Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho. It is the county seat of Ada County and the principal city of the Boise metropolitan area.
As of the 2000 census, Boise's population was 185,787 (2006 estimate: 201,287).

Geography and climate
An apocryphal tale tells that the Lewis & Clark expedition, after trekking for weeks through rough terrain, happened upon the sight of the Boise River Valley. A french guide overwhelmed by the sight of the verdant river yelled "Les Bois! Les Bois!" and this is how Boise got its name. In the 1820's French furtrappers set traps in the area where Boise now lies. Though mostly an area of high desert, a prominent landmark was the tree lined Boise River Valley, which they called "La Riviere Boise" which means "wooded river." Though the connection between the Lewis & Clark tale and the naming of the city is dubious, it is clear that the area was referred to as Boise long before the establishment of Fort Boise.
The original Fort Boise was 40 miles (64 km) west, down the Boise River, near the confluence with the Snake River at the Oregon border. This fort was erected by the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1830s. It was abandoned in the 1850s, but massacres along the Oregon Trail prompted the U.S. Army to re-establish a fort in the area in 1863, during the U.S. Civil War. The new location was selected because it was near the intersection of the Oregon Trail and a major road connecting the Boise Basin (Idaho City) and the Owyhee mining areas, both booming at the time. Idaho City was the largest city in the area, but the new Fort Boise grew rapidly (as a staging area to Idaho City) and Boise was incorporated as a city in 1864. The first capital of Idaho was Lewiston, but Boise replaced it in 1865.


MacGibbon, Elma (1904). Leaves of knowledge. Shaw & Borden Co. Available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection Elma MacGibbons reminiscences of her travels in the United States starting in 1898, which were mainly in Oregon and Washington. Includes chapter "Boise, the capital of Idaho." Further reading

Boise and its surrounding metropolitan area have seen dramatic growth through the 1990s and 2000s. As of 2004 the city of Boise estimated the metropolitan area (Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell) had a population of 526,656.

Recent figures
As of the census of 2000, there were 185,787 people, 74,438 households, and 46,523 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,913.1/mi². There were 77,850 housing units at an average density of 1,220.7/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 92.15% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 1.74% from other races, and 2.39% from two or more races. 4.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.The top 5 ethnic groups in Boise are · German - 19%[2] · English - 16% · Irish - 11% · Scottish - 3% · Norwegian - 3
There were 74,438 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,432, and the median income for a family was $52,014. Males had a median income of $36,893 versus $26,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,696. About 5.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 6% of those age 65 or over.

2000 Census
Boise frequently receives national recognition for its quality of life and business climate. Some recent national rankings:

Best places for business and careers: # 3 (Forbes Magazine, 2007) Boise, Idaho Accolades
Boise is the headquarters for several major companies, such as Washington Group International (successor to Morrison Knudsen), Micron Technology (the area's largest private employer.
Varney Airlines, founded by Walter Varney, was formed in Boise. The company is the root of present day United Airlines, which still serves the city at the newly renovated and upgraded Boise Airport.

The city is home to the Boise School District, which includes 34 elementary schools, 8 junior high schools, 5 high schools and 2 specialty schools. Part of the Meridian School District (the largest district in Idaho) overlaps into Boise city limits.
The city is home to six public high schools: Boise High School, Borah High School, Capital High School, Timberline High School as well as the Meridian district's Centennial High School and the alternative Mountain Cove High School. Boise's private schools include Bishop Kelly High School (Catholic), and Baccalaureate accredited Riverstone Community School.
Post-secondary educational options in Boise include Boise State University and George Fox University, as well as a wide range of technical schools. Boise is home to Boise Bible College, an undergraduate degree-granting college that exists to train leaders for churches as well as missionaries for the world. Nearby Meridian is home to a campus of the University of Phoenix.
Boise is one of the largest cities in the United States that does not have a community college. The issue has received a fair amount of attention from city and state officials in recent years. As of May 2007 a community college special district was formed, with the intention of starting a community college in Nampa, Idaho.

Numbering about 15,000, Boise's Basque community is the largest such community in the United States and the fourth largest in the world outside Argentina, Venezuela and the Basque Country in Spain and France.

A number of recreational opportunities are available in Boise, including extensive hiking and biking in the foothills to the immediate north of downtown and an extensive urban trail system called the Boise River Greenbelt that runs along the river. The Boise River itself is a common destination for fishing, swimming and rafting.
Bogus Basin Mountain Resort hosts several winter activities, including cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. "Bogus" is just 16 miles (26 km) outside city limits (less than an hour drive from downtown).
Minor professional sports teams in Boise include the short-season Class A Boise Hawks (Minor League Baseball), the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, and the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League. An arenafootball2 franchise, the Boise Burn, began play in 2007.
The Boise State University campus is home to Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts local and national fine arts performances; Bronco Stadium, the 30,000 seat football stadium known for its blue AstroPlay field; and Taco Bell Arena, a 12,000 seat basketball and entertainment venue which opened in 1982 as the BSU Pavillion. Boise State University is known primarily for the recent successes of its football team, although it is also a fairly well regarded commuter school for undergraduate students.
The Roady's Humanitarian Bowl football game (formerly known as the MPC Computers Bowl) is held in late December of each year, and pairs a team from the Western Athletic Conference with an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
The World Center for Birds of Prey is located just outside city limits, and is a key part of the re-establishment of the Peregrine falcon and the subsequent removal from the Endangered Species list. The center is currently breeding the very rare California condor, among many other rare and endangered species.
The city has been cited by publications like Forbes, Fortune and Sunset for its quality of life.
The cornerstone mall in Boise, Boise Towne Square Mall, is also a major shopping attraction for Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, and surrounding areas and has recently been through an upgrade along with adding new retailers.

Major attractions

Main article: Media in Boise, Idaho Sister cities
The major Interstate serving Boise is I-84, with I-184 branching toward the northeast. There is also a network of bike paths throughout the city and surrounding region.
Commercial air service is provided at the Boise Airport, recently renovated to accommodate the growing number of passengers flying in and out of Boise. Public bus transportation is provided by ValleyRide and the Boise Urban Stages (BUS).

Despite Boise's small population, it occupies a large area, 64 mi² according to the United States Census Bureau. Like most major metropolitan areas it is divided into several named parts. These include the Bench, the North End, West Boise and Downtown among others.

Parts of the city
Downtown Boise is Boise's cultural center and home to many small businesses and several skyscrapers. Downtown Boise has an array of shopping and dining choices. Centrally, 8th street contains a pedestrian zone with street side cafes and restaurants. Downtown Boise is home to many local restaurants, bars and boutiques and supports a lively night life.
Downtown Boise's economy was threatened in the late 1990's by extensive growth around the Boise Towne Square Mall have been created to combat this trend.

Downtown Boise
The North End contains many of Boise's older homes and is known for its tree-lined drives such as Harrison Boulevard, and for its quiet neighborhoods near the downtown area. From Camel's Back Park is home to many small restaurants (several with outdoor dining) and businesses. The North End also hosts several events such as the annual Hyde Park Street Fair.

The North End
Southwest Boise has traditionally been known for its more country-like aesthetics. It contains sparsely populated neighborhoods built from the 1960s to the early 1980s. Many include acre-sized plots and the occasional farmhouse and pastures. Growth in the area was limited in the 1980s due to a moratorium on new construction to prevent urban sprawl. Since this has been lifted there has been widespread growth of new homes and neighborhoods. The area lies fairly close to Interstate 84, theaters, shopping, the airport, and the Boise Bench area.

Southwest Boise
Northwest Boise lies blanketed against the Boise Foothills to the north, the major thoroughfare State Street to the south, the City of Eagle to the west, and Downtown Boise to the east. It contains an eclectic mix of old and new neighborhoods, including Lakeharbor, which features the private Silver Lake, a reclaimed quarry. Northwest Boise has some pockets of older homes with a similar aesthetic to the North End, yet housing prices tend to be lower. Downtown is minutes away, as is Veteran's Memorial Park and easy access to the Boise Greenbelt. Across the river sits the Boise Bench and to the west is fast access to the bedroom communities of Eagle, Star, and Middleton.

Northwest Boise
Warm Springs is centered around the tree-lined drive Warm Springs Avenue and contains many of Boise's largest and most expensive homes (many of which were erected by wealthy miners and businessmen around the turn of the century; Victorian styles feature prominently). The area gets its name from the natural hot springs that flow from Boise's fault line and warm many of the homes in the area.

Warm Springs
The far east end of Warm Springs was once known as Barber Town, featuring a hotel with hot springs nestled into the foothills. It now has some new residential developments, with easy access to Highway 21, which leads to the south-central Idaho mountains; the Boise River; the Boise Foothills; and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

East End
South East Boise spans from Boise State University to Micron Technology - all areas between Federal Way and the Boise River. The older area just south of the University can be described as a cross between the North End and the Boise bench. The rest of South East Boise was developed in the last thirty years with suburban style homes. Unlike the more typical flat suburban sprawl, residents of South East Boise are reminded of their city's natural beauty as they catch a close view of Table Rock, or drive along the winding Parkcenter Blvd. along the Boise River. Columiba Village and the older sub-division Oregon Trail Heights were the first major planned community in South East Boise with an elementary and middle school all within walking distance from all homes. Developed with the middle carved out for schools as well as a large soccer complex (over 20 fields) as well as a baseball complex, swimming pools as well as the best view in the valley. Most people consider this end of Boise a hidden gem as just about everything is about 15 minutes from home: the river, greenbelt, the mountains, lakes, snow, high mountain desert, etc. The reason being the subdivsion is located at the intersections of Interstate 84, Idaho 21 and Federal Way (former US Highway) which are all major arteries to get anywhere fast in Boise.

South East Boise
The Boise Bench is south of Downtown Boise and is raised in elevation approximately 60 feet. The bench is named such because the sudden rise in elevation gives the prominent appearance of a step, or bench. The Bench (or Benches, there are 3 actual benches throughout the Boise Valley) was created as an ancient shoreline to the old river channel. The Bench is home to the old Boise Train Depot, Vista Village shopping center, and extensive residential neighborhoods. Due south of the Boise Bench is the Boise Airport, raised up on another "bench".

The Boise Bench

About the name
The name Boise comes from the French word boisé, which means "wooded". Many people assume that it means "tree", but the French word for "tree" is arbre, whereas the word bois means "wood". One legend claims that French-Canadian fur trappers of the early 1800s came over the mountains looked down upon the Boise River Valley and exclaimed "Les Bois!" (the wood!). This is also how Boise gained its nickname 'The City of Trees'. In actuality, the name was apparently a translation of an earlier English name for the Boise River, the Wood River.

Origin of Name
Many residents (generally those who have lived in the area longer) use the pronunciation of "Boise" as a shibboleth, insisting that [bɔɪsi] is the only correct pronunciation. Others not native to Boise consider [bɔɪzi] to be an equally valid pronunciation. According to the official city website, the correct way to say Boise is [bɔɪsi].


Boise State Football
The Old Boise Train Depot
Boise Downtown