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The History of Boise

Northwest of Boise’s current location, Hudson’s Bay Company founded a trading post for wagon trails in 1834 along the Oregon Trail on the Snake River. The spot was called “Les Bois”, coined by the French-Canadian fur trappers, directly translating to “wooded”. Thousands of emigrants continued to pass through on their way to Oregon. After about 30 years, gold was discovered in the area and brought many prospectors, creating a convenient supply point for the mining camps.

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In 1864, the town became a territorial capital and was incorporated as a city. Over the following years, gold strikes continued. By 1868 the town had more than 400 permanent structures, many of which were residential.

Once the gold boom settled, the population was in decline as Boise was an isolated location far off major lines of transportation. The determined citizens made it their initiative to make the area livable by developing irrigation systems, planting crops, and mapping out a town with shady streets along the river.

The city became the state capital when Idaho entered the Union in 1864. After 15 years of construction, the Capitol building was completed in 1920. By 1925, the Union Pacific Depot (Boise Depot now) was built as the first railway service to run through the area.

Before World War II multiple dams and reservoirs were constructed to improve the agricultural outlook for the growing city. During World War II the military became a strong presence in the Boise area, establishing the Gowen Field for flying and training. In the 1960’s the city doubled in population and suburban areas, leading to further growth over the years.

Today, Boise flourishes with job opportunities is recognized for a high quality of life, and is ideal for the favorable climate with all four seasons. As the high-tech industry evolves and the population grows, Boise is continually recognized as one of the top places to live in America.

DOWNTOWN BOISE

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JUMP is Boise’s local gathering spot for all things learning, growth, and imagination. Offering community classes, events, and a playground surrounding the building, JUMP is the perfect place to experience new ways of learning.

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Just after the turn of the of the 20th century, Boise soon found itself being home to more and more Basques. According to the book Moon Idaho by James P. Kelly, Basques set up a home-base in Boise in large part due to sheep herding: “It was a job that they could get without needing to speak English and that few others were willing to take because of its solitary nature.” Boise eventually ended up with the largest Basque population in the entire country. As well as the third-largest Basque population of any city in the world. As the years progressed, most of the Basque influence held in Boise was assimilated by American culture. But one specific block located at the intersection of Capitol and Grove Street seems to have been preserved almost flawlessly, The Boise Basque Block.

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Over 50 years in the community, the Boise River Greenbelt brings 25 miles of trail extending along the Boise River. The tree-lined pathway trails through the city and multiple parks for an abundance of beautiful views and wildlife. Make sure to check out the live music at the Sand Bar (pool) connected to the Riverside Hotel at the Greenbelt, Garden City.

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Boise is home to the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest. Freak Alley Gallery connects local artists, giving them space to create a collective masterpiece extending along the walls of an alley in downtown Boise.

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Home to the first non-green football field in the world is Boise State’s football stadium. Commonly referred to as the “smurf turf” since 1986, it’s one of Boise’s most iconic attributes.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE...

TAKE A HIKE

Hiking is second nature to us here in Boise. With the foothills literally in our backyard, there are more trails than we can count. Some of our favorites and Boise -must trek trails are from the Idaho Penitentiary to Stack Rock from Bogus Basin, Ceravide Peak from Lucky Peak Reservoir, or around the hills of Camels Back. Be sure to start in the morning and avoid the dry, Boise summer sun heat.

TAKE A LEISURELY WALK THROUGH THE BOTANICAL GARDENS

The summer is the perfect time to see our stunning Botanical Gardens in bloom. With awesome events every summer there’s always something fun to do here.

CYCLE THROUGH THE GREENBELT

Summer is the perfect time to hop on your bike and enjoy the natural beauty of the Greenbelt. This is the perfect way to get to know our fair city while also getting your daily dose of nature. What’s more, Boise is extremely cycling-friendly, meaning you can get just about anywhere in the city by bike.

TAKE IN A RODEO SHOW

Stop by the 108-year-old Snake River Stampede to take in a rodeo show and see some of the state’s finest cowboys test their skills.

ZIP LINE FROM THE TURKEY 2000

Thrillseekers will get a huge kick out of ziplining through the hills of Horseshoe Bend on the outskirts of Boise with Zip Idaho. Dare you to take on the Turkey 2000, a 2,030-foot zip line that will set even the steeliest hearts a-flutter? it is about 31 miles from Nampa and 20-plus miles from Boise.

GET A GROUP TO A BIKE BAR

Several companies now allow you to rent their 15-person bike bars. Ride around while you enjoy a cold brew with all your friends and family! Or visit some of Boise’s Breweries. Boise also has some wonderful wineries to visit. Boise Wineries - The five must-visit vineyards! For a fuller list, check out this list of a variety of wineries.

As you celebrate Eric and Nina tying the knot, why not also explore the flavors of Boise? Check out this wonderful list of Boise's finest restaurants – perfect for making your wedding journey even more memorable!"

RIDE THE MOUNTAIN COASTER AT BOGUS BASIN

Bogus Basin Mountain Resort recently put in its latest and greatest attraction. You can ride the mountain coaster for $19 for a single ride, or $29 for tandem.

RENT A PADDLEBOARD ON QUINNS POND

Take advantage of the 22-acre recreational pond that is located north of the Boise River and rent a paddleboard for the day.

PADDLE BOAT IN JULIA DAVIS PARK

Spend the day in one of Boise’s most beautiful parks and spend just $15 for 1 hour of paddle boat fun!

FLOAT THE BOISE RIVER

It almost seems as if the Boise River was made to float down. At the starting point, you can rent tubes or even grab a bite to eat at their snack shack. You can also determine how long you want your float to be with several different stopping points already made along the river.

Enjoy the Ste. Chapelle Concert Series

Ste. Chapelle one of our local wineries, located in Caldwell, hosts a great summer concert series. Sunday afternoons, a summer-long stop by for live music, tasty food, local vendors, and of course... WINE!

SHOP, EAT AND DRINK AT THE VILLAGE AT MERIDIAN

Our local outdoor mall, The Village, is nothing less than spectacular! Not only does it have some of our favorite shops, but throughout the summer live music is played right in the center of it all. Stop by on Friday evenings to enjoy food, and yummy drinks, or to just jam out to good music.

WHITEWATER RAFT DOWN THE PAYETTE RIVER

Seeking adventure? Whitewater rafting is calling your name! Multiple rafting companies line the mountain, so don't miss out on a wild adventure. Eric and Nina have done it two times prior and it is a blast!

THE HISTORY OF NAMPA

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In 1883, the landscape of what would become Canyon County was changed forever when the Oregon short-line railway (a subsidiary of the Union Pacific) made its way from Granger, Wyoming, to Huntington, Oregon. The sagebrush-covered ground was cleared and leveled so tracks could be laid providing an opportunity for safer travel to emigrants from the East. Towns sprung up about every 10 to 15 miles along the tracks – Nampa is one such town.

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No one knows for sure where the name “Nampa” came from, but as the railroad was built through Idaho, unusual names were given to some of the stations. Many of these names were believed to be of Native American origin.

In 1885, Alexander and Hannah Duffes (with the encouragement of James McGee) homesteaded on 160 acres of land east of Caldwell to create a town. In 1886, Duffes and McGee formed the Nampa Land and Improvement Company and divided the property into lots. Duffes was a religious man and dreamed of a town with no saloon. As such, he refused to sell lots to anyone who intended to build a saloon. Consequently, people began referring to the town of Nampa as “New Jerusalem.” Interestingly, 21 years later, the Duffes home was moved and a brewery was built in its place.

THINGS TO DO IN NAMPA

Take a Stroll Through the Saturday Farmers Market. There's nothing we love more than local vendors, tasty food, and walking outside on a warm summer morning. Where's more perfect to do all of that than the Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Nampa.

They have a beautiful restaurant called Brick 29 and a speakeasy, called the Craft Lounge. They also have the Centerfire Distillery and brewery called, Mother Earth Brewery.   Make sure to check out Hudson VineyardsSawtooth Winery, or Parma Ridge Winery for the richness of the Idaho vineyards. If wine or beer is not is not your thing, they have a great restaurant that serves "Tacos and Tequila." 

For those of you who want to venture outdoors and play some golf, check out the Centennial Golf Course or The Redhawk Public Golf Course.

If you need a little pampering, check out, the Bella Mer Day Spa in downtown Nampa. If you want something quick and easy, visit the Magical Foot Spa to recharge your tired feet.

Want to view some history and honor our veterans, visit the Warhawk Museum, a not-for-profit organization funded entirely by individual donations and private foundations. The mission of the Warhawk Air Museum is to preserve and teach the history of American veterans and their contributions to the freedoms we value today, and to show the relationship of our country and its citizens to those wars which so strongly impacted our nation and the world at large.

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There is also fishingswimming, and boating on the beauty of Lake Lowell, as well as other activities and a state park if that feeds your interest in the great outdoors.