The History of Boise

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to take a step back and remind ourselves of the humble beginning of where we’ve come from. To show our appreciation for the ones that have come before us, Premier Dentures, a denture care center in Meridian ID, shares with you a brief history of Boise and It’s surrounding areas.

history of boise

Early Settlement of Boise

In the early 1800s, French-Canadian fur-trappers came upon a lush green valley dominated by cottonwood trees alongside a winding river. They began calling the area “Les Bois,” which means “wooded” in French. The name stuck and the town of Boise was born.

In 1834, the Hudson Bay Company established a fort in the area to provide protection and a trading post for the thousands of people making the long journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. The fort was closed in 1854 after being overwhelmed by Indian attacks, but another was established in the area in 1863, roughly a year after gold was discovered in the area. The town was incorporated as a city in 1864 and became the territorial capital of Idaho.

Becoming The State Capitol

Boise ID has grown almost continuously since that initial gold rush. By 1868, there were more than four hundred permanent structures in the city, with more than half of them being residential. When the state entered the Union in 1890, the city became the state capital. The current Capitol building, built using sandstone from the local Tablerock Quarry, was erected in 1920 in Downtown Boise.

Development of Boise

The city continued to prosper throughout the years following the Great Depression and World War II. During the war, the military established Gowen Field in the area as a flying and training base. Engineering and construction firm Morrison-Knudsen was also founded here and participated in some of the largest construction projects in the country at the time, including the Hoover Dam, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and the Trans Alaska Pipeline.

Downtown Boise

Today, this long and storied history can be seen in many areas of Boise. Warm Springs Avenue, named for the natural hot springs used to warm many of the area’s homes, is lined with well-preserved Victorian homes erected by wealthy miners and businessmen around the turn of the 20th century. Downtown Boise is home to the Pioneer Village at Julia Davis Park, which has two 1863 log cabins open for exploration.


The Basque Block, which showcases the city’s Basque heritage, is also located in the downtown area. Basque travelers began migrating to the state from their home in the Western Pyrenees Mountains in the 1800s, eventually making the state home to the most Basque immigrants in the United States. The Old Idaho Penitentiary, which began construction in 1870, is now a historic landmark and home to the Botanical Gardens and the Transportation Museum.

Boise Today

The area is now the 80th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States, with a population of nearly 710,000. It is home to a number of large employers, including Hewlett-Packard, Micron Technology, Albertsons Supermarkets, and Clearwater Analytics. Over the years, the city has received numerous accolades for its beauty and quality of life of its citizens.

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