Hilarious Yellow Roadside Signs Are a Special Part of Idaho’s History
There’s no doubt about it. Idaho is a state full of exciting history, fascinating places and fun things to do, but even the proudest Idahoans will agree that driving east on I-84 from Boise can get rather monotonous.
We just made that drive last week as we headed to FanX, a big comic convention in Salt Lake City. The drive itself was an utter bore. Since we made the drive at night, we didn’t get to enjoy views of the wide-open skies or scratch our heads over the three mysterious waterslides along I-84 near Heyburn. It was just dark nothingness until we hit a maze of orange cones where they were paving the interstate in Utah.
The routes across Idaho that predated I-84 weren’t any more exciting, but thanks to Stinker Stores founder, Farris Lind, they were at least funnier between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s. If you’ve seen photos of an old yellow and black roadside sign reading “Warning: Idaho is Full of Beautiful, Lonely Women” you were actually looking at the back side of an advertisement for a Stinker gas station. The famous sign was actually just one in a series of more than 100 signs in Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming and Nevada.
Idaho author, Rick Just, released a book about the quirky businessman in 2019. Leading up to its release, he shared the story behind signs on his blog “Speaking of Idaho.” According to Just, the signs were painted on plywood meant for indoor use and the only way to help them withstand the elements and wind along roadways was to paint both sides. Lind decided to put an advertisement for motorists indeed of gas or a place to stop on one side and a funny quote on the other side.
Most of the signs were taken down after the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, something Lind tried to fight. Only a handful of them remain today, but their legacy will last a lifetime thanks to vintage postcards like the ones we found on eBay and folks sharing their memories of the signs they saw when they were younger in social media groups like Facebook’s “Boise & the Treasure Valley History” All of Idaho’s History. Here are some of the funny quotes, Idahoans will never forget from this humorous period in time!