History of Boise City
Idaho, as well as the area of present-day Boise, was inhabited by Native American tribes (Nez Perce, Kootenai, Shoshone-Bannock and Paiute long before the first explorers came with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. The expedition opened the way for fur traders, who travelled along the river they called “La Rivie Bois” meaning woods or forests. This is how Boise got both its name and its nickname. In 1834, Hudson Bay Company built Fort Boise to support the fur traders in Idaho. The fort on the Boise River was located some 40 miles from present-day Boise and it was abandoned twenty years later, mostly due to the frequent confrontations with the Indian tribes.
In the 1840s, thousands of immigrants passed through Boise area following the Oregon Trail. Gold was discovered in 1862, which prompted the construction of the new Fort Boise in 1862, with the town site just next to it. Once this fort was built, the town started to grow quickly. It was the center of distribution and commerce for farmers, traders and homesteaders. New immigrants were attracted to Boise by its steady economic growth and beautiful surroundings. The city was incorporated and proclaimed capital of the Idaho Territory in 1864. However, most of the growth was owed to the gold deposits in the area and once the Gold Rush was over, the city population dropped significantly. The construction of the territorial prison and of the US Assay Office helped maintain the city economy and the remaining population.
Construction of dams in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century solved the long-lasting problem of water direction, supply and irrigation. The dams are also important in flood control and for recreational purposes.
Gepgraphy and Climate of Boise City
Located on western Idaho, on the Boise River, the city sits at the 2,704 feet above sea level. The city itself is flat but it is surrounded by mountains, called Boise Foothills, sometimes considered to be the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The climate is semi-arid, with hot and dry summers and cold winters. Springs and falls are mild. Precipitation is not very frequent and it is usually light.
Boise City Population
In 2010, the ethnic and racial makeup of Boise consisted of 91% Whites, 6.9% Hispanics or Latinos, 3% Asians, 1.3% Blacks, 0.1% Native Americans and 2.3% of two or more races. The neighborhoods in Boise include Downtown, which is the cultural and business center of the city, with pedestrian zones, Boise Art Museum, Boise Zoo and Basque Block; The North End, with older homes and beautiful tree-lined drives, West Boise, with the Boise Towne Square Mall, many restaurants, strip malls and residential housing, and The Bench, which is situated at a higher elevation and contains older residential neighborhoods.
Boise has the largest Basque community in USA and the fifth largest one in the world. The community is very active and vibrant and presents an important part of the Boise culture.
Much like in other state capitals in the USA, the state government is one of the largest employers in Boise. Other large employers include Micron Technology, IDACORP, Idaho Bancorp, Syringa Bancorp, Boise Inc. and American Ecology Corp. Large companies with headquarters in Boise include Bodybuilding.com, WinCo Foods, Albertsons LLC, J.R. Simplot, Boise Cascade LLC and Idaho Timber.
Technology and high-tech industry started growing recently in Boise, and another fast-growing center is the call-center industry, with companies such as T-Mobile, Teleperformance and DIRECTV. According the Forbes Magazine in 2008, Boise was the second-best place for business and career and it was also voted most secure place to live in a survey by Farmers Insurance in 2006.
Culture and Education
Boise is a regional center for jazz, rock and indie music and hosts the Gene Harris Jazz Festival. Some of the famous bands and musicians from Boise include Built to Spill, Josh Ritter and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. It is also an important regional center for theater, with companies such as Prairie Dog Productions, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Boise Contemporary Theater. The museums in the city include Discovery Center of Idaho, Idaho Historical Museum, Boise Art Museum, Basque Museum and Cultural Center and several more.
The institutions of post-secondary education in Boise include Boise State University, satellite campuses of University of Idaho and Idaho State University, as well as a number of technical schools.
Boise does not have a major league professional sports team but it has a minor league baseball team called Boise Hawks, a minor league hockey team called the Idaho Steelheads and a minor league basketball team Idaho Stampede. It is also the home of a female roller derby team called Treasure Valley Rollergirls.
Boise City Transportation
Boise Airport provides commercial air service to the Boise area. Public transportation in the city consists of ValleyRide bus lines and the city plans to build a streetcar system as well.
Two interstate highways pass through Boise - I-84 and I-184. Many residents of Boise ride bikes and the city provides a good network of bike paths, most notably the Boise River Greenbelt.