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The Central Addition - A Nod to the Past with an Eye on the Future

Photo courtesy of Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) 72-184-1

The Central Addition, Boise’s first LIV District captures a variety of unique features, including innovative sustainability practices and access to thriving businesses, boutique shops, housing, hotels, parks, universities and more. But a neighborhood or district is only as good as its connection to the people. A big part of what makes this district so special is how its rich history and public art help define what it means to be in the Central Addition. Ultimately, these elements connect people to the place.

The Central Addition has a rich history, and what made it so appealing in the 1800s still holds true to those who live and work there today.

The Central Addition was platted on land owned by Lafayette Cartee, where he had grown a variety of fruit and vegetables. Joseph C. Straughan, Samuel Hays and Walter S. Bruce developed fifteen acres of Cartee’s cultivated land in 1890, naming it the Central Addition after much deliberation. They wanted to emphasize the closeness of the area to the city, as well as the already mature “landscaping”. The addition proved popular, and by the end of the year eighteen homes had been built. By 1912, most of the lots in the Central Addition were sold and developed. Some of the residents included Boise’s early developers, bakery and millinery shop owners and a woman who built a boardinghouse. The idyllic nature of the neighborhood changed quickly when the Oregon Short Line Railroad extended their tracks along Front Street in 1893, putting the addition on the “wrong” side of the tracks. Many high-income residents moved, while others fought to protect accessibility and a sense of place.

Fast-forward to today, and the area is being re-energized; building on the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of its first settlers. To see what connecting people to place can be all about, look no further than the street. When new fiber-optic cables were being installed on Broad Street, between Capitol and 2nd Street, the Boise City Dept. of Arts & History identified the utility holes covering these cables as an opportunity to engage local artists to design functional public art – something that performs a job but also represents the area, adds beauty, interest and meaning to the neighborhood.

The Arts & History Dept. selected three artists – Kirsten Furlong, Charles Haman, and Rick Friesen to create and implement a design concept. Each design separately addresses the importance of sustainability, natural resources and historic preservation. Through history and art, a neighborhood can truly tell a story, and the Central Addition has an incredible journey to share.

Photo courtesy of the Boise Weekly. Artist Rick Friesen.

Published: October 03, 2017