As part of a series on city life, the focus of this gallery is on the South Side, an area of Boise that grew from a portion of the Oregon Trail and agricultural lands into a vibrant network of neighborhoods, night spots and a stadium district.
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South Boise begins at the southern banks of the meandering Boise River and flows south to the interstate, roughly flanked by Capitol Boulevard to the west and Amity Road on the east. It includes Bronco Stadium and the main Boise State University campus, nearly the entire Broadway streetscape, Boise Avenue, ParkCenter Boulevard, Barber Park and the Micron Technology complex.
South Boise claims a chunk of the Oregon Trail, which wound down from the east Bench and followed the Boise River along what is now Boise Avenue. Shoshones camped near the future city, supplying fish to the pioneers. With the gold rush of the 1860s, the south side of the river blossomed with farms, ranches and small neighborhoods. Irrigators built ditches and canals for crops and livestock. In 1878, William Morris built a canal. Morris’s nephew William Ridenbaugh built a flour and sawmill near the lip of the bench above future Ann Morrison Park. With the completion of the Broadway Bridge in 1892, only the second local bridge to cross the river, people in the community traveled more easily to and from the growing vibrant businesses downtown, further expanding the area. In 1898, children attended the first District Six schoolhouse, later to be rebuilt and named Garfield. A closeknit and growing neighborhood called South Boise started at the Broadway Bridge, ran south to present-day Garfield School, west on Boise Avenue to Ninth and then north to the Ninth Street Bridge where it followed the river back to Broadway. It was incorporated in 1902 as a village.
Gallery: Quintessential South
Photos from Quintessential Boise: An Architectural Journey
About Quintessential Boise: An Architectural Journey, a 2010 book by Charles Hummel and Tim Woodward
Quintessential Boise is dedicated to the proposition that streets and their buildings are keys to the life of a city and that good architecture, like good books, should engage the public in readable and provocative ways. The book emerged from coffee-house conversations among an architect, a newspaper columnist, a newspaper reporter and a history professor. Charles Hummel, the architect, is the son, grandson and nephew of men who designed some of Boise’s most iconic landmarks. A legendary designer himself, Hummel, age 85, thinks deeply about how people use and appreciate buildings. Tim Woodward, the columnist, has been a champion of authentic places since his early reporting on Boise’s urban renewal in 1972. Reporter Jeanne Huff worked closely with Hummel and Woodward to identify object lessons. Todd Shallat, the historian, is a student of the physical layout of streets. Together, the team set out to devise a rating system for understanding the social impact of architecture.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.