Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
The night sky over Boise, Idaho

Boise has really grown since I first visited back in the early 1980's. Boise was a big town then but what a change. If only those early French Canadian fur trappers could visit now...

In the 1830's, the Hudson's Bay Company built the original Fort Boise about 40 miles downstream on the Boise River from here, near the confluence of the Boise and the Snake. That site was in use until it was abandoned in the 1850's. The Oregon Trail passed through this area and was in use from the mid-1840's to the 1860's. Massacres along the Oregon Trail prompted the US Army to build a new Fort Boise in the area of today's Boise because it was near the juntion of the Oregon Trail and routes leading to Idaho City in the Boise Basin and to the mining areas in the Owyhee Mountains. In those days, Idaho City was the big city but the settlement around Fort Boise grew rapidly. The first Idaho Territorial Capital was in Lewiston but that was moved to Boise in 1865 and has stayed in Boise ever since.

These days, Boise receives lots of accolades as one of the best places for business and careers (#3, Forbes Magazine, 2007), hottest cities for entrepreneurs (mid-size cities - #9 (, 2007)), urban environment report card (#6, Earth Day Network, 2007) and one of the safest places to live (metro areas above 500,000 population - #1, Farmers Insurance, 2006).

When I was in Boise in the early 1980's, the city was home to a number of large lumber and paper manufacturers. Those companies are still in Boise but there is now a whole host of of high-tech companies here: the HP printer division, Micron Technology, Sybase, Microsoft and others. There are also more than 20 call centers in Boise for companies like T-Mobile, DirecTV and Teleperformance.

Boise is home to one of the largest Basque communities in the world outside the Basque areas of France and Spain. I think a lot of their forebears came here in the early days of Idaho as sheepherders and they've done very well. Every 5 years the Basque community holds a giant festival in downtown Boise (next one is in 2015).

Boise plays host to several jazz, theater and film festivals every year. On the first Thursday of each month the Downtown Boise Association hosts a gallery stroll through the city's core business district.

Boise, Idaho
The Basque Block in Boise
Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise at night
Fast Facts about Boise, Idaho
Boise, Ada County, ID
Zip Codes: 83701-83709, 83711-83717, 83719-83733, 83735, 83744, 83756, 83757, 83788, 83799
Incorporated: 1864
Elevation: 2,700'
Latitude: 43.6137°N
Longitude: 116.2376°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 84.6%
Hispanic: 7.0%
Asian: 4.0%
African-American: 1.7%
Native American: 0.9%
Other: 0.2%
Two or More Races: 1.6%
High School or Higher: 91.1%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 33.6%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 10.6%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 205,707
Males: 101,879
Females: 103,828
Median Resident Age: 32.8 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $47,900
Estimated Median Home Value: $193,900
Population Density: 3,225 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Boise: 92.1
Major Industries:
Technology, Health Care, Construction, Educational Services, Lodging & Food Services, Professional Services, Government, Finance & Insurance Services

Unemployed (March 2011): 9.1%
Photo of Boise skyline at night courtesy of Max Batt, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Photo of the Basque Block in Boise courtesy of Wikipedia userid Dmharris26
Photo of Boise streets at night courtesy of Trent Cutler, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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