Founding of Ann Morrison Park
Ann Morrison Park was conceived by Harry Morrison, Founder of the Morrison Knudsen Company after the death of his wife, Ann, in October 1957.
Early in 1958, Harry met with Boise Mayor Edlefsen about his plan to acquire land, develop a park in memory of his late wife and deed it to the city. The parcel of landy Harry was interested in was well over 100 acres and had previously been optioned by the school district for a new high school. When the school bond election failed, Harry quietly purchased the entire 100-acre parcel -- and then proceeded to buy up six more parcels until the total exceeded 153 acres and extended from Americana to Capitol Boulevard.
Harry Morrison, already in his 70s, set the dedication date for his new park as June 7, 1959. Harry immediately turned the project over to a handful of veteran MK project managers under the supervision of J.V. "Vern" Otter. Otter, returning from a whirlwind tour of major U.S. Parks, assembled his landscape design and construction team.
Clearing and grubbing began shortly thereafter. Heavy equipment was brought down from MK's Brownlee Dam project. Dozers, rollers and shovels quickly drained and leveled the site. 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel was used to kill and burn vegetation. 15,000 yards of topsoil was trucked in from the desert, seven miles out on the Mountain Home Highway.
Boiseans had never seen anything like this before and hundreds of people and organizations asked to be part of it. Nearly 1000 contributions were received-ranging from trees to flag poles, fireplaces and sundials. The Daly family donated the modern clock tower and 300 Morrison Knudsen "Old Timers" funded construction of the picnic shelter near the east entrance to the park.
During construction, MK men planted over 2,000 trees and shrubs, 30,000 small shrubs and perennials and 20,000 annual flowers and plants. 2 ½ tons of grass seed greened the 153 acre park that was watered by two deep wells and 21 miles of underground sprinkler lines.
Consistent with MK's reputation for project management and timely completion, Ann Morrison Park was ready for visitors in 10 months at a total cost of $1,250,000.