Garden City, Idaho, though now an incorporated town of its own apart from Boise, has always had a relationship with Boise, and was once considered a part of it. Today’s Garden City is surrounded on all sides by Boise, defined by two bodies of water—a canal toward the Western side of the city, and the Boise River to the East--the Connector on one end and a somewhat ambiguous definition of streets, and property lines on the other. Garden City’s beginnings were far more humble than the town as it defines itself today.
A 1949 Sanborn Insurance map shows early recognition of the newly created Garden City. According to a history of the area, Garden City was annexed from Boise on May 22, 1949 as an “incorporated village” of Boise.1 The action was taken as a means of providing a gambling outlet for the citizens of Boise. Earlier in the year 1949 Idaho had become a local option gambling state, Boise had opted to make gambling illegal in the city.
The Sanborn map indicates the bounds of the early Garden City, from what is today Mountain View Dr (then, Cruzen Ave.)--which intersected and joined Fairview Ave going into downtown Boise—to the river and from 31st St to just past 37th St on the Northern boundary. The first iteration of Garden City was just about 100 acres total. According to land records, much of the land purchased for Garden City had once belonged to the Thomas Davis family, and had been used as farms, kept mostly by Chinese workers.2 At the time of the incorporation of Garden City, the Davis Meat Company occupied a facility within the new city’s limits.3
Gambling was outlawed in 1953 in Garden City, after the city lost a legal battle to L. F. Anderson, a local business owner, and today the city remains free from gambling.4 Through many annexations and much population growth, Garden city today boasts a population of just under 12,000 people and has an annual city budget of $7.1 million.5, 6
- Conn, D. J. Garden City History-1990 Volume I. (Garden City, ID: D. J. Conn, 1990). 25.
- 1920 Boise City Directory, (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co. Inc., 1920).
- 1912 Sanborn Insurance map-1949 reprint. (New York, NY: Sanborn Insurance Co. 1949), Sheet 23.
- Conn, DJ. 26.
- Google Public Data. Accessed 13 March, 2013. https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=place:1629620&dl=en&hl=en&q=garden%20city%20idaho%20population
- Garden City Budget 2013. (Garden City, ID: Garden City Treasurers Office, 2013), 1.