Idaho History

Idaho History
12:06 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Idaho's Legacy Comes To Life In 20th Century Photos

William Allen Stonebraker had a homestead of 409 acres in the Payette National Forest and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. His home in Stites, south of Kooskia, was featured in many photos. Here his brother Sumner fools around on the porch.
Credit University of Idaho Library

William Allen Stonebraker worked and played in the rugged central Idaho wilderness at the turn of the 20th century and he's left behind a unique legacy of photographs to tell his story. That photo collection has just been released by the University of Idaho Library.

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6:30 am
Mon October 6, 2014

New Book Explores How The Railroad Built Nampa

The Oregon Short Line depot circa 1908. Railroads were the lifeblood of Nampa in the city's early history.
Credit Canyon County Historical Society

In 1885, southwestern Idaho's Nampa was just a water tower and a few shacks, but that quickly changed when the railroad came to town. A new book by historian Larry Cain examines the railroad's impact on Nampa, and how the city has changed.

Cain says the trains, and their cargo, are a big reason why Nampa thrived in the early part of the last century.

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6:30 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Saved From Demolition, Boise’s Historic Bishop’s House Celebrates 125th Birthday

Historic photo of the Bishop's House at its original location on Front Street.
Credit Friends of the Bishop's House

A house that was once home to Episcopal Bishops and nurses, and was saved from demolition is celebrating its 125th year.

The Bishop’s House was built in 1889 and is one of Boise's oldest continuously-used buildings. It was remodeled 10 years later by well-known Idaho architect John Tourtellotte. He added several rooms, a three-story tower and a wrap-around porch which helped create the unique silhouette of the home.  

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2:18 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New Book Reveals Secrets Of Boise's Old Pen Through Photos

The old Idaho Penitentiary housed inmates from 1872 to 1973. This is the old administration building at the Pen, which is still standing today.
Credit Courtesy Idaho State Historical Society

A new collection of vintage photographs is highlighting Idaho's historic old penitentiary which was home to bank robbers, assassins, horse thieves and moonshiners for more than 100 years. The fortress-like Old Pen has long been a staple in east Boise, and it's now a place for tourists instead of criminals.

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1:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

A Landslide Buried Boise In Mud 55 Years Ago, Scientists Say It Could Happen Again

This was one of the structures on Cottonwood Creek in 1959.
Credit Idaho Statesman, Boise Public Library

Since the devastating landslide hit the town of Oso, Wash. last month, people who live near hill slopes or mountainsides have been asking if something similar could happen to them. Though Boise has not seen the tragic loss of life the Oso slide brought, the city is no stranger to floods and mudslides near its foothills.

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Boise History
6:30 am
Fri April 18, 2014

How Boise's 1959 Mudslide Led To Lasting Protections For City's Foothills

The Idaho Daily Statesman, August 21, 1959.
Credit The Idaho Statesman / The Idaho Statesman/Boise Public Library

It was August, 1959. Boise was having one of its typical hot, dry summers. A fire had just burned 9,000 acres in the nearby foothills. Then on August 20, a huge storm system dumped heavy rain on the Treasure Valley. One inch of rain fell in an hour on the burn scar. 

The water overwhelmed the hills and washed away tons of topsoil. A Forest Service video made several years after the event, tells the story.

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3:12 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

A Plan To Save Boise's Historic Fowler House Hits A Roadblock

Samantha Martin wants to save the Fowler House and turn into an arts collective.
Credit Idaho State Historical Society

An effort to save and restore a 120-year-old downtown Boise mansion hit a snag at auction Friday.

Samantha Martin has been working with Preservation Idaho to prevent the Fowler house from being demolished. Her original plan was to raise enough cash buy the land across the street from the house at 5th and Myrtle and relocate it there.

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7:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Why One Woman Wants To Preserve A 120 Year Old Boise Mansion

The Fowler house.
Credit Idaho State Historical Society

Parts of downtown Boise were once covered with stately homes and mansions full of history. Slowly, those homes have disappeared, and have been replaced with new development. One woman is working to save one of those remaining historic homes, the Fowler house at 5th and Myrtle, from demolition.

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Boise 150
9:28 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Thousands Gather To Celebrate Boise's 150th Birthday

A painter adds color to his canvas at the Rose Garden while people gathered to celebrate Boise's 150 birthday..
Frankie Barnhill Boise State Public Radio

Boise celebrated its 150 birthday Sunday with a massive party at Julia Davis Park. The City of Trees was officially platted July 7, 1863.

Mayor Dave Bieter led the birthday song for the crowd.  Crowds flocked to the shade, escaping the heat under food and beer tents.  The festivities included music from local indie rock group Finn Riggins, as well as more traditional music from Boise's past.

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Public Art
4:25 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

After Criticism, Boise Searches For An Idaho Artist

The "Boise Globe" was one of the finalists for the City Hall project. Because the artist team was not from Idaho, this and two other proposals drew public scrutiny. The selection process is starting over.
Credit Volkan Alkanoglu Design

Boise’s arts and history department is calling – again – for artists to submit sculpture proposals for a revamped City Hall Plaza. The announcement comes after the Capital City Development Corporation [CCDC] threw out the finalists the city had previously endorsed.

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3:35 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

StoryCorps Boise Is Open And Wants To Hear Your Story

The StoryCorps Airstream will be parked in front of Boise's City Hall from June 10-July 6
Emilie Ritter Saunders Boise State Public Radio

For the next month, an Airstream trailer will be parked on the sidewalk outside Boise’s City Hall. It’s the mobile recording booth for the national oral history project known as StoryCorps. The mobile studios travel the country collecting people's stories.

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Public Art
11:45 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Wanted: Idaho Artists

The "Boise Globe" is one of the finalists for the City Hall project. The artist team for this proposal is from Atlanta, which has spurred some questions from the public.
Credit Volkan Alkanoglu Design

Boise is looking for artists to create the city’s first sculpture on a traffic roundabout. The Department of Arts and History is accepting proposals for a project at the new 30th Street extension.

If selected, the artist will be paid $30,000 through a neighborhood reinvestment grant.  

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9:42 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

The StoryCorps Mobile Recording Booth Is Back In Boise

StoryCorps has turned an Airstream trailer into a mobile recording studio.
Credit StoryCorps

StoryCorps has recorded and archived more than 45,000 personal stories since the oral history project launched in 2003. Now, you'll have an opportunity to add your voice.

StoryCorps has partnered with Boise State Public Radio to bring the mobile recording studio to Boise from June 10 through July 6.

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Idaho History
3:36 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Hells Canyon Mail Boats Give Insight Into Idaho's Past

Mail Boat on the Snake River
Credit From the Kyle McGrady collection, courtesy of Bob McGrady

Early in the last century, people living in Hells Canyon didn't have much contact with the outside world.  Their lifeline were  the mail boats that braved the challenging Snake River.  Former Lewis Clark State College professor Carole Simon-Smolinski has been studying Hells Canyon. She'll talk about the mail boat tradition tonight in Boise.  She says the boats started running around 100 years ago.

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10:37 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Why President Lincoln Matters To Idahoans

Dave Leroy was the master of ceremonies of the event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Idaho Territory. The former attorney general has long made the case that Lincoln and Idaho are intrinsically linked.
Frankie Barnhill Boise State Public Radio

Scholars often look to Abraham Lincoln as one of the most important figures in American history. Memorials to the famous president continue almost 150 years after he was killed, including last year’s blockbuster film bearing his name.

Monday, Idaho memorialized Lincoln with a special ceremony, commemorating the sesquicentennial of the day he signed the bill designating the Idaho Territory. 

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Dia De Los Muertos
1:20 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Idaho Pioneer Celebrated On Dia De Los Muertos

Ana Maria Schachtell at the gravestone of Jesus Urquides. The Idaho pioneer's gravesite will be covered with real and paper flowers as part of the Dia De Los Muertos celebration.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Today is the Day of the Dead, the Mexican festival celebrating the souls of dead relatives and friends. In Boise, a unique gathering will honor the life of one little known Idaho pioneer.

Jesus Urquides was a Mexican-American mule packer in the late 1800's. Ana Maria Schachtell is a member of the Friends of Jesus Urquides, a group dedicated to telling the history this mule packer and entrepreneur. She has visited his grave every year for Dia De Los Muertos.  

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Reader's Corner
5:00 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Interview with Mia Bay

Author of "To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells"