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5 Facts About Idaho's Capital: How Well Do You Know Boise?

By    |   Sunday, 05 April 2015 04:38 AM EDT

The capital of Idaho offers an array of opportunities for visitors and inhabitants alike. Whether you’re looking for nature, innovative businesses or a rich cultural scene, Boise offers it all. Here are a few facts you might not have known about Boise, the City of Trees:

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1. French Roots

During the 19th Century, several French-Canadian fur trappers crossed a desert and climbed a hill to discover what was to become known as the Boise River, and it was surrounded by a thick forest. They screamed out, “Les bois! Les bois!” at the sight of the woods, which lead to the name Boise (pronounced “boy-see”). In 1863, Fort Boise was established and quickly became a destination for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

2. The Basque Community

Originally from Spain's Bizkaia (Biscay) province, the Basque community in Boise, Idaho has been a fixture of the capital’s cultural scene since the 1800s. This active community organizes and celebrates several religious holidays, including the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Another fact, every five years, Boise is home to the international festival known as Jaialdi, which celebrates Basque culture.

3. The Boise River Greenbelt

Up until the 1960s, the Boise River was being used as a dumping ground for raw sewage and industrial waste. Then the city hired a consultant to change all that. The result? Idaho's Greenbelt, twenty-five miles of scenic views, wildlife habitats and tree-lined pathways for year-round walking and biking along the rejuvenated river.

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4. The Gene Harris Jazz Festival

Every spring, Idaho's capital city hosts the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, which is part education and part entertainment by design. In addition to providing world class public jazz concerts for audiences, the festival also works to enrich the community through the Gene Harris Endowment, a scholarship program for students learning the art of jazz improvisation. Upwards of 1,000 students flock to Boise each year to attend clinics and workshops attached to the festival, providing the opportunity to study jazz with some of the greats for a number of days. Past performers include Ramsey Lewis, Kevin Eubanks and Dave Brubeck.

5. High-Tech Connections

In March 2014, TIME Magazine named Boise as the No. 1 city “Getting It Right,” stating that the capital had become a “techie boomtown” with a rich culture scene. In fact, the high-tech industry has been growing in Boise since the 1970s, and it consistently lures in new talent through giants such as Hewlett-Packard and Micron Technology. It has also become a hub for start-ups, and industries can range from software to online services and nanomaterials.

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The capital of Idaho offers an array of opportunities for visitors and inhabitants alike. Whether you're looking for nature, innovative businesses or a rich cultural scene, Boise offers it all. Here are a few facts you might not have known about Boise, the City of Trees.
facts, idaho, boise
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2015-38-05
Sunday, 05 April 2015 04:38 AM
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