polo outlet nj First Idaho Intermountain Fair held in 1897
When the first Idaho Intermountain Fair was held, way back in the fall of 1897, Boise was a surprisingly modern and progressive city. Although the nearest larger cities were more than 300 miles away (Salt Lake City, Portland and Spokane), the capital’s geographic isolation had not prevented it from securing the latest civic improvements. Boise got telephone service in 1879, electric lights and a railway line in 1887, electric streetcars in 1891 and a sewer system in 1892. The paving of Downtown streets was begun in June 1897, and the first paved city blocks were dedicated during fair week that October.
Boiseans had money to spend on entertainment in 1897 and a wide range of choices. Thomas A. Edison’s motion pictures were shown in the city, and traveling companies brought live theatrical performances to Peter Sonna’s Opera House and James Pinney’s Columbia Theatre on a regular basis. Some big names starred in these touring companies. The Natatorium, built east of the city on Warm Springs Road five years earlier by the developers of the city’s geothermal springs, featured a 125 foot swimming pool, Turkish baths, a tea room for ladies, a saloon for men, and a dance floor where traveling orchestras provided weekly entertainment. An amusement park featured balloon ascensions, parachute jumps from an elevated platform and high wire performers. The new streetcar line got you there for a nickel.