The Library’s own Jim Duran is the proud author of a local neighborhood history titled Central Bench History. This 55 page book is free to the public, copies will be made available at Central Bench events and the Department of Arts and History in Boise City Hall. And on Wednesday, October 19, 7 pm (doors at 6) at the Idaho State Archives, join local historians Jim Duran, Barbara Perry Bauer, and Angie Davis for a panel presentation of their work conducting historical research on the Boise Bench.
About the book:
The central bench can trace its roots all the way back to the 1870s when farmers redirected part of the Boise River up the plateau and started irrigating the sagebrush desert. Those farmers picked the corner of what is now called Franklin and Orchard streets to be the center of a new community called Franklin. By the 1920s this community included a school house, churches, trolley stop, and a network of corner markets to sell local dairy products and produce from the orchards.
This small community was eventually annexed into the city limits of Boise, and the central bench played an important role in the transformation of Boise’s rural outskirts into a suburban neighborhood through strip malls and tract housing that the Baby Boomer generation called home. Throughout the history of the central bench are stories of entrepreneurs, immigrants, and community leaders that found space on the bench to build for themselves a future.