Pocatello is the county seat and largest city of Bannock County. It is also the primary city of the Pocatello metropolitan area – encompassing all of Bannock County – and had a population of 54,255 as of the 2010 census, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Idaho.
In 2007, Forbes ranked Pocatello 20th on its list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers. Idaho State University is located in Pocatello, as is the manufacturing facility ON Semiconductor. These institutions place first and sixth, respectively, on Pocatello’s list of top employers.
Pocatello was developed as an important stop along the first railroad in Idaho during the gold rush. Located along the Portneuf River (along the route of the Oregon Trail), Pocatello was named after Chief Pocatello of the Shoshoni tribe, who allowed railroad access the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
In 1948, mayor George Phillips passed an ordinance making it illegal not to smile in Pocatello. The “Smile Ordinance” was a cheeky remedy to an unusually severe winter, which had dampened the spirit of city employees and citizens alike. On December 10, 1987, Pocatello was declared the “U.S. Smile Capital.” An event called Smile Days is held annually in Pocatello, which includes a smiling contest and faux arrests of non-smilers.
The Bannock County Courthouse is located at 624 East Center in Pocatello, Idaho. To speak with a courthouse employee, please call (208) 236-7333.