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From Boise

The other Boises

Published 12 days ago • 6 min read

Helloooo. Did you know there are three other cities named Boise?! Ok, calling them cities might be a stretch. Today's story is an exploration of the other Boises. It was written by Amanda Patchin. You can listen to the podcast episode here. Enjoy!


In partnership with Lost Grove Brewing

Shade City Brewfest is back!

Grab your best buds & babes and head out to the Idaho Botanical Gardens for Shade City Brewfest. It's a two-day, 70s themed, sustainability-focused, all-you-can-drink beer celebration happening on April 19-20, 2024.

Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Boogie with 20 different bands throughout the garden
  • Taste 40+ beers & ciders from the PNW
  • Grub from local food vendors
  • See some of the best sustainability practices put into action

From composting food waste to partnering with Lime scooters and bikes to minimize carbon footprint, Shade City is all about creating a fun experience that takes care of our environment. Last year, Shade City generated only *10 trash bags total* over the two-day event with thousands of people there. That's amazing!

Bring your fave cup (any kind of cup), get your bike tuned up, and dust off those bell bottoms because it's time to get groovy, baby!

Get your tickets to Shade City Brewfest on April 19-20.


The Other Boises

By Amanda Patchin

Some time ago I wrote that there are quite a few cities called “The City of Trees” just like our beloved Boise. But did you know that there are also other cities actually named “Boise”? There's three and, spoiler alert, our Boise is the best of all. Here is everything I could find out about the other Boises:

Boise, Texas

Given that there are lots of Texans in Boise, it makes sense that there would be a Boise in Texas. In Oldham County, which is on the western edge of Texas’s panhandle, Boise, Texas sits.

No more than a mark on a map in the corner of a flat, square county that has less than 2,000 people in its 1500 square miles. Boise, Texas is a sort of ghost town but short on ghosts and short on town. A roof is visible on Google Maps, but it seems to belong to a private ranch rather than the former town and so the essential “ghost town” experience of exploring ramshackle old buildings would be impossible there – not to mention underwhelming.

Boise, Texas never had its own post office but received its mail through Adrian, Texas, and its minor function as a depot ended in the 1980s, when the railway discontinued service on that line. It is, I think, more than a little hilarious that Boise, Texas is named “Boise” given that there are zero visible trees in that Boise and our Boise is all about the arboreal life!


Sponsored by Visit Southwest Idaho

Fun Fact:

Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in all of North America! At 7,900 feet deep, it’s deeper than the grand canyon which is 6,000 feet deep. And it's less than 4 hours from Boise!

One of the very best ways to explore Hells Canyon is by boat. You can book a trip with Hells Canyon Adventures, which offers whitewater rafting and jet boat tours. You can also book a whitewater rafting trip with America’s Rafting Co. or Hells Canyon Raft, and spend 3-6 days on the river, camping out on the riverbank overnight. It's an absolutely amazing, once in a lifetime experience.

If you are looking for a true adventure in SW Idaho this summer, you need a river trip in Hells Canyon!


Boise, Washington

There is another Boise, much closer to us, and this one has trees! Boise, Washington is not even a township, it is merely a “populated place” between Buckley and Enumclaw in King County.

It is south and slightly east of Seattle and no more than a wide spot on the road with a few houses scattered throughout the trees. While it is designated as a populated place, it also sits below “Boise Ridge” which runs north to south and is part of the Cascades. Boise Ridge then feeds runoff into Boise Creek on its eastern side.

Boise, Washington was once called Boise Creek, Washington, and was established in 1870 by two men, a Mr. Vanderbeck and a Mr. Mahler. Vanderbeck claimed land and platted a town right next to an existing Native settlement. The early history of Boise Creek included a deadly ferry across the White River that claimed the lives of five people and four horses before bridges replaced it. Unfortunately the bridges didn’t fare much better and repeated constructions were destroyed by floods at five year intervals.

A man named E.L. Robinson attempted to found a utopian community in Boise Creek, and while it survived a short time, it failed and is now almost forgotten. The six story wooden tower he built collapsed and the few members he and his wife had collected left for other communities. There were many attempts at utopia in the late 19th century, but they nearly all failed within 30 years. The most famous of the Washington utopias is probably Home, up on Puget Sound, not far from Boise Creek. Although there were many such communities at the turn of the century, there was significant backlash after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901 by an anarchist. Of course, McKinley was not the first nor the last leader to be killed by anarchists in the opening decades of the 20th century and, of course, the anarchist communities in Washington were not connected to his death, but public opinion turned against them all the same.

Despite the original settlers, beautiful location, and some colorful residents, Boise Creek faded as Enumclaw grew. The Stevenson’s of Enumclaw negotiated with the railroad to run the mainline through Enumclaw in 1885. This secured their prosperity and likewise assured Boise Creek’s obscurity.

All that survives today is the name, a gas station/market, Boise Creek, Boise Creek Park (a sports complex), Boise Creek Trail Beau Bridge, and an entry for Boise Ridge on the Peak Bagger website which records eight ascents between 1999 and 2023.

Boise City, Oklahoma

Our last Boise is off in Oklahoma. Right on the tip of Oklanhoma's finger. Like Boise, Texas Boise City, Oklahoma was a treeless place. In the early 1900s two conmen established and platted the town, then marketed it via brochure to potential residents. They claimed that it had tree-lined streets along with many other amenities. When their fraud was revealed they were both sentenced to prison for the crime.

Some of those who showed up expecting a prosperous little town with shade, water, and functioning business, stayed despite their disappointment and built some of what they had been promised. And so, Boise City managed to survive despite its false beginning and inauspicious location.

The western end of the Oklahoma panhandle is not a particularly appealing location. Literally called “no man’s land,” the entire panhandle was separated from Texas and later attached to Oklahoma just so that Texas could enter the United States as a “slave state”. Until it was added to Oklahoma it was an officially lawless land. Inauspicious indeed. Later the area would be ecologically devastated by the Dust Bowl and Boise City would actually be bombed during WWII (by U.S. pilots who got lost on a training run).

Boise City is a small town with just over a thousand residents and few attractions other than a giant metal dinosaur "Cimmy" the "Cimarronasaurus". However, we might feel some affinity for their hot dry summers and local farming and ranching communities. It must be a little bit hard, though, to have your only historical claim to fame that you were the only continental U.S. city to be bombed during WWII. Boise City did try to create a little bit of a festival on the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing, but the aircrew all refused to attend, likely out of a sense of embarrassment. Fortunately, the bombing caused no damage as the practice bombs contained only a little bit of dynamite encased in sand.

A ghost town, a failed utopia, and a scam with a side helping of accidental bombing. The other Boises don’t offer me any temptation to leave mine. Boise, Idaho may be the most isolated city in the Lower 48, and we may have some really hot days in August, and we may suffer from a bit of uncertainty about our identity as a city, but we have actual trees, a vibrant downtown, a gorgeous river flowing through town, and no B17s flying dynamite practice bombs overhead. I think I'll stay put.

Thanks for reading!

With love from Boise,

Marissa

This story was written by Amanda Patchin. Amanda has a monthly-ish newsletter where she shares her booklist, selections from her fiction, and updates on what books she has for sale in the Zed Bookshop.

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From Boise

by Marissa Lovell

A weekly newsletter & podcast about what's going on in Boise, Idaho. Every week we share stories about people, places, history, and happenings in Boise.

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