Beacon Street, Broadway, and Boise Avenue all have something in common. They all bound the Original South Boise Neighborhood. The South Neighborhood is a short journey to the Boise Greenbelt, Boise State University, downtown Boise, and Parkcenter. South Boise Neighborhood consists of a 33-block radius and is full of apartments, duplexes, offices, restaurants, and retail businesses. The area has been a great example of a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood since the 1890’s for the fact that homes, employment, and services are all within a few minutes.
South Boise — From Humble Beginnings
In the late 19th century the Original South Boise neighborhood was developed and part of Boise’s community development. It was one of the very first developments that were south of the river. The city of Boise was developed in many phases. In 1890’s the first plan to create a bridge across the Boise River at Broadway Avenue. This planned sparked the development of South Boise. The building of the new bridge not only sparked the development idea of South Boise, but investors and real estate firms started buying up farm and ranch land. Two of the first additions were laid out in the excitement of the upcoming bridge were the South Boise First Subdivision and Londoner First Subdivision. The First subdivision was chosen to be placed on University Drive on the north, Broadway to the east, the north side of Rossi Street to the south and Oakland Street as the east border. The other subdivision Londoner was set to be on Belmont Street to the north, Broadway to the west, Division Street to the east and Boise Avenue to the south.
Many of the real estate firms that invested in Boise land were from Colorado corporations. The owner of the Londoner was purchased by Moses Londoner and he was from Pueblo, Colorado. The other real estate firm called the Denver Land and Investment Company was established in Denver and all of their board members lived in Colorado. In 1890 another subdivision called the Dundee First Subdivision was laid out by Walter P. Hard and a local resident Judson Spofford. This subdivision took place on the south side of Rossi Street to the north, Broadway on the west and Boise Avenue on the south.
The bridge was completed in 1892 and was 210 feet long and built wide enough for wagons and foot traffic. The growth of the streetcar tracks was laid by the streetcar company across the bridge in expectation of the continuous interurban track that would go from downtown to South Boise. The housing and business construction finally began to take place in the Dundee Subdivision.
The newspaper stated that South Boise was going to grow into a mighty little city in itself in the next many years. By 1895 the city had grown so big that it had enough of a population to support a church and a school. In September of that year, the Second Presbyterian Church was dedicated. First, they had services at the corner of Rossi and Broadway but eventually moved to Boise Avenue as the congregation got too big.
For schooling kids attending the School District #6 located at the corner of Broadway and Boise Avenue. The gave it the name of Garfield. Over time, many Garfield School buildings were built. The first construction was burned, and a replacement was built of wood. In 1899 a two-story brick schoolhouse was built which housed the students until it was torn down in 1952. This brick schoolhouse was built on the northeast corner of the Boise Avenue and Broadway. The third schoolhouse was built in 1927 across Boise Avenue to have room for grades 4 through 8th. Students that were in grades 1st through 3rd attended the old building that was built in 1899. In 1940 there were eight classrooms, due to the growth from the postwar the community had to add on to the school and expanded it to 21 classrooms. At the same time, the gymnasium and cafeteria were also added.
As the growth steadily developed after the 1900s the interurban streetcar system was built across from the Broadway Bridge and extended to the Garfield school. The tracks extended to Linden Street and finally ended at Broadway by the end of the first year. A barn for the streetcar was built on Rossi Street between Denver and Grant. Working for the streetcar line was a popular employment at the time. They worked as motormen, mechanics, and conductors. In 1928 the system grew through Boise and started to have competition from automobiles which eventually put the streetcar out of business.
By the 1920’s a commercial district was located on the west side of Broadway and has several businesses. There were a few grocery stores one being Utter’s. Utters changed its name several times from Roddy’s to Hobdy’s grocery and then Coble Company. It was a two-story garage; the family lived on the top floor and managed the store that was below. Other companies in the area included Welton’s South Boise Grocery store and The Lord Brothers’ grocery store.
During the years of the Depression, growth in the South Boise neighborhoods slowed as wasn’t limited just to Boise but took place in all of Idaho. During the 1940s the community Boise college built and was located on the airfield just south of the Boise River between Capitol Blvd. and Broadway. Through years this has grown into a popular university.
South Boise — Post-War Idaho
With the post-war, there was another growth and the postwar baby boom lead to more growth for the Garfield school. Leading to another expansion of the school.
The area was set up for redevelopment to change it to a multi-family student housing, this was called the BSU Neighborhood Plan and was set in 1991. In 1999, they did another plan to revise the area and called it the Boise Comprehensive Plan, this modification was set out to protect the area of the neighborhood to keep the character of the homes that were well-maintained and owner-occupied neighborhoods.
Throughout the first few years of the 2000’s neighborhood committee was created, a vision was drafted and presented at a neighborhood meeting and feedback was requested. Right after the presentation at the neighborhood meeting, it was presented to Lance Evans the head of the Boise Neighborhood Planner. Lance Evans encouraged the plan. Throughout the next couple of years, the plan took effect.