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.



  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,

    • 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.

  5. Posted June 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My brother and I were stranded on a late summer night in 1979 on an exit ramp near Buhl while hitchhiking to Boise from Pocatello. A farmer put us up for the night. His wife made us the best breakfast ever and the farmer dropped us off on the same ramp in the morning. Drich was the next man on the road and he picked us up on his way to Boise. For the next Two hours our ears were filled with his life’s stories. He was on his way to the Capitol building and was about to put up a fight to change the law. He bought a generator from a Navy ship. He used it for his private electrical use for his home. His private spring turned the generator allowing him to disconnect from the Idaho Power grid and independent. Apparently I. P. Made him pay even though he used none of there electricity. That mad him angry. He made an electric car, low voltage hair dryer for his wife and I’m sure many other low voltage appliances to make their home comfortable. Later in life Oct 2006 I went to SRP only to find nobody around. My wife and I did follow the honor system instructions snd picked out a couple of smaller pieces and left a check. The studio’s equipment looked recently used and still operational. We now wish we bought more items. R.I.P. Drich. Thanks for the ride I will never forget. God bless.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink | Reply

      That is a cool story

  6. Rick Felden
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    My father used to bring my mother back pieces when he would go to Idaho duck and pheasant hunting, the oldest dated piece I have is 1955. I remember visiting there probably in the early sixties and bring fascinated by the generator, it’s a shame the studio didn’t live on.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink | Reply

      I was just there and drove by the Snake River property. It’s for sale and sits on 2 acres of river frontage. They have it listed for
      $490,000. Lot’s of wonderful people passed through there and you can feel the artistic energy all around.

      • Rick Felden
        Posted August 13, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink | Reply

        I wonder if the generator is still down at the river?

  7. Anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Probably, It’s his son Peter that owns it now. I don’t think he lives there though.
    Dritch was my brother and sister’s drama and speech teacher at Buhl High School in the 60’s.
    I saw an old Popular Science (late 50’s) article on them and how they engineered all their equipment. It was very

    • Posted August 13, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That guy was so nice. Wish I could afford that property. I own a piece of SRP. Just a cup but a real treasure.

  8. Lisa Maakestad
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My mother Madi Brailsford was very close friends with Dritch and Di. She did theatre with them also. As I child I remember going to SRP and sitting on the wheel while Di instructed me. I must have been around 4 at the time. My mother remained close to them both throughout the years. I studied art in school, and pottery became my passion due to the Bowlers influence. Lastly, sometimes when life is just crazy hectic and I cant seem to catch my breath….I think of SRP and the beauty that was both on the inside and out, and suddenly, I can again breath deeply and soundly with those memories floating around in my mind, truly a special place and special people.

  9. Pam Connelly
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My parents and I found SRP by accident while wandering the back roads on a trip back to Boise. Drich by then was on oxygen, but still had the open studio. He and my dad had so much to talk about, as Archie Teater had some connection to my grandfather, who also had some of Archie’s artwork. It was a small world back then, amazing how without electronic communication so many people stayed connected, if in a slower manner. We made a few trips there, enjoying them all. I treasure my pottery and use it quite often. Drich made so much to be used and loved. We were so disappointed to learn that beautiful place was closed to the public and no longer a studio. Great memories.

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