Julia Davis Park is steeped in history, and its mission has always been one about creating a beautiful green space in the middle of a city, and being completely open to the public. It was created in 1907, when Thomas Davis donated approximately 40 acres of his apple orchards to the City of Boise. He sold the deed for a dollar, and only asked that the land always be used for the public, and named after his recently deceased wife, Julia Davis.
Since then, Julia Davis Park has grown to almost 90 acres, thanks to further donations and purchases of land. It is a beautiful public space that sits at the heart of Boise, and it also serves as the cultural and historical heart of Boise. Julia Davis Park is home to a zoo, museums, and many different plazas and memorials. Regardless of whether you live in Boise or not, Julia Davis Park should be on your list of places to visit. A New Plaza Celebrating Life
The most recent addition to Julia Davis Park was created to both honor and provide a place for survivors of cancer, as well as patients, families, and health-care providers. The new cancer survivors plaza is a beautiful area, filled with inspirational plaques, incredible kinetic wind sculptures created by a local artist, and a Road to Recovery. The Road to Recovery features plaques with different recovery strategies. The entire plaza is a positive, and beautiful place that celebrates life and recovery from cancer.
Boise Art Museum
Julia Davis Park is also home to the Boise Art Museum. In its 75th anniversary, the museum continues its mission of inspiration, learning, and appreciation for the visual arts by providing incredible collections and exhibits, as well as unique educational opportunities. The Boise Art Museum has seen its own share of growth. It began small, and slowly grew over time. Its first expansion grew the facility to over 10,000 square feet, and today it has grown to almost 35,000 square feet. It now features a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits.
Idaho State Historical Museum
The Idaho State Historical Museum shows off the history of Idaho. It contains a staggering 250,000 artifacts, and tells the story of Idaho. It was also the first museum in Idaho, and one of the first museums in the West to become accredited. It even features an outdoor exhibit, complete with buildings, that replicates the old pioneer life.
The museum has seen its share of renovations and expansions over the years. Currently, it’s near the middle of a three year renovation process. The entire museum is being overhauled, since the building is from the 1940s. Current plans see the museum reopening in 2017. For the moment, staff and select exhibits have been relocated.
Idaho Black History Museum
Located in the historic St. Paul Baptist Church, the Idaho Black History Museum tells the incredible story of black history in Idaho. Even the old church is a part of the history. It was built by the pastor and his congregation, and is one of the first buildings built by black people in Idaho. The Idaho Black History Museum, located next to the Idaho State Historical Museum, should definitely make it onto your list when you visit Julia Davis Park. It shares the incredible history of black people, beginning with Lewis and Clark’s slave. The museum seeks to act as a bridge between cultures, and it explores issues that affect all Americans.
Julia Davis Rose Garden
You’ve always heard the expression to stop and smell the roses. You’ll want to visit the Rose Garden and enjoy the almost 2,500 rose blooms. Not only is the Rose Garden popular for weddings, it also holds a unique piece of history. There is a Memorial Rose Fund that helps keep the Rose Garden blooming. You can create a memorial to friends or family, alive or dead, by donating to the fund.
A Part of Living History
While much of Julia Davis Park is steeped in history, the park is still experiencing growth and improvement. Much needed renovations are happening to key buildings and features, and new ones are being added. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy an interactive history tour.
Julia Davis Park is the heart of Boise. It pays homage to the past, while still looking forward to the future. The park is full of exciting opportunities to explore the nature of Idaho, and the state’s history. Julia Davis Park truly is the cultural and historical heart of Boise.