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Where You At? Pocatello Pillars tower over ISU campus

Those who have been to Idaho State University have likely seen the pillars looming over the campus from atop Red Hill.


Think of all the places in Idaho that feature Greek architecture; there are a few out there. 

There are the columns at the Idaho State Capitol building, a couple of buildings in downtown Boise, and an amphitheater at the College of Idaho. 

Those who have been on the campus of Idaho State University in Pocatello have likely seen the Pocatello pillars on top of Red Hill: Four iconic Greek columns that one might think stood for some sort of symbol. 

According to the ISU new student orientation webpage, the three connected pillars represent students while in college, supported by friends and classmates. The fourth, standing alone, represents students after graduation, ready to test their ISU education in the real world.

But that is not really the case. The real story is a little less poetic.

The pillars began fastened to the front of the oldest funeral home in Pocatello, which opened in 1916. 

The pillars stood in place for a half-century, until 1966, when the owner, Jack Henderson, wanted to relocate. He donated the pillars to ISU. 

There they sat in storage for five years, until the alumni association decided to drag them up to Red Hill. 

The pillars have become a kind of a rite of passage for ISU students. It’s tradition for new students to make the hike up Red Hill Trail for the first-year picture. Then there’s the homecoming tradition of hiking to the pillars just before midnight to become a true Bengal.

It also helps that people have a great view of the sunset from beneath the pillars.

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