& history


Cruise down Chinden Boulevard and you’ll drive through what used to be acres upon acres of riverside fields. You’ll see historic neon signs, a hand-built log cabin, and traces of the city’s pioneer past. Garden City is always evolving, but its history is everywhere.

Chinese Gardens

More than 100 years ago, Garden City was an actual garden.

In 1890, Thomas J. Davis bought more than 600 acres in what is now the Garden City area and began leasing the property to Chinese immigrants. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, hundreds of Chinese immigrants lived in this area as laborers, shop owners, and gold miners. In Garden City, they transformed Davis’s property into fields full of strawberries, onions, and even hogs.

These resourceful immigrants let nothing go to waste: They started a garbage collection service in Boise, sorted through the solid waste, and fed their hogs on whatever was edible. Their riverside farms gave Chinden Boulevard its name — a mashup of the words “Chinese” and “gardens.”

Although the large farms are now gone, Garden City still retains its heritage with green spaces along the river and a thriving environment for entrepreneurs.