Snake River Pottery

Sometime in 2007 or 2008, Snake River Pottery between Bliss and Hagerman Idaho faded into history. No new pottery studio appears to be emerging in Hagerman. The site of Snake River Pottery is now a private residence.

The owner and builder Aldrich “Drich” Bowler passed away January 16, 2007 at the age of 91 after running Snake River Pottery for 60 years. He built his former home and site of the Snake River Pottery with his long time friend and architect, Arthur Troutner, who he met at the University of Idaho. Art and Drich built the house by hand with very little money back in 1947. It was probably Troutner’s first residence. Troutner went on to design and build homes in the Ketchum-Boise region often using trademark stone that was quarried at a quarry owned by Troutner and his brother Paul in Oakley. That is the same stone used in the Teater house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and within view of the former Snake River Pottery. Troutner also designed the Kibbie Dome at the University of Idaho and the circular Boise Little Theater.

W. Mark Felt, “Deep Throat” of the Nixon-Watergate Era, was another long-time friend of Drich Browler. They had attended the University of Idaho together, as well. Drich Bowler had dated Felt’s future wife while attending high school in Gooding.

Drich Bowler was a co-founder and lead actor in the Antique Festival Theatre, which brought theater to small towns in the 60’s and 70’s. Drich had studied acting in New York City where he lived in a tiny apartment with Marlon Brando.

I remember my first visit to the Snake River Pottery in the late 90’s. No one was home, but a note was left on the door to help yourself and leave a check for whatever you decide to take. The vase we selected still has a prominent place in our home. On a subsequent visit, we were shown an old VW bug Drich had engineered that was powered by a dozen or so batteries and was used nearly two decades before our visit. At more than 25 years ago, it would have been Idaho’s first electric car.

It seems a shame that the Snake River Pottery has not continued as a tribute to Drich Bowler, an icon and integral part of the fabric that makes Idaho history.

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6 Comments

  1. jlawrence01
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I stopped in Snake River Pottery in 2002 or so while we were in Idaho. We walked into the studio and thought we were alone.

    Then, Mr.Bowler walked out and talked with us for 20-30 minutes. At the time, he was in poor health and dependent on an oxygen tank. However, you could see the passion as he explained his craft to us.

    It is a real shame that the studio is closed. The view from that porch was a million dollar view as you could see a mountain spring fed creek flowing into the Snake River.

  2. Colleen Nichols
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My brother took drama in high school from Drich in Buhl. I was in the Antique Festival Theatre as a child. He was quite an
    artist and the Theatre Company was incredible esp. for a small community like Buhl.
    I want to see if I could locate any of his pottery pieces. We left Idaho in the late 60′s and have no clue who may have
    some of his work.
    Thank you,
    Colleen

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink | Reply

      I have a Piece of Di pottery..cant seem to find anything about it…Is there someone who could help me in my Quest to find out about it..??? Please and Thank you

      • paultower
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Di was Drich Bowler’s wife. She would sign her work ‘Di’ along with the year it was made. I don’t know if she or anyone else kept a catalog of her works.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Would it help if i sent a pic of it..????

  4. Susan C
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I too have a piece of Snake River pottery by Drich. I also met him late in his life when he was very ill. The piece I own is a legged bowl shaped platter, which he told me was the only legged platter he ever made. I treasure this piece which is quite large and use it to serve large cuts of meat at holidays. Drich’s home was filled with pottery pieces that were in use as everyday objects. I, too, miss the pottery. It was one of my favorite places to take visiting friends and family.

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