150 Boise Icons: Bonneville Point

awebb@idahostatesman.comApril 20, 2013 

0422 local icon bonneville.JPG

Did you know? The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, Bonneville County in Idaho and the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River are named for Benjamin Bonneville, the man who named Boise.

ANNA WEBB — awebb@idahostatesman.com

While technically not in Boise, Bonneville Point is in a way the ultimate Boise icon.

As the story goes, a hunting party led by explorer Benjamin Bonneville arrived at this spot on a desert bluff east of Boise in 1833.

The travelers saw the green, cottonwood-filled valley before them after their long trek through the sagebrush and delighted, "The woods, the woods!" in French.

As most Boise elementary students learn, "les bois" morphed into "Boise."

Washington Irving, familiar as the author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," wrote "The Adventures of Captain Bonneville" in 1837.

Irving included Bonneville's thoughts about the Boise area. "The country about the Boisee (or Woody) River is extolled by Captain Bonneville as the most enchanting he had seen in the Far West, presenting the mingled grandeur and beauty of mountain and plain, of bright running streams and vast grassy meadows waiving to the breeze."

Bonneville crossed Idaho several times along an old Indian trail that became the Oregon Trail through the Boise Valley.

Today, Bonneville Point is a small park with interpretive panels and walking trails along the former wagon ruts.

To get to Bonneville Point, drive east on Interstate 84 to the Blacks Creek exit. Take a left and drive north, watch for signs to Bonneville Point.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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