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Encyclopedia > Boise

This article deals with the state capital of Idaho. For other places named Boise, refer to Boise (disambiguation).

The State Capitol in Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise, Idaho, as seen from the train depot

Boise is the capital and largest city of Idaho, a state in the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 185,787. It is the county seat of Ada County. Boise's elevation is 2,842 feet.

The name of the city is pronounced "BOY-see". Some non-natives (especially those unfamiliar with the area) pronounce the name "BOY-zee".

The current Mayor of Boise is David H. Bieter.



The name, "Boise" comes from a French word, boisé, meaning "wooded". It first came to use among French-Canadian fur trappers in the nineteenth century as a name for the Boise River. The name was apparently a translation of an earlier English name for it, the Wood River.

Originally known as Fort Boise, Boise was incorporated under a charter in 1864 by an act of the Idaho Territorial legislature.

A resolution to have the capital of the Idaho Territory moved from Lewiston to Boise was passed on December 7, 1864. It was changed in 1865. According to legend, the proposal for the switch was very unpopular, so members of the government snuck into the capital, stole the state seal from Lewiston and left quickly to avoid the public outrage that was sure to erupt when the citizens of Lewiston discovered the capital had been taken from them.

Boise became the capital of the state of Idaho on July 3, 1890 when Idaho was admitted to the union as the 43rd state.


Known as the "City of Trees," Boise is also rich in culture. It is home to the largest concentration of Basque people living outside of Spain in the world, numbering about 20,000. There is a large Basque festival (known as Jaildi) once every 5 years, and a vibrant Basque section of the city.

Major attractions

Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in the Owyhee Mountains about 50 miles southwest of Boise.

Boise is home to the Boise Art Museum, which hosts several traveling exhibits each year. The city is also home to numerous theatres, such as the Boise Little Theatre (Idaho's oldest continuous theater company), the Boise Contemporary Theatre, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

Boise is known for its low crime rate, extensive greenbelt running through the city, trendy downtown and quality of life. The city has been cited by publications like Forbes, Fortune and Sunset for its quality of life.

One of Boise's major attractions is the neighboring mountains and the Boise Foothills. The foothills, to the immediate north of the city, are popular for hiking and mountain biking. Recently, there has been much controversy over expansive residential development into the foothills.

For winter recreation, Bogus Basin Mountain Resort (a mere 16 miles from Boise city limits) provides excellent skiing and snowboarding facilities within an hour's drive of downtown.

Semi-professional sports teams in Boise include the short-season Class A Boise Hawks (Minor League Baseball), the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League, and the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association.

Boise is served by Boise Air Terminal.

Colleges and universities

Post-secondary educational options in Boise include Boise State University as well as a wide range of technical schools.


Boise City is located at 43°36'49" North, 116°14'16" West (43.613739, _116.237651)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 165.7 km² (64.0 mi²). 165.2 km² (63.8 mi²) of it is land and 0.5 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.33% water.

Demographics (2000)

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 185,787 people, 74,438 households, and 46,523 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,124.7/km² (2,913.1/mi²). There are 77,850 housing units at an average density of 471.3/km² (1,220.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 92.15% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 1.74% from other races, and 2.39% from two or more races. 4.53% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 74,438 households out of which 32.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% are married couples living together, 10.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% are non-families. 28.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.03.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.8 males.


The median income for a household in the city is $42,432, and the median income for a family is $52,014. Males have a median income of $36,893 versus $26,173 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,696. 8.4% of the population and 5.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.7% of those under the age of 18 and 6.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Notable Boise companies

Boise is the headquarters of Micron Technology, Washington Group International, Boise Cascade, and Albertsons.

Varney Airlines, founded by Walter Varney was formed in Boise. The company is the root of present day United Airlines, which still serves the city.

External links

  • City of Boise (http://www.cityofboise.org/)
  • Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau (http://www.boise.org/)
  • KTVB-TV (http://www.ktvb.com/)
  • Idaho Statesman (http://www.idahostatesman.com/)
  • Boise Weekly (http://boiseweekly.com/)
  • Boise Area Chamber of Commerce (http://www.boisechamber.org/)
  • Bogus Basin Mountain Resort (http://www.bogusbasin.com/)
  • Photographic virtual tour of Boise. (http://www.Untraveledroad.com/USA/Idaho/ada/Boise.htm)
  • Capital City Development Corp., Boise's redevelopment agency (http://www.ccdcboise.com/)
  • Maps and aerial photos
    • Street map from Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=decimal&latitude=43.613739&longitude=-116.237651&zoom=6)
    • Topographic map from Topozone (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=43.613739&lon=-116.237651&s=200&size=m&layer=DRG100)
    • Aerial photograph from Microsoft Terraserver (http://terraserver.microsoft.com/map.aspx?t=1&s=14&lon=-116.237651&lat=43.613739&w=750&h=500)

Regions of Idaho
Rocky Mountains | Columbia River Plateau | Inland Empire | Basin and Range Province
Boise metropolitan area
Largest Cities
Ammon | Blackfoot | Boise | Burley | Caldwell | Chubbuck | Coeur D'Alene | Eagle | Garden City | Hayden | Idaho Falls | Jerome | Lewiston | Meridian | Moscow | Mountain Home | Nampa | Pocatello | Post Falls | Rexburg
Ada | Adams | Bannock | Bear Lake | Benewah | Bingham | Blaine | Boise | Bonner | Bonneville | Boundary | Butte | Camas | Canyon | Caribou | Cassia | Clark | Clearwater | Custer | Elmore | Franklin | Fremont | Gem | Gooding | Idaho | Jefferson | Jerome | Kootenai | Latah | Lemhi | Lewis | Lincoln | Madison | Minidoka | Nez Perce | Oneida | Owyhee | Payette | Power | Shoshone | Teton | Twin | Valley | Washington |

State United States

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  Results from FactBites:
Boise, Idaho - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1408 words)
Boise is the capital and largest city of Idaho, a state in the United States of America.
Boise became the capital of the state of Idaho on July 3, 1890 when Idaho was admitted to the union as the 43rd state.
Boise is home to Boise Bible College, an undergraduate degree-granting college that exists to train leaders for churches as well as missionaries for the world.
  More results at FactBites »



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