Relight the Night

The Neon Signs of Historic Downtown Pocatello Will Wrap You in a Warm Glow

Article by Kimber Patterson

Photography by Dave Van Hulsteyn + Paige Weber + Craig Worth

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Downtown Pocatello Idaho enjoys many glowing traditions.   Known as the “Gateway to the Northwest,” Pocatello and nearby Chubbuck offer world-class outdoor recreation, countless dining choices, amazing entertainment, and hundreds of lodging options. So it might surprise you to discover that Pocatello is also home to an awesome collection of vintage neon signs. There is a distinct connection between vintage neon signs and the small businesses that form the unique character of cities and small towns. The magnificent artistic signs of Pocatello once rivaled those of any large metropolis.

The Historic Downtown Pocatello Foundation and Randy Dixon have created a neon preservation initiative called "Relight the Night" dedicated to restoring Pocatello’s impressive collection.   They keep the signs glowing to “light up the night” in the vibrant streetscape of downtown.   The restoration campaign has attracted a community who are passionate about their unique sense of place, and a business district willing to create an even more attractive and distinctive destination.  Relight the Night was recently featured during the international Neon Speaks Festival & Symposium championing the preservation of historic neon signs, and bringing together neon sign makers, artists, and preservationists.

The warmth and glow of neon signs have captivated generations for decades.  Signs are social--they identify, promote, inform, and advertise.  They direct and decorate.  They become a beacon - beloved because of their visibility from a certain street corner or from a vantage point across town.  They create magic in the night and add a burst of color to even the greyest of days.

The first sign renovated in Pocatello was the historic Chief Theater sign.  Many treasured memories had been created at The Chief Theater, from first kisses to first dates to more than one marriage proposal. The Chief hung over Main Street from 1938 to 1993, when the theater burned to the ground.  Miraculously, the majestic neon sign survived.  Now completely renovated, The Chief stands 50’ tall, shining brightly every night.  Pocatello currently has over twenty restored signs, with walking tours to admire them all.  Don’t miss the greyhound running around the corner of the Historic Greyhound Bus Station building located on W. Bonneville. This amazing sign is the only one of its kind remaining in the United States.

Pocatello holds other surprises to ensure a unique winter escape that’s fun for the whole family.   Unusual museums, plenty of antique stores, and great food is all within walking distance.   Spending the weekend sightseeing, shopping and playing in downtown Pocatello is guaranteed to fill you with a warm glow.

PAGE 2 SIDEBAR:  The majestic Chief Theatre neon sign hung over Main Street from 1938 to 1993, when it survived a fire that destroyed the building.  Now completely renovated, it illuminates downtown Pocatello every night.


#1:  Don't-Miss-Neon  Buster Brown Shoes  Restored by Relight the Night and a number of contributors on November 27, 2020.

#2:  Don't-Miss-Neon   Fred's Photo Service Restored by Relight the Night and the Cuoio Family

#3: Don't-Miss-Neon   Ukiah Rexall Drug Restored by William Eames and Michael Snyder Haas


TownePlace Suites by Marriott

2376 Via Caporatti Dr,

Pocatello, ID 83201


Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel

777 Bannock Trail, Fort Hall, ID 83203


Yurt at East Fork Mink Creek Nordic Center

Forest Rd 524 Pocatello, Idaho 83204



The Yellowstone Restaurant (fine dining)

230 W Bonneville St, Pocatello, ID 83204


Elmer’s Restaurant (family friendly)

851 S 5th Ave, 

Pocatello, ID


Jim Dandy Brewing  (craft beer and food trucks)

305 E Lander St, Pocatello, ID 83201



Old Town Mercantile & Antiques – with 3 floors of cool stuff, this is the place to score an amazing treasure or two.  Or three.  Or five.

134 N Main St.

Pocatello, ID 83204


Molinelli’s Jewelers – this 118 year old institution is Idaho’s oldest jewelry store showcasing classic and modern designs

126 N Main St.

Pocatello, ID 83204


DNH Studios – handcrafted items including unique fragrances, bath products, and much more

200 S Main Street, Suite G

Pocatello, ID 83204



Museum of Clean Pocatello

This awesome 74,000 sq. ft complex is dedicated to the notion that clean dominates the value of everything that effects life. Come prepared to interact, laugh, and learn.  This is not a cleaning museum; it is a museum of clean.  

711 S 2nd Ave

Pocatello, ID 83201


Pebble Creek Ski Area

This alpine ski area is located a short drive east of Pocatello.  Sitting atop Mt. Bonneville in the Portneuf Range, it offers 1100 acres of skiing delight.

3340 E Green Canyon Rd

Inkom, ID 83245


First Friday Art Walk

The first Friday of every month all year long features art, music, food, fashion and more in over 20 downtown shops and restaurants.  Free parking and admission.

For more information on Relight the Night, visit oldtownpocatello.com/relight-the-night

For more information on lodging, dining and more, visit HistoricDowntownPocatello.com

PULL QUOTE PAGE 4:   Don’t miss the greyhound running around the corner of the Historic Greyhound Bus Station building located on W. Bonneville. This amazing sign is the only one of its kind remaining in the United States.

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