From Teton Dam Collapse To Petrogylphs, Transportation Dept. Shares Archival Photos

Jun 1, 2018

The Idaho Transportation Department has been around in some form for more than 100 years. And during that time, employees have taken thousands of pictures, of everything from road projects to historical events in the Gem State. Now those pictures are going online and are free for anyone to use.

Reed Hollinshead is a spokesman for ITD. He says the former Communication Director noticed there were thousands of images they wanted to preserve and share with the public. They’ve been organizing and digitizing photos, with help from the Idaho State Historical Society, for a few years now.

“There are 30,000 images out there [online] which is only part of what is available, we just need to find funding to digitize the rest of them,” says Hollinshead. He isn’t sure but there could be another 30,000 photos waiting to go online.

ITD is responsible for almost 5,000 miles of highway and more than 1,700 bridges. And they’ve been taking pictures of roads in Idaho since the early 1900s.

But it’s not all road work and construction images.

“Some scenic shots, we’ve got people who went and took photographs when the Teton Dam broke and there are other major events in the state’s history that we photographed as well,” says Hollinshead. “It’s really neat to be able to see a town as it existed a hundred years ago.”

Pictures include everything from airport construction to native american petrogylphs to picteresque landscapes of Idaho mountain ranges.

Seven Devils -Looking West from Salmon River Canyon. Idaho Transportation Department (AR24). AERO_00510_1. Idaho State Archives.

“It really is a time capsule. It’s a history of Idaho, all in one place,” says Hollinshead.

It’s a searchable database. Hollinshead says the website launched at the start of May and there have already been 27,000 views already.

“These are photos that belong to the people and the folks in the public need to be able to access and use those photos and we’re very happy to provide that service,” says Hollinshead.

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