Boise is the capital of the state of Idaho. It is known as the City of Trees. The nickname has come down to us from the city’s earliest settlers who climbed a hill, looked down into the Treasure Valley and were quite impressed with the vast forest that stretched before them.
The city that would eventually take shape was established in 1863 on a dry sagebrush plain. The latter was between a newly established military post and the Boise river. The trees seen by the founders of Boise were cottonwoods and willows that congregated along the river, pines, and firs miles away. The Boise River was named by French-Canadian trappers. They called it La Riviere Boisse, which translates from the French as The Wooded River.
Tri-Weekly Statesman coins the term City of Trees through advertisement
The nickname of the City of Trees was first promoted by a city newspaper—the Tri-Weekly Statesman. The paper launched a tree-planting campaign. On September 1, 1964, in one of its first issues, it featured an advertisement from a company that specialized in selling fruit, ornamental trees, and shrubbery individually and in bulk. Later that same year, another company placed an ad in the Tri-Weekly that announced its intention to sell 123,000 trees and plants of the finest growth and encouraged people to place orders immediately.
Since the late 19th century, the city has tried to perpetuate the efforts of growing trees. The nickname and reputation have stuck to the city, and it has tried to live up to both. In the 21st century, Boise continues the tradition of growing trees. The city has also become a center of green ideas and practices and of sustainable living. The city continues to plant trees in parks, along city streets, and on property owned by the city. It also creates platforms to inform and engage its citizens in these activities.
The City of Trees lives on in the minds and hearts of the people of Boise.
Article by Little Cow Mountain Farm near Boise, ID
This article on local Boise history was brought to you by Little Cow Mountain farm. We’re located nearby, and you can find us at the Boise Farmers Market during most of the growing season or reach out for food pickup at the farm. View the map below for more details on our location. We sell farm-fresh eggs, poultry, and grass-fed beef locally and we’re proud to call the City of Trees home.