1. The "Gem State"
Idaho is known as the "Gem State" due to its abundance of natural resources, including 72 different types of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Idahoans are proud of their state's nickname, and the state's official nickname is even featured on the state's license plates. Idahoans are also proud of their state's rich history, which includes the Nez Perce Native American tribe, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Oregon Trail.
2. Boise, 220K and Growing
Boise, the largest city in Idaho, covers a land area of 205,671, while the second largest city, Nampa, has a land mass of 81,557. With a population of over 220,000, Boise is the state's cultural and economic hub, and is home to a variety of attractions, including the Idaho State Capitol, the Boise River Greenbelt, and the Boise Art Museum.
Also → Oregon: A State of Diversity
3. Idaho law requiring smile still in effect
In Pocatello, Idaho, a law that dates back to the early 1900s is still in effect today, despite being unenforced. This law states that it is illegal for a person to walk on the streets without a smile on their face. Although this law is rarely enforced, it serves as a reminder of the importance of smiling and being friendly to those around you.
4. Idaho's Oldest Building is a National Historic Landmark
Idaho is home to the oldest building in the state, the Cataldo Mission. Built in 1853, this historic landmark is a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest standing building in Idaho. The Cataldo Mission was built by Jesuit missionaries and is a unique example of the architecture of the time. It is a reminder of the early days of Idaho and the hard work of the missionaries who built it.
5. Idaho's Gold Rush Economy Led to Rapid Population Growth
In the 1860's, Idaho's economy was heavily reliant on the mining of gold. This precious metal was found in abundance in the area, and miners flocked to the region in search of their fortunes. The gold rush brought a surge of people to the area, and the population of Idaho grew rapidly. The gold mining industry provided jobs and income for many of the settlers, and it was a major factor in the development of the state. The gold rush also had a lasting impact on the culture and history of Idaho, and it continues to be an important part of the state's identity today.
6. Explore Caribou National Forest
Idaho is home to the Caribou National Forest, a sprawling 1 million acre expanse of wilderness that was established in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. This forest is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. It is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elk, moose, deer, and bighorn sheep. The Caribou National Forest is a testament to the conservation efforts of President Roosevelt, and continues to be a source of recreation and enjoyment for generations of Idahoans.
7. Exploring Idaho's Ghost Towns
Idaho is home to a number of fascinating ghost towns, the most famous of which are Silver City, the Sierra Silver Mine, and Gold Dredge. These towns were once bustling hubs of activity, but have since been abandoned and left to the elements. Silver City was once a thriving mining town, while the Sierra Silver Mine was a major source of silver ore. Gold Dredge was a gold mining town, and was the site of the largest dredge in the world. Today, these ghost towns are a reminder of Idaho's rich mining history.
8. Idaho's State Flowers and Trees
Idaho is a state of natural beauty, and its state flower and tree are no exception. The state flower, the Syringa, is a fragrant shrub that blooms in the spring and summer months, and is known for its clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers. The state tree, the White Pine, is a tall evergreen that is native to the region and is known for its long, soft needles and its ability to thrive in cold climates. Both the Syringa and the White Pine are symbols of Idaho's natural beauty and are a reminder of the state's unique landscape.
9. Idaho Becomes a United States Territory
On March 3, 1863, Idaho officially became a United States territory, marking a major milestone in the state's history. This event was the result of a long process of negotiations between the federal government and the Idaho Territory's original inhabitants, the Shoshone and Bannock tribes. The Idaho Territory was established with the signing of the Organic Act, which granted the territory its own government and allowed it to begin the process of becoming a state. This event was a major step forward for the state, and it eventually led to Idaho becoming the 43rd state in the Union on July 3, 1890.
10. Illegal: Fishing on Camels/Giraffes in Idaho
In Idaho, it is illegal to fish while riding on the back of a camel or giraffe! This strange law has been on the books for many years, and is a reminder of the unique and diverse wildlife that can be found in the state. While it may seem like an odd law, it is a reminder of the importance of protecting the state's wildlife and ensuring that it is not disturbed by activities such as fishing.