In 1991 Bill A. Berry purchased Ashley Sign Co., a local company established by Art Ashley in 1910. Later, Art’s son, who was also named Art, acquired the company from his step-mother after his father’s death. His brother, Paul Ashley, started a separate company, the AAA Sign in Boise’s north end. For almost half of a century Ashley Sign was located at 708 Front Street, between Peasley Transfer & Storage Co. and the Hop Sing, the historic headquarters for a Chinese fraternal order. Ashley sign survived war-time resource shortages, the mid-century transition from hand-painted to electric and neon signage, and were only forced to relocate as urban redevelopment demolished that section of town.
Boise is no stranger to floods and natural disasters. A fire in the foothills in 1959 taught newly created land management agencies a lesson in local ecology, prompting a new way of managing local watershed, and changing the scope of local and regional land management. With the cooperation of several state and local departments and boards Boise began the project of digging retaining trenches across more than 9,000 acres in the Boise foothills. They are still visible to the curious urban sight-seer today.
June is Finding Your Way Home month in the BOISE 150 Sesqui-Shop and will be featuring several different maps that represent Boise’s Communities, its Enterprise, and its Environment over the last 150 years. The exhibit will present a range of topics and subjects that reflect some aspect of Boise’s growth, proving that you can discover through maps different cultures, endeavors, and even our natural relationship to our valley, as represented through these visual histories. For example, looking two Boise suburbs, South Boise and the Depot Bench, using Ada County’s plat maps, we can see a shift in residential planning that took place on the Boise Bench during a period of growth between 1890 and the post-War period, when much of the development took place.
Studies in material culture arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as practitioners of human history began looking at the relationship between the products of a society and the social and moral values they embodied. Through this approach we can view certain products as unique expressions of a community, and as physical representations of cultural values and even individual attitudes of a particular time and space. Quilts have been recognized as having the ability to “trigger a tremendous range of reminiscence and emotional response, and carry a great load of cultural meaning.” They serve a dual role as both a utilitarian product of the domestic sphere, relegated to the work women, and simultaneously they provided the practitioners with the opportunity to express ideas and meaning through a display of their artistic ability.
In 1926 Boise became the home of the first privately contracted air mail service in the United States. On April 6, Walter Varney, of Varney Airlines, and a crowd of spectators welcomed the small Swallow’s pilot Leon “Lee” Cuddleback and his prized cargo to the Boise Municipal Airport, located just south of the Boise River where the Boise State campus is today. By 1927 Varney Airlines merged with William Boeing’s, Boeing Air Transport, and formed a conglomeration that would later become United Airlines, Inc.
The City of Boise is commissioning a mural to commemorate BOISE 150 for Boise Airport’s ticketing lobby. The public is invited to comment on proposals by three Idaho artists, who were chosen through a national public process by a selection panel of stakeholders. The panel will take public comment into account prior to making their final decision regarding which project to commission. Comments will be collected from May 6th – May 20th.
Are We There Yet?
ANNE PETERSON KLAHR
Along the River’s Edge
SUZANNE LEE CHETWOOD
A.) Idaho, Enduring Spirit
Boise City’s public art collection of over ninety works can be found on downtown plazas and streets and in public facilities such as City Hall, Boise Airport, parks and Public Library branches. 1.4% of all eligible Boise City capital projects are set aside to invest in site-specific artwork, with all artworks chosen through a democratic selection process. Public art invigorates residential and commercial zones, developing new places of beauty and interest and adding to civic vitality.
For Questions on this and other public artworks in Boise, Idaho please contact Karen Bubb, email@example.com)
For centuries May Day has been a tradition celebrated by ancient agricultural communities just after the last weeks of the winter chill subsided and just before the long planting season began. The Romans made offerings of milk and honey to Flora, the Goddess of Flowers, during the last week of April and the first week of May, to celebrate the coming of summer with flower wreaths, ribbons, and dances. There was a general loosening of moral license that allowed all folks to participate in what might have otherwise been seen as lascivious activities, as part of the general splendor of spring.
For most of April the Boise City Department of Arts and History Sesqui-Shop hosted Remnants of Boise, an exhibit by Boise historian Brandi Burns, celebrating 150 years of Boise history through the themes of Environment, Community, and Enterprise. The exhibit showcased a selection of over 300 historic photographs, street maps, and artifacts from historic buildings and homes in Boise that have been lost to time and new growth. Highlighted are 25 distinct districts that explore specific areas of interest in the city, each helps to tell the larger story of Boise through the evolution of each location. Remnants of Boise closed the last weekend of April, but don’t worry if you missed the exhibit downtown, Burns has also created a digital tour of Boise’s Remnants, available online and self-guided so you can enjoy Old Boise at your own convenience.
If you have spent any amount of time in and around Boise or in any of its institutions, it’s likely you have seen the work of local artist John Collias. For the better part of a century he has become something of an institution himself. In 2010 Nick Collias published a book that put his grandfather’s life’s work into a historical context, he said “looking at the art work, I could see immediately that this is an incredible visual historical record of Idaho.” Indeed, in 2007 a collection of Collias’ work was put on display at the Idaho History Museum as they represent more than seven decades of living and working in the Boise Valley.