The man who first used gas for illumination at Idaho Falls, who put in the first telephone and who set up the first soda fountain in the town, is Louis Elg, druggist. Front and Maine streets. In other respects Mr. Elg has been a pioneer as well. His life has been a busy and eventful one and its important details are well worth the writing and the reading. He was born in Sweden, June 8, 1853, and is descended from a long line of Swedish ancestors. His father, also named Louis Elg, was an ironworker and was frozen to death, at the age of forty-eight, in 1867. His son Louis was then fourteen years old, and on him devolved much of the task of providing for the widow and her seven other children. He worked in a nail factory and in due course of time learned the blacksmith’s trade. In 1874, when he was twenty-one years old, he came to America. His mother is still living in her native land, being eighty years old.
When Mr. Elg came to the United States he found himself seriously handicapped in his efforts to get on by reason of his total ignorance of the prevailing language of the country, but that was only one of the difficulties which he overcame as time passed. He stopped for a while in Chicago, and then located in Boone county, Iowa, and worked for a time in the coal mines there. After that he made his way to Omaha, Nebraska, where he found employment as a blacksmith. Later he worked in Van Dorn’s machine shop and after that the vicissitudes of fortune made him in turn the driver of a grocery wagon and a barkeeper. In 1879 he went to Rollins, Wyoming, and again worked at his trade. Then he attached himself to the work gang that was constructing the railroad which connects Idaho Falls with the outside world, and worked in the building department until operations had extended as far as Dillon, Montana. From that point he returned to Red Rock and opened a saloon and ran it for a time at a profit. From Red Rock he came to Idaho Falls, where he accepted a situation as barkeeper and later bought a half interest in the saloon in which he was employed. Still later he engaged in the saloon business alone and continued in it successfully until 1895, when he abandoned the enterprise to open his drug store. He has erected a building at Front and Maine streets, which contains two large stores, one of which he rents and one of which he occupies. He carries a large stock of drugs, medicines, toilet articles, paints, oils and such other goods as are usually found in the best drug stores. He also deals extensively in coal and ice and is the owner of considerable town property and a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres.
Mr. Elg is a Democrat, but devotes little time or attention to practical politics. He is an enterprising and public-spirited citizen, who takes a deep and abiding interest in the development and prosperity of Idaho Falls, and there is no measure for the enhancement of the public weal that does not have his generous support. He is a Master Mason, an Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias.
In 1887 Mr. Elg married Charlotte Salstrom, a native of Sweden, and they have a son, named Edward August. Mrs. Elg is identified with the Lutheran Church.