Celebrate The History of Garden City!

by | May 9, 2023 | Culture and History, Spotlight

Celebrating the arts in February with Garden City Visitors Bureau

Do you ever wonder where it all began? Immerse yourself in what used to be acres of riverside fields! Learn more about the history of what Garden City used to be and has become as we take a trip down memory lane to where it all began!


Chinese Gardens

Garden City was just one giant garden. In 1890, Thomas J. Davis and his wife Jeminma owned more than 600 acres of property that was leased to Chinese immigrants. The State of Idaho had legislation against persons of Chinese descent not born in America to own any real property. As Davis helped his Chinese friends, his river-front land was leased to them. These immigrants became the heart and soul of Garden City as laborers, shop owners, and gold miners. These 600 acres became fields of fruits and onions. After his death, his estate continued with the Chinese immigrants and the name Garden City was later created, and the main street Chinden Boulevard, a contraction of “Chinese” and “Garden” was named.

Bella Mosaica
Bella Mosaica

Memorial Stadium

This stadium has been home of the Boise Hawks since 1989 and is one of Garden City’s most notable landmarks. This is the spot to catch a game or maybe even a concert during the summer months. It’s the best spot to take your family to be a part of the culture and embrace what Garden City has to offer.

Boise Greenbelt, Garden City, Idaho
Boise Greenbelt, Garden City, Idaho

Pierce-Borah House

This Queen-Anne style house is one of the most unaltered and old-time historical homes you can find in the area. This gothic-style architecture presents a strongly irregular and asymmetrical aspect, and it’s marketed as one of the two earliest buildings in Garden City! This house dates back to 1897, and is historically significant for its occupation during most of its early history by Idaho’s internationally known United States Senator, William E. Borah. This house was built for $4000 and continues to show off the work of John Tourtellotte in his vision for gothic-like architecture. This building is still marked to be in excellent condition and a private estate that’s kept preserved for any history junkies to see.

Berserker Strength and Conditioning, Garden City, Idaho
Berserker Strength and Conditioning, Garden City, Idaho

City of Gardens and Gambling

Garden City caught the eye of the U.S. Army. In 1853, right around that time soldiers came to the Treasure Valley and built Fort Boise. Garden City was Government Island, the river we know and love that runs through Boise was diverted into a canal to irrigate the land! When these Chinese immigrants assembled for the gold mines created by Tom Davis, their luck too came with the Idaho Legislature law allowing “coin operated amusement devices “slot machines” to be allowed in Garden City. Boise voted against; opportunity was seen in the land just West of Boise.