Learn About The History Of Boise ID

Boise, Idaho - Interesting History

Boise, Idaho, or the “City of Trees” as it is well-known, has a lot of very interesting history that isn’t as well-known.

First, it’s important to point out an underutilized resource in the community - Boise City has its own archives! It’s a massive library full of documents that chronicle the time of the city’s creation to the present. Many people are actively working on making this archive better - collecting documents, working on digitizing them, and even recording oral histories. This memory vault is a vital part of a lasting, successful community, and can be a primary source for not only research and analysis, but also can satisfy any curiosities local citizens may have! Most people don’t know that we have access to such a wealth of knowledge.

Now let’s take a look at some of the city’s history.

Have you ever wondered wow Boise got its name? As the story goes, sometime in the 19th Century some French-Canadian travelers were crossing through a desert area when the climbed over a large hill. As they peaked the top, they discovered a beautiful river surrounded thickly by trees and foliage (what we now call the Boise River). They shouted out “Les bois! Les bois! Les bois!” (which means “the woods!”), and that exclamation lead to naming a pitstop on the Oregon Trail “Fort Boise” in 1863.

Although the roots for the name of Boise glorify the natural beauty of the Treasure Valley

For a long period of time the local population didn’t respect it as much. In fact, the Boise River was used as a dump - where individuals and businesses deposited anything from industrial waste/chemicals to raw sewage. This was going on for years and years, even until the 1960s, before anyone thought the change the system. The City of Boise worked hard to prevent this type of dumping from happening again, and also to try and reverse the terrible side effects of pollution on the environment. We can see the results today - Boise’s extensive Greenbelt system! Almost 30 miles of well-maintained paths along the River and through wildlife habitats, offering wonderful scenic views of the natural beauty right in Boise’s backyard.


Learning about history is an important part of education - it helps us to understand not only where we came from, but also where our surroundings came from. Make it a point to learn more about Boise, Idaho and the surrounding areas today!