Ann Morrison, wife of Morrison Knudsen Co. founder Harry Morrison, died in 1957. Morrison decided to build a grand park in her honor.
The Boise School District had optioned land between Capitol and Americana boulevards to build a new high school. But when the school bond election failed, Morrison quietly bought the 100-acre parcel - and more - to create the 153-acre park.
Morrison wanted the park built quickly. He turned the project over to veteran MK project managers. They brought heavy equipment to Boise from MK's Brownlee Dam project.
A note on MK: The global Boise-born engineering and construction corporation later became Washington Group International and, more recently, a part of URS.
Crews trucked in 15,000 yards of topsoil from the Mountain Home desert. The community donated to the project, including trees, flagpoles and other amenities. Ann Morrison's family donated the modern clock tower, evocative of midcentury design.
The park opened to the public in 1959, a mere 10 months after construction started.
One snag: Harry Morrison didn't care for the original bronze image of Ann on a memorial plaque designed for the park. He hired New York City sculptor Anthony De Francisci to make a new one in 1962. De Francisci was known for designing the Peace Dollar for the U.S. Mint. Morrison was apparently pleased with the way De Francisci portrayed Ann. Crews installed the replacement portrait in the park on Feb. 23, 1963, Harry's 78th birthday.
1000 N. Americana Blvd.
Anna Webb: 377-6431