Boise is the Idaho State Capital, Ada County Seat and Idaho's largest City. This past September Gribblenation staff writer Tom Fearer visited the City of Boise and much of the surrounding Metro Area. Below is a compellation of sites and infrastructure pieces around the Boise Metro Area that Tom thought would be interesting to Gribblenation readers. Pictured above is the view facing northward on Capitol Boulevard from the 1925 Union Pacific Depot towards the Idaho State Capitol Building.
Part 1; a brief history of the formation of the City of Boise
Boise lies within Boise Valley along the namesake Boise River. The origin of the City of Boise can be traced back to the establishment of Fort Boise on the Oregon Trail. The original Fort Boise was established in 1834 by Thomas McKay of the Hudson Bay Company near confluence of Boise River and Snake River close to modern Parma of Canyon County. The original Fort Boise was established at the same location of two prior fortifications which had been abandoned in the 1810s.
Fort Boise was originally a private venture by Thomas McKay which was supported by the Hudson Bay Company largely to facilitate fur trading. The Hudson Bay Company took full control of Fort Boise beginning in 1836. In 1838 Fort Point was relocated to the confluence of the Boise River and Snake River. Fort Boise was often prone to flooding due to it being wedged between two major rivers. Following a major flood and Shoshone attack on an emigrant train in 1853 the Army declared Fort Boise indefensible. With the Army's declaration the fur trade at Fort Boise stalled and relocated which led to the fortification being abandoned in 1854.
A 1849 sketch of the original Fort Boise can be seen on the historyglobe.com page on the Oregon Trail.
A second Fort Boise was commissioned on July 4th, 1863 during the American Civil War due to increased attacks on emigrants along the Oregon Trail. The location of the second Fort Boise was selected due to it being in a more defensible position north of the Boise River approximately fifty miles east of the original fortification. The second Fort Boise was also at the junction of Oregon Trail with the ION Cutoff (Idaho-Oregon-Nevada) to the Owyhee Mining District in Silver City onward to the California Trail and with the trail to Boise Basin Mining District of Idaho City.
On March 3rd, 1863 Idaho Territory was created with Lewiston serving as the Territorial Capital. A community began to develop around Fort Boise which incorporated as the City of Boise during 1864. Boise would also become the Ada County Seat after it split from Boise County during December 1864. Boise would become the Capital of Idaho Territory replacing Lewiston during 1866. Boise was retained as the Capital of Idaho when it obtained Statehood on July 3rd, 1890.
Boise can be seen on the 1872 Bancroft's Map of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia along the Oregon Trail. The ION Cutoff towards Silver City and the road to Idaho City branching away from the City of Boise.
The Union Pacific Railroad constructed a forty four mile spur of the Oregon Short Line between Orchard and Nampa dedicated to passenger service by 1924. A new depot building was constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad atop the Bench (now Depot Hill) which saw the first passenger train arrive on April 16th, 1925. The first passenger train arriving at the 1925 Union Pacific Depot can be seen below in a Union Pacific Railroad sourced photo.