Boise, the capital of Idaho
A small town with about 220.000 people, but the most important city in the state of Idaho. The capital is located high in the prairie of the state (about 900 m), in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Boise has its roots in the days of the gold rush at the beginning of the 18th century.
A quick review: Fort-Boise was owned by the Hudson Bay Company in 1834, founded by British fur traders. The fort, now known as Old Fort Boise, stood at the mouth of the Boise River, 40 miles from the current Boise. Because of the frequent raids by the Indians, the fort was abandoned in 1854. Nevertheless, the military wanted to build a fort in the area, but before this plan became a reality, gold was discovered in the Boise area in 1862. From then on, it was more necessary than ever to protect the enormous number of gold-seeking travelers who came to Boise.
On July 4, 1863, the military chose the place for the new Fort-Boise and immediately began construction thereafter. Under the protection of the military, the adjacent city grew rapidly. Another significant reason for the rapid growth was the location on the Oregon Trail, which was a passage for thousands of travelers to the Orgeon Territory.
The Oregon Trail
Of all roads in the west, the Oregon Trail was the longest with 2,020 miles. It began in Independence, Missouri, and ended in Oregon City, Oregon. The route through Idaho began at the Wyoming border, crossed the Bear Valley, turned north to Fort-Halle, and followed the Snake River until it finally reached the Boise River. In 1864, when the Territorial Legislative Authority held its second session in Lewiston, Boise was integrated as a city and designated as the capital of the Idaho Territory. In the same year, on July 26, the Idaho Statesman Newspaper published its first issue, becoming the second newspaper in Idaho.
After the gold rush, Boise’s population fell from 1,658 citizens in 1864 to 995 in 1870. With the construction of new buildings and institutions, such as the Territorial Prison in 1869 and the United States Assay Office in 1872, Boise began to grow again. The Capitol was completed in 1886. At the beginning of 1900, Boise received another growth spurt. The improvement came with the expansion of water supply, which led to the construction of the Arrowrock Dam, which was the largest dam in the world from 1915 to 1932.
Today, Boise is still the largest municipality in the state. Numerous national, regional and world companies are headquartered in Boise. Among others Hewlett-Packard, Albertson’s and Micron Technology and Morrison-Knudsen.
Boise is also the navel of commerce, banking and government of the state.
Due to its location and altitude (900 m above sea level), Boise has a moderate climate. During the snowstorms in winter, the nearby mountains are covered in snow, but in the valley mostly only rain arrives. The typical winter day is cold with blue skies.
Boise has a rich cultural life with an excellent Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts brings a wide selection of national, international and regional artists to Boise. The Boise Kunst Museum hosts national and regional exhibitions.
Data & Facts
Population: 220.000 (est. 2019); 205.671 (2010 Census); 195.531 (2000 Census)
Information about the State of Idaho: Idaho — Visiting The Gem State
What to see in Boise and surroundings
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Hwy 93; 18 mi west of Arco
Craters of the Moon National Monument is one of the best places in the world to see the awe-inspiring effects of volcanism. For 15,000 years, the lava eruptions have created a landscape that has forced animals and plants to adapt.
The monument is part of the Snake River prairie, a volcanic terrain that spans southern Idaho. In some places, the prairie is 60 miles wide. Drilling has shown that the lava layer is over 3,000 m deep in some layers. The last outbreaks were about 2,000 years ago.
Official NPS Website: https://www.nps.gov/crmo/
Basque Museum & Cultural Center
611 Grove Street,
The museum interprets the rich and colorful history of the Basques and their ‘Old World’ roots in Idaho. One of the ‘exhibits’ is Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga House at 607 Hain St. It is the oldest building in the city and was for many years a Basque guesthouse.
The Discovery Center of Idaho
131 Myrtle Street
The Center is a laboratory for scientific discoveries and fun. Visitors are interactively involved in scientific research.
Each station allows experimentation and making hypotheses, following the example of ‘real science’.
framed by Jefferson St, W. State St., 6th and 8th St.
The Capitol is the most impressive building of Boise’s public buildings. Built of sandstone and marble from Alaska, Georgia, Vermont and Italy. Construction lasted from 1905 to 1920. A 1m high eagle statue tops the dome.
On the ground floor of the Capitol there is a mineral and gemstone exhibition. The equestrian statue of George Washington and the replica of the ‘Winged Victoty of Samothrace’, a gift from the French, are likely to be the main attractions.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
2445 N. Penitentiary Road
Built in 1870 and used until 1973. At first it was Territorial Prison. Later used as Idaho’s only state prison. The gardens and rose beds are in good condition – as they were at the beginning of the 19th century, when they were cared for by the inmates. An exhibition on prison tattoos is available at the Old Barber Shop.
The Women’s Guardian provides insights into the women’s wing.
Idaho Museum of Military History
4040 W. Guard Street, 303 (Gowen Field)
This museum is one of the newest in Idaho. It is dedicated to the military history of the state and to all those who served in America’s conflicts. The museum features military firearms, Idaho’s naval history, the development of Gowen Field, World War I collections, the Idaho Army and Air National Guard, and extensive demonstrations of American military uniforms from the war to the present day.
Boise Art Museum
670 Julia Davis Dr
Idaho’s only public art museum hosts more than 15 exhibitions a year.