For many people the name Idaho makes them think of mountainous forests, crystal clear lakes, and, of course, potatoes; but you see, there is much more to Idaho than that. While we are proud of our lakes, mountain ranges, and tasty taters, Idaho has a lot more to offer. Not to mention it is an interesting state in general. You see, Idaho’s past and rich culture are full of fun and interesting little facts trivia and so on. Today we're going to list a few facts about Idaho that you might not know. These Idaho facts will show you a different side of Idaho that so many love and admire. So, without any further ado, here are some facts about Idaho you may not have known.
#1 Idaho is also known as the Gem State:
There are many reasons why a state will get a nickname, one that represents its character and culture. Well, in Idaho, that nickname is the Gem State, and it is no wonder why. You see, Idaho is a giant repository for more gems than almost any other state. Now, this isn’t saying that the largest volume of any one particular gem is found here, but rather that a large number of gems can be found here. And it doesn’t stop at gems either. There are both precious and nonprecious metals found all over Idaho making mining a valuable enterprise here. Potatoes aren’t the only thing that comes out of the ground here.
#2 Idaho’s State Gem is the Star Garnet
While the garnet family is vast, there are few types as rare and elusive as the Star Garnet. The Star Garnet is a beautiful gem that usually has a deep purple color to it with a white X through it. It is used in production and manufacturing as well as in jewelry and other sorts of beautification. However, the reason why it is so cool that it is found here in Idaho is because the only other place where you can mine Star Garnets in any large amount is in India.
#3 Idaho’s State Bird is the Mountain Bluebird
This gorgeous animal is one of many that take to the Idaho skies, but what sets it apart from the rest is its clean blue appearance. It is a common bird in Idaho and can be seen eating berries and insects in almost every corner of the state. No matter if you are fishing on Alturas Lake or camping in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, you can usually find a Mountain Bluebird every once and a while.
#4 Idaho’s State Raptor is the Peregrine Falcon
No, we don’t mean raptors like in Jurassic Park; we mean raptors as in birds of prey. Eagles, owls, falcons, etc. After the Mountain Bluebird, the birds of prey are the most beautiful things in the Idaho skies. Idaho has a very close relationship with these predators of the sky for several reasons. The first reason being that there are tens if not hundreds of species of raptors that call Idaho home living both out in the desert and even in the cities with us. For example, if you check out the top of the telephone poles along Chinden near Eagle during the summer time you will see several osprey nests. And, if you are lucky enough you’ll see a few hawks now and again just on your way to work. However, our connection with the peregrine falcon is special because if it wasn’t for an Idaho program, the Peregrine Fund, peregrine falcons may be extinct. The Peregrine Fund rehabilitates and breeds endangered birds and boosts their populations to keep them off the endangered species list.
#5 Idaho’s State Flower is the Syringa
On their famous expedition, Lewis and Clark went through and around these mountains discovering many new and exciting things. One of these discoveries was the syringa flower. It is a woody plant that can grow pretty large with white flowers (four petals each). It is not related in any way to the plant that is officially known as a syringa as these are lilacs, but our syringa, the Idaho state flower, is actually called Philadelphus Lewissi. The flower can be found in most northwestern states, including Idaho and parts of Nevada, as well as some parts of southern Canada.
#6 Idaho’s State Capital is Boise
Boise, once home to the old Fort Boise, has been the home of Idaho’s capital for around 100 years. It is a beautiful city with tons of culture and life. It is a place where you can go for great food, awesome entertainment, and one-of-a-kind outdoor fun. The capital was officially moved to Boise after the gold rush caused Idaho City to lose popularity.
#7 Idaho’s State Fruit is the Huckleberry
Huckleberries hold a special spot in the hearts of Idahoans and it is pretty evident when you get here. There are huckleberry flavored foods and products at almost every store and restaurant so if you like huckleberries then you better come hungry.
There are several species of huckleberries that are native to our great state of Idaho and they grow in almost every quarter of the state so it isn’t hard to come across some.
#8 Idaho’s State Song is “Here We Have Idaho”
As far as state songs go, this is one of the most fun to listen to and is actually quite enjoyable. You see, “Here we have Idaho” by Albert J. Tompkins, McKinley Helm, and Sallie Hume-Douglas is a great folk song that marries the music and pride of the pioneer settlers of Idaho with the ideals of industry and loyalty that have made Idaho the beautiful and rich state that it is today.
This is the chorus of “Here we have Idaho”:
“Singing, we’re singing of you,
Ah, proudly too. All our lives thru,
We’ll go singing, singing of you,
Singing of Idaho.”
#9 Idaho is Home to Some Very Influential People
If you have ever strolled into an Albertson’s grocery store then you have been influenced by an Idahoan. Joe Albertson, the founder of the mega grocery chain “Albertson’s” is from Idaho and even opened his first store in downtown Boise.
One of the other influential people to come out of Idaho would have to be J.R. Simplot. This man was a business mogul if there ever was one. Simplot created a company (the J.R. Simplot Company) that is now one of the biggest agriculture businesses in the nation. His biggest claim to fame is the deal he made with Ray Kroc of McDonald’s. Thanks to that deal Simplot is now the provider of more than half of McDonald’s fries.
#10 Idaho Has Seen Some Great Strides Made in Science and Technology
The first big innovation of our list is the harnessing of nuclear power in the 50s. Eastern Idaho was home to the Idaho National Laboratory where they first made it possible to convert the power of the atom to light a whole American city. This was a big breakthrough in the realm of science, one that still influences millions of people to this day.
Then there are potatoes. You see, thanks to companies like Simplot’s potatoes were able to be processed and shipped frozen for quick and easy cooking. Frozen french-fries and other potato products made it easy for McDonald’s to make their delicious fries and for people to make these same products in their own home. So, the next time you cook some freezer fries remember it was because of an Idaho company!