508 Julia Davis Dr. Boise, ID 83702-7694
11am - 4pm, Saturday & Sunday ONLY
(208) 433-0017
Payment Method
Free Admission - Donations Accepted

About the Museum

Nestled deep in Julia Davis Park is the Idaho Black History Museum. The museum is housed in a building of immeasurable importance to African American Boiseans and their history.

The building itself is the former St. Paul Baptist Church. Construction completed in 1921, and was a project completed by the African American community. The building remains as one of the oldest buildings built by African Americans in Boise.

In 1982, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. When the people of St. Paul Baptist Church raised funding for a new church, this building was moved to the present location in Julia Davis Park.

History of the Church

Reverend William Riley Hardy moved to Boise in 1904 in a "wave" of African American migration to the city. Shortly after his arrival, Rev. Hardy became the first pastor of the first African American church in Boise.

Until 1909, St. Paul Baptist Church met in the homes of African American parishioners. Once membership outgrew the homesteads of the church members, they began to hold worship services in an undesignated building at the corner of 6th & Main Streets in downtown Boise. From 1911 - 1917, the church met in a home in East Boise, before eventually moving into the rear room of Gottlieb Lach’s Blacksmith Shop at 306 South 8th Street in Boise.

1918 brought St. Paul Baptist Church to the GAR Hall behind the Capitol Building. At this time, Mrs. Narcisa Gestal donated a plot of land to the church after becoming aware of their instability. In 1921, a construction permit was granted to the church. Coincidentally, Rev. Hardy was a skilled carpenter and lead the construction of the building with the assistance of his congregation and other volunteers. St. Paul Baptist Church stood from that point in 1921 at 128 Broadway Ave.

In 1993, St. Paul Baptist Church had reached capacity, and was offered a new building on the corner of 14th & Bannock. On October 9, 1994, St. Paul Baptist Church moved into its new home located at 1316 Bannock, while the historic church underwent preservation efforts.

The Idaho Black History Museum was established in 1995, and called St. Paul Baptist Church its home in 1998 when the building was moved to Julia Davis Park in order to ensure its preservation and celebration as a significant part of Boise's history.