Boise’s 150th Birthday Celebration

According to Idaho legend, when a band of a US Army exploration party reached an overlook of the then unnamed Treasure Valley, one of their French guides exclaimed, “Les bois! Les bois! (The trees! The trees!)” at the sight of the trees growing along the banks of the Boise River. After trekking through the sagebrush plains of Idaho, the sight was a welcome relief. The name of the place is credited to this experience, although there are other possible origins, and to this day Boise is known as the City of Trees. In the interceding years, Boise served as a trading post for fur trappers, a gold rush destination for get rich quick enthusiasts, a byway for Oregon Trail travelers, a commercial center for regional mining companies, a town for settlers in 1863, and finally as Idaho’s official capital in 1864. This year, 2013, is the 150th anniversary of Boise’s status as a town. Because of this, Boise is throwing a year long party, nicknamed the Boise 150, and you are invited.


The events currently on the calendar are a series of forums and workshops. The workshops include using an old fashioned printing press to design, etch, and print your very own piece of art. You get to keep one copy, and the City of Boise keeps one copy to log into their archives. Take part in Idaho’s history and leave a part of you behind for future generations to enjoy. In addition to that, there are many other arts events free and open to the public for participation; help paint a mural, learn how to bind books, participate in comedy, stage, and musical improvisation classes, or help write a play. If arts aren’t your forte, there are many open forums with local and guest speakers on architecture, politics, transportation, and a wide variety of topics. Another major event is the Return of the Boise Valley People, in which the original inhabitants of the valley can gather to share their stories and traditions. On the official anniversary of the city, July 7th, the city will host a valleywide weeklong celebration incorporating Independence Day fireworks. Join your community to discover the people and events that make Boise the vibrant city it is today. In addition to participating in city-planned events, you can submit an event to celebrate why you love Boise.

Vignettes and Stories

The City of Boise is interested in hearing how you or your ancestors have influenced Boise, and vice versa. Share your story and contribute to Boise’s living history. Who knows? In one hundred years, your descendants may find out how you lived your life in 2013. If you have older stories to share, please do, and contribute to the rich history of Idaho’s capital city.

If you already live in the Treasure Valley, come check out the events going on in your community during the Boise 150. If not, come anyway to see what it’s like to live in the City of Trees. Boise’s energetic culture provides you with access to arts, history, innovation, and excitement.

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