Idaho may be one of the newest states in the union (43rd state, added in July of 1890), but it has a long and storied history. In this great Gem State, we have Arco, Idaho, the first city to be completely powered by nuclear energy, and inventor, Philo Farnsworth, the father of the television set who invented the cathode ray tube just after his 21st birthday.
We’re no stranger to historical figures and events. But, what about our historical places? Let’s explore a few today.
The Idaho Black History Museum
This historic building, located near Zoo Boise in Julia Davis Park, was built in 1921 and was originally a Baptist church. This historic building is the oldest Black History museum in the Pacific Northwest, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It has great community outreach programs that are educational and family friendly. They include workshops, film viewings, and performances of historical music. This is a must see for anyone interested in the complete historical picture of Boise and the rest of Idaho.
The Idaho Building
The year: 1910. Chicago architect Henry Schlacks had designed this building for Walter Pierce, a prominent Idaho businessman at the time. This building was completed in the same year and was one of Idaho’s tallest buildings for many years. Standing an impressive (for the time) six stories tall, the Idaho building was the first in the state to utilize a dual elevator system, which was cutting edge technology at the time. You can still visit this beautiful building today at the corner of Eighth and Bannock.
The Basque Block
This area in Boise includes the Basque Museum, the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga Boarding House, and the Fronton House. Built in 1864, the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga Boarding House is the oldest surviving brick building in the city. The Basque Block is internationally known as one of the strongest pillars of Basque heritage in the United States. Idaho, and specifically Boise, is home to the largest concentration of Basque Americans, where approximately 15,000 Basque Americans live. Come visit the Basque Block and take a tour of the museum and make sure to pick up some delicious croquetas at Bar Gernika while you’re there!
The Oregon Trail
This historic wagon trail brought settlers all the way from Independence, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, and through Idaho along the way. As you can see in the map pictured below, Idaho is a significant part of the trail’s route. Hundreds of people every year reenact the travels of early pioneers as they travel along this storied route. Pack a lunch and grab the kids for a road trip of historic proportions! You can have your own Oregon Trail adventure just a few hour’s drive outside of Boise in Glenns Ferry where you can see actual wagon trail ruts preserved in the landscape. Wherever you are in Idaho, adventure awaits around every corner.