Our country is changing in many ways. For one thing, the population, despite COVID, is shifting dramatically. Ruth & I had a taste of this trend at the end of our last trip. We spent our last night on the road in Boise. We used to really enjoy going to Boise, where I have relatives. This time it was very hectic because it’s undergoing significant growth. Just 4 years ago its population was said to be just over 200,000. In just 5 years its area population is now said to be 789,784. That’s not growth. That’s an explosion!
Boise is now the 3rd largest city in the United States’ Northwest. Only Seattle and Portland are larger, and Portland, due to its political problems, may be losing population. Of the 10 largest cities for growth in the past few years, 4 of the 10 are in Texas. They are San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin, and Frisco. I had to look Frisco, a northern suburb of Dallas, up. But these four are not the fastest growing city. That’s Phoenix! We have lost 3 friends to the Phoenix area in the last couple of years and 2 to Fort Worth.
We only had time for one attraction besides the Basque market in Boise this time. A few years ago one female employee of the Basque Museum in Boise complained to us about a new high rise office building that was being built nearby. The Basque Museum was destined to be in its shadow, and traffic would be affected. Ruth & I decided to spend our time at the Idaho State Museum at 610 Julia Davis Drive in Julia Davis Park, an attraction we were familiar with. This museum was closed in 2017 and 2018 for renovations. They worked. The 19th century saloon is gone!
Just the other side of the welcoming desk and shop now are this museum’s new focus. The exhibits concentrate on Idaho and its people, this states considerable lakes and forests, and its southern deserts and canyons in the 3 well-developed areas that start any visitor’s journey. Children were especially fascinated by the section that replicates a fast flowing stream with much visual appeal. The focus now is Idaho’s forestry, natural resources, and transportation history, its majestic central mountains and pristine wilderness, and its agricultural (potatoes!) and atomic past and high-tech future.
Downstairs are stories from Idaho and its current and sensational temporary show about Idaho and elsewhere’s women of achievement. The attention paid to Ruth Bader Ginsberg could not be missed. Called “Trailblazing Women from the Past and Present”, this truly great show runs until March of 2022. It will be replaced by a display that concentrates on forest fires, a highly contemporary problem here and elsewhere.
On the way to the exit, we talked to a woman employee of the museum whom we had spoken to before entering. We noted the growth that Boise is having, and she had an interesting observation to make. She told us that a low minimum wage was still the custom here and that this was beginning to affect future growth. Many locals she knew including herself were having trouble making it on what they were being paid. This could affect Boise’s explosive growth if the situation does not change rather rapidly.