City officially gives parking lot name to historic past

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Residents driving past the new parking lot on East Jackson between North Main (Highway 30) and North 2nd East on March 18, may have noticed the new "El Rancho Public Parking" sign being installed on the western corner of the lot.

The sign's old El Rancho Restaurant logo connects the lot to the history of Mountain Home.

Newer residents and younger people, the sign may not be aware of the significance of the design and name on the sign, but to long time residents, it represents a link to Mountain Home history.

When the El Rancho coffee shop and restaurant was built on the site of an old gas station in the early 1950's, it became one of the main social gathering places in Mountain Home.

Until it was demolished by the State of Idaho for the construction of the new rail road underpass in 2001, the El Rancho was part of Mountain Home's social scene. It was where friends met for coffee, meals, meetings, banquets, wedding receptions and other celebrations.

From the time the city counsel members conceived of purchasing the state-owned lot to be used for public parking, Mayor Tom Rist said the Mountain Home City Council referred to the land as the "El Rancho lot."

The State of Idaho sold the land to the City of Mountain Home in 2008 with the stipulation that the land could not be sold to a private concern and could only be used for public parking.

During 2008, the city completed grading and paving the lot. They ran out of time before winter set in, so, with funds already allocated, the city is currently completing the sprinkler system, sod installation, planting trees in containers and installing a drip system for the trees.

Mayor Rist said, while there are no further funds available at this time, the city hopes to be able to add more features to the park area when the economy recovers. They would like to build a bandstand or gazebo and commission a mural to be painted on the wall below the park.

Meanwhile, as with other city parks, the El Rancho lot is available for events and has already been booked for an auto event in June.

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  • Why wasn't the El Rancho Lot named something in English? If it belong to the community why wasn't a contest held to name the lot?

    -- Posted by jctas on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 9:29 PM
  • Have you seen posted on one side of the sign?





    NO TRUCKS OVER 10,000 lbs






    -- Posted by Beau on Fri, Mar 27, 2009, at 12:12 AM
  • Oh please. If there had been a contest that is the name that probably would have been chosen. It isn't that big of a deal what the city names a PARKING LOT. Just to let you know there are dozens of city parks in town and I don't remember there ever being a contest to name those parks. Rosewood, Richard Aguirre, Carl Miller, Optomist, Stone Tree, Basque Park, etc.

    -- Posted by yoB on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 9:56 AM
  • I guess I'm one of the few that remember the old El Rancho, and it was one of the best places in town to eat. I have no problem with the name, it will help remind me of a favorite place in town. Seems to me to be a small issue anyway, and not worth the negative comments that have been posted so far. Does everyone in Mountain Home think they need the authority to name everything in town?

    -- Posted by rainproof on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 7:28 PM
  • Hopefully, the pictures from the walls inside the El Rancho have made it to the local historical society. Movie Stars (and others) who were in Idaho for fishing made several stops there for dinner.....

    -- Posted by tgamb on Thu, Apr 9, 2009, at 8:56 AM
  • The El Rancho name for the parking lot makes me smile. I went there with my parents when they were looking for a little more in a dining experience (at that time it was a step ahead of the Oregon Trail Reaturant). We could not afford to go often, but enough to realize that this was the best resturant in town. Of course when I was in High School the DI was the best ever. Especially the Hash Browns and Gravy after dancing at the Sugar Shack all night. I am sure the Mayor will agree that these three reaturants were the towns favorites. Anyway it was nice to see that they brought the name back.

    -- Posted by TLJones on Fri, Apr 10, 2009, at 10:45 PM
  • Apparently they...........

    -- Posted by Beau on Thu, Apr 16, 2009, at 1:18 AM
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