Every state in the United States of America has a unique and rich history. From patriots from a past age, to the indigenous people who influenced the naming and perception of the “New World”, to brave frontiersman who came across previously unimaginable beauty and abundance, to intrepid settlers seeking a new life or new riches, there are stories upon stories, too many to hear in even in a few lifetimes.
With stories comes the vagaries of fact and fiction, and sometimes a combination of both, which intertwine with the histories we find in the conventional history books of our day. However, sometimes it is necessary (and a little fun) to set down those conventional history books and take a look at things from a simpler point of view, one not so worried with how things happened or how a particular event was so pivotal to a grander happening, but one that can look at information in a lighter, more casual way.
Idaho, compared to many states in the United States, is a relatively new state, being granted statehood July 3 of 1890, putting Idaho just past its centennial year compared to some states that have since passed their bicentennial. However, a hundred years is still a hundred years, and Idaho had a rich history even before it was admitted into the Union. As such, there are plethoras of stories and histories of both individuals and of groups of people to be had in the pages of Idaho’s history. Going along with what was mentioned earlier, however, there are also an overwhelming amount of “fun facts” that are attributed, mostly judiciously, to the Gem State. In this article, we’ll list a few of those, hoping to both inform and entertain:
Idaho History Facts!
People outside of Idaho eat more Idaho potatoes than the people in Idaho. In other words, everybody but Idahoans get the good potatoes.
Speaking of potatoes, Idaho grows about ⅓ of all the United States’s potato crop, or about 27 billion potatoes.
An Idaho law forbids a citizen to give another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than 50 pounds. Sounds like either someone went a little overboard on Valentine’s Day or someone had the biggest sweet tooth known to man.
The capital city of Boise was named (supposedly) when French-Canadian trappers arrived in the early 1800s and were so relieved to see the forest and river that they exclaimed “Les bois! Les bois!” (“The trees”). Boise and the area around it are mostly surrounded by some fairly rough terrain, hence the relief.
Idaho is the 14th largest State in the U.S. in total area but only ranked 39th in total population amongst the 50 States.
Idaho itself ranges at about 83,557 square miles, with 63 percent of that, or roughly 52,000 square miles, being public land.
The Great Seal of Idaho was designed in the same year it became a state by Emma Edwards Green. It is the only State Seal in the United States to be designed by a woman.
Among Idaho’s many nicknames is the Gem State, named as such because Idaho produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones. It’s believed that the largest diamond found on U.S. soil was discovered in Idaho.
Idaho is home to the largest hops (one of the primary ingredients to make beer) farms in the WORLD. The farm in question, Elk Mountain Farms, grows hops for Anheuser-Busch on a 1,500-acre plot of land.
In Idaho, it’s illegal to fish while sitting on the back of a camel or a giraffe. What we wouldn’t do to see photographic evidence of the first offender.
Idaho’s Hell Canyon holds the title for the deepest gorge in America, even deeper than the famous Grand Canyon, being around 7,900 feet deep at its deepest point.
There is a campsite in Idaho called Seven Devils Campground that is the only way to reach a lookout point ironically named Heaven’s Gate Lookout. From this lookout point, weather permitted, you can see four states at once: Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana.
You can tell what part of the state someone is from by looking at their license plate. For example, if someone’s license plate number starts with “1A”, that means that person is from Ada County, which means one could reasonably guess that that person is either from Boise, Meridian, or the communities around there.
Shoshone Falls, nicknamed the “Niagara of the West”, is a beautiful waterfall just outside of Twin Falls, Idaho. At 212 feet in height, Shoshone Falls is technically taller than Niagara Falls, but who’s competing, right?
Speaking of natural phenomenon, Idaho’s capital building in Boise, including a few other of the buildings owned by the city, are all heated geothermically.
In Pocatello, one of the more prominent cities in the east side of the state, it is (supposedly) illegally to be seen in public without a smile on your face. Fortunately, as far as we can tell, that law is not typically enforced.
Bruce Willis, popular action star and musician, has a home in Hailey, Idaho.
In a ski resort just outside of McCall, Idaho, there is a tree called the “Bra Tree”, hearkening to the tradition of women throwing their bras while on the chairlift.
Birds of Prey Wildlife Area, just outside of Kuna, Idaho, is home to the world’s most dense population of nesting eagles, hawks, and falcons.
The world’s largest potato chip, at 25 inches by 14 inches, is held at a museum in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Last, but not least, Idaho’s state fruit is the huckleberry, but the real shocker (sarcasm) is Idaho’s state vegetable: potatoes!