PLSO The Oregon Surveyor May/June 2022

11 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | Featured Article THE LONG WAY AROUND, PART I By Mike Fallert, PLS Pat Gaylord gave such a great speech this year at the PLSO conference about getting the magazine some stories that I was inspired to put this article together. I may not be the best storyteller, but the journey of the Oregon Trail is so interesting that it’s a story that practically tells itself. We’ll start the story in a small town in southeastern Idaho called Arco, where I was born. Arco is nestled at the mouth of the Big Lost River Valley on the northerly edge of the Snake River Plane, which is a wide and flat area formed by lava flow. Interesting fact: Arco was the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power! This curious incident happened for about an hour on July 17, 1955, powered by the Argonne National Laboratory’s BORAXIII reactor at the nearby Idaho National Laboratory. I was born in the local hospital there as a fourth-generation homesteader on both sides of my family. My great grandfather Lorenzo Fallert came over from the Baden-Baden region of Germany in the late 1800s–early 1900s and homesteaded in the Little Lost River Valley. My great grandfather Lewis Smith came from the Midwest, also with German heritage, to the Big Lost River Valley in the early 1900s and homesteaded. My grandfather Harold Smith was a proud graduate of the 8th grade and was out on his own to make a life. He did just that and eventually acquired other homesteads adjacent to his family in the Darlington area north of Arco. Now here is where the “surveying” part begins! As farmers and ranchers, the need for irrigation ditches where water could flow amid the fields was a necessity, along with fences for the cattle. The Smith continues  Main Street, Arco, Idaho. Photo by Squelle, licensed under Creative Commons. Arco, Idaho, in 2000. Photo by davidwilson1949, licensed under Creative Commons.