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Downtown Buildings

The site for Fort Boise was chosen on July 4th 1863. The area had plenty of space, a good supply of grazing for livestock, sandstone which could be quarried for building materials, and even had a few settlers with crops growing already. Another factor for decision was the proximity of the Oregon Trail, as well as the life-sustaining Boise River which flowed through the valley. Three days later, on July 7th, a town-site was laid out between the fort and the river. The first shelters were built along what is now eighth street in the forms of tents and “brush shanties”. These makeshift shelters were quickly replaced by log cabins, as well as board and batten, adobe, brick, and sandstone buildings over the next decade as gold miners flooded the surrounding area in pursuit of their fortune. By the end of the 1860s, there we over 400 buildings in Boise, and the drastic increase in population led to the city securing the title of State Capitol over Lewiston in 1864. Even as gold mining declined, farming, ranching, and quartz mining kept the population and economy relatively stable. As she entered into the 1870s, Boise began looking toward her own self improvement as the ‘City of Trees’. Downtown grew greatly in the period between 1890 and the 1930s, and in 1925 Boise received her own railroad, which had eluded her only 15 miles away for the better part of fourty years. The era of growth meant that the city was heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement, an aesthetic which can be seen today. A walk down modern day downtown is pleasant. The street life which cumulates along eighth street is humble, but lively, and the city has a variety of foods and microbreweries to satisfy it’s active population. A variety of cultures are represented within downtown, including the Basque Block. Along the river, green-space is abundant, and the sprawling acreage of Julia Davis Park houses many activities for families such as the Boise Zoo. by Courtney King, Preservation Idaho

 
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