Idaho History

Sam McPhee

Once in a great while, I interview an author who has more insights and ideas than can possibly be contained in a 30-minute conversation. Such was the case when I spoke with Emily Ruskovich about her debut novel, Idaho, and so we feature the second part of the interview here.

Emily Ruskovich’s novel, Idaho, begins with a family in northern Idaho who experiences an unthinkable, mysterious tragedy. Left behind is a mother of two in prison, and another woman — who barely knows her — trying to make sense of it all. It seems impossible that the two little girls who once played together in the open fields of beautiful Mt. Iris are gone.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s last independent neighborhood market is safe after two new owners pledge to preserve the local hub and carry on a legacy spanning a century.

Dave Crawforth / Preservation Idaho

Every year, the nonprofit group Preservation Idaho puts on its Heritage Home Tour, spotlighting unique neighborhoods around Boise. This Sunday’s 15th annual tour takes us to the Randolph Robertson neighborhood on the Bench.

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The building housing one of Boise's last true neighborhood markets is for sale. Southeast Boise’s Roosevelt Market has been a community fixture for nearly 120 years.

Matt Hintsa / Flickr Creative Commons

If you're new to Idaho, you may wonder how some Gem State places got their names.  Thankfully, historian and Idaho Statesman columnist Arthur Hart has you covered.

In a recent column, Hart went over the origins of a number of county names:

Kids Choir Students School
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Day, is Saturday, March 4, 2017. The day commemorates the state’s seal, symbols and history. In Boise, on the weekday prior, there was a lunchtime celebration at the State Capitol, with an official proclamation and songs by school kids. The fourth-graders of Longfellow Elementary sang "Here We Have Idaho."

Erin McClure

Stepping through the Roosevelt Market's front door in Boise is like going back in time. Back to an age when free-standing markets and their regular casts of characters created cultural hubs for neighborhoods. Customers walked to buy groceries, greeted familiar faces, and charged purchases to their family's account. None of this has changed for the East End's beloved market -- not even the charge accounts.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A Halloween activity growing in popularity is that of cemetery tours. These guided tours are designed not only to provide a little scare, but usually include a lot of history about the cemetery and the people buried there.

Preservation Idaho, which works to preserve historic sites in the state, is hosting a tour Sunday of Boise's Cloverdale Cemetery. It’s known for its resident swans and a group of reindeer which live on the premises.

Diane Simmons

A new book chronicles the bizarre true story of a Boise woman who became the victim of a bigamist who traveled around the West after World War II. The man, it seems, had a penchant for marrying, and then leaving, young women.

Preservation Idaho

Boise is known as the City of Trees, and one man had a lot to do with that title. Walter Pierce planted 7,000 trees in Boise. One of the neighborhoods he built, and some of his trees, will be part of a tour this weekend.

Walter Pierce was a land locator and surveyor in the late 1800s. When he started a business in Boise in 1890 he platted several Boise neighborhoods, including Elm Grove Park west of Harrison Boulevard in the North End.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Barbara Perry Bauer likes to use the line from the movie The Sixth Sense, “I see dead people.” But she doesn’t mean it literally. This local historian is obsessed with the people and places that shaped Boise. Lately, she’s been seeing a lot of ghosts of groceries past in the North End neighborhood.

Karen Day

A new “commercial hybrid” film takes viewers on a visual journey of Idaho, covering hundreds of miles of landscape and history. “Destination Idaho” will be shown for free Tuesday night in Boise.

Idaho filmmaker Karen Day says her 65 minute travelogue took her all over the state, from Boise to Wallace to Priest Lake.

She funded the film with public and private partners, from Shore Lodge to the National Park Service, to the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her plan was to use history and visuals to inspire people to visit the Gem State.

Mary Hallock Foote

It was an Idaho controversy more than one hundred years in the making. And one playwright is bringing the story to the stage Saturday in Boise.

The story begins in the 1880’s. Mary Hallock Foote lived in Boise with her husband as he tried to build a canal system. She later wrote about her time in Idaho and the West in letters and prose. Almost 100 years later, a famous author used her words and her story, without giving her any recognition. That sparked a controversy over what constitutes plagiarism that lingers to this day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Archives

If you haven’t heard of FDR’s hour-and-a-half stop in Boise on September 27, 1937, you probably aren’t alone. It was the first and only time he visited the city.

 

Almost 80 years later, there’s a local effort to have the visit formally commemorated. 

The president and his wife arrived by train that morning after a stop in Pocatello the night before and would go on from Boise to dedicate the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. But before they did, they got in an open-roof motorcade and cruised the streets of Boise. 

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