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The History Of Old Boise
If you've been to downtown Boise, chances are you've stepped inside the area known as "Old Boise."
The Old Boise Historic District began to take shape as early as 1864. Miners, settlers, and military men would come to the area to shop for necessities and to frequent the various businesses found. According to the Old Boise website, the area reached its peak in 1910 when the Statesman and Pioneer Tent and Awning Buildings were constructed.
The historical buildings that line the streets of Old Boise stood witness to many changes in the neighborhood. In 1866, the Boise City Canal was installed to water the many trees lining the street. It still runs on Grove Street's north side. A streetcar line was established on Main Street in 1891, allowing patrons to pay five cents for a ride out to the Natatorium on Warm Springs.
Boise's Basque heritage flourished in the Old Boise neighborhood. Here, Basque shepherds would take refuge during the winter at the Aquirre Building, formerly called the Star Rooming House. This building still stands on W. Idaho Street and 5th Street today, just next to Flying M Coffeehouse.
Unfortunately, the Old Boise district took on a decrepit feel in the 1950s. Thanks to like-minded people, the area saw renovation in the 1970s that restored the historical buildings and brought new life to the area. This section of our city was named to National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s, promising that this part of the past would be preserved.
You can visit the Old Boise section by wandering the streets of Idaho, Main, and Grove, between Capitol and 5th streets. Or, check out this map from the Old Boise organization.
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