150 Boise Icons: Platt Gardens

awebb@idahostatesman.comFebruary 16, 2013 

Did you know? Platt Gardens were named for Howard V. Platt, general manager of the Oregon Short Line. Platt first proposed that Union Pacific partner with the city to build a park north of the depot.

STATESMAN FILE PHOTO

City leaders dedicated the seven-acre Platt Gardens on the slope below the Boise Depot in the summer of 1927. That was two years after the depot opened to great fanfare.

Spanish landscape architect Ricardo Espino, who practiced in Los Angeles, designed the gardens. Original elements included winding pathways, a rock grotto, koi ponds and the panoramic view of the Valley and Foothills. In the years that passenger trains came through Boise, the gardens were a popular picnic spot.

They've always been a prime destination for photographs, and continue to be, for everything from weddings to quinceaneras. Dan Everhart, Preservation Idaho spokesman, said his grandmother posed for her 1946 Boise High class photo at the Platt grotto.

The gardens have an interesting past. Initially, the Oregon Short Line Railway, a subsidiary of Union Pacific, bypassed Boise and laid tracks south of the city. Boiseans wanted to entice the railway to lay a spur line to town, so they bought land on the Boise Bench to be used as a railroad right-of-way. The enticement worked. Union Pacific built the spur. The city sold the leftover land, with the exception of what became Platt Gardens.

The city renovated the gardens in 2000 as a Legacy project, "restoring the now overgrown and deteriorating gardens to their original beauty," according to a 2000 press release.- 2602 Eastover Terrace.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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