growth in bringing a High School and Middle School, fostering a different kind of unity.

Eagle Public Library

In the face of change, both sisters emphasize the importance of preserving Eagle’s history. Kim points out the significance of City planners’ decision to divert traffic from downtown, preserving older buildings and fostering a more communal atmosphere.

Looking to the future, the sisters envision Eagle continuing to be a great place to raise a family, embracing growth while holding onto the core values that define the town. Through the lens of Pam McClenny and Kim Winkle’s memories, Eagle, Idaho, emerges as a town woven with threads of nostalgia, growth, and a resilient spirit that transcends time.

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