Architectural Artifacts

Major elements of the park design are the architectural artifacts saved from Boise buildings that were demolished by Urban Renewal in the 1970s.  The History Court, at the northeast corner of the park, contains a unique map made of brass, illustrating Boise before the turn of the century.  The old Grove Street Ditch that runs along the south side of the park, has an operating waterwheel providing water to a small rivulet which is symbolic of Boise’s early canal system.

Bush Building Entrance Arch

This sandstone arch was erected in 1904 as the main entrance to the Bush Building on Capitol Boulevard and Idaho Street.  James H. Bush ran the big frame Central Hotel on that corner before it burned in 1890.  City Hall now occupies the same historic site.

Central School Name Stone

The Central School from which this stone was salvaged was the second Boise school to be so named.  The first, built in 1883, stood next to the Territorial Capitol on Jefferson Street.  When the new State Capitol was built on the same site in 1905, the second Central School was built one block to the north.  It was demolished in 1973. 

Morris Hill Cemetery Waterwheel

Waterwheels like the one in the park raised water from the ditches to irrigate land above them.  The development of a ditch system soon after Boise was founded, transformed a sagebrush desert into a green oasis.

Pioneer Building Name Stone

Frank Coffin built his Pioneer Building in 1894 at the southeast corner of 8th and Main.  It replaced an earlier building built in 1864 by B.M. DuRell in order to house his general store.  A few years after DuRell built his small brick First National Bank Building on Main Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets, Coffin established a tin and hardware business in the older structure.  Like many pioneers who became wealthy, Coffin built a mansion on Grove St.

Early Boise Building Date Stones

Date stones were placed on most early Boise buildings.  Sometimes the stones were hollowed out and contained memorabilia of the times for future generations.

A.T. Ellis Building Date Stone

A.T. Ellis, a Boise pioneer blacksmith, built two brick two-story commercial buildings on Grove Street in 1902-03.

Locally Quarried Sandstone Block

This sandstone block, like thousands used in Boise buildings, was quarried nearby.  A popular material with Boise builders, sandstone was used in the construction of the State Capitol, St. John’s Cathedral and across the alley from the park, in the Belgravia building.

Dr. Springer’s Carriage Stone

An early Boise physician used this stone carriage step in front of his house in the 1890s.

Cast-iron Columns & Streetlights

Cast-iron columns such as the ones found in the park were installed on Boise storefronts in the 1880s, making possible larger openings and plate glass windows.  This made interiors brighter and allowed for window displays.  Also of cast-iron are the streetlights which illuminated downtown Boise for many years.  After newer models replaced them in the 1950s, the old ones were stored until they were resurrected for use in the rehabilitated Eighth Street warehouse district in the late 1970s. 

W.E. Pierce Building Turret

Built in 1903, the Pierce Building stood across Main Street from the Idanha Hotel until its demolition in 1975 to make way for One Capital Center.  Later known as the Men’s Wardrobe, the building was commissioned by pioneer and Boise real estate developer Walter E. Pierce.  Pierce developed Harrison Boulevard and other North End neighborhoods.