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Idaho (ID): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Idaho become a state?
July 3, 1890

First European Explorers in Idaho?
Lewis and Clark expedition; 1805

First Native American settlers:
Kootenai, Kalispel, Couer d’Alene, Palouse, Nez Perce, Northern Paiute, Shoshone

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:

State Bird:
Mountain Bluebird

State Motto:
“Esto Perpetua” “Let it be perpetual”

Capital City

Boise – The capital city of Idaho is also the largest city in the state, with around 200,000 residents as of 2008. The city originally began as Fort Boise, built to defend the Oregon Trail. It was in and out of use throughout the 1800s, eventually becoming a city in 1864. It was not, however, immediately named as the capital city of the soon-to-be state. Instead, the government was located in Lewiston, Idaho. In 1866, however, the first capital was forced to rescind their title to Boise after a democratic vote chose the new location. Today, the city is home to many diverse neighborhoods including The North End, Southwest, Northwest, Warm Springs, East End, Southeast, West and the Boise Bench.


What is Idaho famous for?

1. Potatoes
The state of Idaho is most well known for its potatoes, but many people don’t know why. Perhaps its due to extensive marketing campaigns that made people believe that potatoes grown anywhere else are unfit for consumption. Whatever it is, Idaho is the United States’ largest producer of the starchy vegetable.
Idaho claims it grows the best potatoes because of its climate. The state has warm days and cool nights, with plenty of precipitation and rich soil from ancient volcanoes.
The difference in Idaho potatoes can be seen in the taste, appearance and texture. Superior potatoes from the state claim to be fluffier, more flavorful, crispier (when fried) and are more likely to retain their original size.
The potatoes are available year round in stores around the country.

2. Lava Hot Springs
The Lava Hot Springs, located in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, have been developed into an attraction and central-destination for individuals, couples and families over the past 100 years. They were originally visited by people who bathed in the hot springs because they believed their ailments could be cured. This is still the case today, although the springs are now enclosed within a spa compound that has been modernized with stone-lined pools. In addition to relaxing in water that is between 102 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors can enjoy the Olympic-sized swimming pool or one of the many spa services that the Lava Hot Springs offers.

3. Birthplace of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin has gained an enormous amount of fame since her vice presidential nomination during the 2008 elections. The politician was originally born in Sandpoint, Idaho on February 11, 1964. She has two sisters and one brother. The family moved to Alaska together while Sarah was still a baby. They first lived in Eagle River, and Later Wasilla. Although her time in the state was brief, the fact remains; this politician, former governor, former mayor, political commentator and author was born in Idaho.

What is Idaho’s economy?

1. Agriculture – Idaho has a vast number of private farms that produce many kinds of fruits, vegetables, livestock and other crops. The commercial farms in the state, however, centralize their crop efforts around growing Idaho potatoes. The state also grows grass and seeds such as alfalfa, bluegrass, hops and mint. Beef cattle are typically raised on livestock farms, while other cows are milked for commercial milk production.

2. Manufacturing – In addition to agriculture, part of Idaho’s economy is based on the state’s manufacturing output. The primary industrial manufacturers produce electrical equipment, food, lumber, machinery, chemicals, printed materials and metal products.

3. Services – The service industry accounts for the largest percentage of Idaho’s GDP. The primary industries that contribute to this category include wholesale shops, retail shops, trade industries, financial companies, insurance companies and the real estate industry.


Idaho Historical Landmarks

1. Assay Office – The Assay Office was built in 1871 by architect Alfred B. Mullett and John R. McBride, and is located in Boise Idaho. The building was requested and funded by Congress in 1869 in response to the sudden influx of mining in the area. The Assay Office was responsible for assessing the value of mined gold and other metals and to separate the valuable metals from the non-valuable rock. By 1872, one year after the construction was complete, the building was in use. It remained as such until 1933, when the US Forest Service began its occupation of the building for offices. In 1972, the Idaho State Historical Society took control of the building and they use the building for their office, making sure that is retains its original beauty.

2. Bear River Massacre Site – The Bear River Massacre Site is located in Preston, Idaho. It was here that, in January 1863, an entire village of Shoshone Native Americans were attached by an infantry known as the California Volunteers. In 1990, the site was named a National Historic Landmark. Almost 20 years later, in 2008, the Shoshone Nation purchased the site with the intention of building a monument and memorial on the site in memory of their slain ancestors.

3. City of Rocks – The City of Rocks, named a National Reserve in 1988, is a historical location in southern central Idaho that today hosts many rock climbers that enjoy the challenge of the steep craggy rock projections. Its American history began when wagon trails began trekking through the area on their way to present-day Nevada. Word traveled around the western United States, and soon the City of Rocks became a landmark that wagon trains searched for on their journey. The city of Rocks was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.