Visited 12 Oct 2009 – To visit Fort Boise you really have to visit three different places, the original 1834 Fort Boise along the Snake River, the reconstruction of that fort in Parma, Idaho and the 1863 Fort Boise in the city of Boise, Idaho.
The first Fort Boise was built in 1834 along the Snake River by Thomas McKay as a fur trading post. It later became a part of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading system. It was a major supply stop on the main route of the Oregon Trail but it only lasted until 1854-55 when Indian attacks and a major flood forced it to close. Today, all that remains is a marker along the east bank of the Snake River. The marker is kind of unique because it is capped with a huge beaver head. Getting to this location is a challenge because the marker sits within the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area (WMA) along the Old Fort Boise Road. Old Fort Boise Road enters the Wildlife Management Area from Idaho Highway 20 and turns into a gravel road as it enters the WMA. The signage at the entry point seems to prohibit vehicle entry but it does not, the signage actually prohibits vehicles from straying off the gravel road. You follow the gravel road past two parking areas and the marker is located on the left of a circular pull out. Great view of the Snake River and you can imagine the wagon trains crossing here into Oregon.
To get a view of what the Fort actually looked like you just need to travel 5 miles south on Hwy 20 to the town of Parma, Idaho. In Parma there is a replica of the original fort in Fort Boise Park. The replica has pretty restrictive hours and none at all in the off season. Check this website for the current hours. I was not able to get inside the replica on this visit. We did have a great lunch at “Boy’s Better Burgers” by the park.
The second Fort Boise is located in the City of Boise and was established by the U.S. Army and Major Pinkney Lugenbeel in 1863. The new fort was also major stop along the route of the Oregon Trail. The fort remains are hard to find because the post was divided up among several owners after it closed in 1913. There are several of the original 1863 buildings still to be found on the grounds of the VA Hospital and on the hill just behind it. Many other later period buildings are still there, as is the main gate to the Fort.
It took us a full day to check out all three locations and we could have spent more time at the last Fort Boise hunting down the old fort buildings.
Posted under Forts
This post was written by JohnStanton on October 13, 2009