Discovering Downtown in Stride

Boise’s eclectic history comes to life with a Preservation Idaho walking tour

Article by Lindsey Bryant

Photography by Mike Bryant

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

When was the last time you covered 150 years in 1.5 hours? You can do just that any given Saturday in downtown Boise starting at 10am. WalkAbout Boise is back at it this season sharing stories of how the city of trees came to be. 

Generation after generation this little land locked gem of Les Bois has served as a hub of growth and prosperity. A glance down Main Street easily exemplifies the eras of change and evolution. Each building on the WalkAbout Boise tour has a story as do the people who gave them purpose. Beginning at the Basque block between Capitol Boulevard and 6th Street the tour circles around several city blocks. The expert historians which guide each tour share beautifully detailed back stories that bring new life to the old buildings. It’s like stepping through a portal and seeing the city with new eyes.

A prevailing theme throughout the tour is the delicate relationship between prosperity and preservation. As each generation has built upon the foundations of those that came before them the structures echo that sentiment of purpose and repurpose. There are stories of survival, perseverance, and good old fashioned Idaho ingenuity. Much prosperity was required to erect each edifice. An equal requirement of prosperity, affluence and foresight has been invested in order to preserve these architectural landmarks of our heritage.

It’s not just the buildings! They are simply the markers by which the history is collected and told. Boise’s origins are bold and brave, colorful and controversial. WalkAbout Boise is a passport to the past not to be passed up.

For over 40 years, Preservation Idaho has worked to protect historic places of significance to Idahoans. A good number of those places are spotted throughout the core of downtown Boise. Preservation Idaho is a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered with the IRS. They do not receive any State or Federal operating funds. They fund their education and advocacy work through memberships, donations, sponsorships, and grants.

Reserve your tickets today at PreservationIdaho.org.

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