When the City of Boise announced the recipients of the most recent round of Neighborhood Reinvestment grants, David Klinger and Andy Brunelle learned that their neighborhood associations in the North and East Ends were among the recipients. The groups will share a $15,000 “Arts and History/Placemaking” grant. Their project, set for completion in 2017, will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to Boise in 1937. The plan is to create one or more markers or displays in Downtown Boise or in the neighborhoods FDR toured on that notable day in 1937.
Klinger and Brunelle have secured three photographs taken during the visit from Roosevelt’s Presidential Library and Archives in Hyde Park, New York. But finding more photos from the visit has been challenging, said Klinger. He and Brunelle are turning to the public for help. They’re hoping that someone has photos from the visit tucked into their family photo albums and collections that they would be willing to let Klinger and Brunelle copy for the project.
“We still believe there may be a significant number of snapshots ,” said Klinger. “Having access to as much of that material as possible will help us design a much better commemorative exhibit when we celebrate in 2017.”
So, if you have photos or other keepsakes or memorabilia from the visit, email Klinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roosevelt, Klinger said, did not have a political agenda in the City of Trees, though the celebrated senator, William Borah, introduced the president before his speech from the back seat of his roadster at 7th and Bannock Streets. Rather, accompanied by his wife Eleanor, he spent the morning taking in Boise’s neighborhoods, its trees, its streets, the estimated 15,000 residents who crowded the motorcade route to see him.
The president’s brief speech, which Klinger believes was entirely extemporaneous, was a “love letter” to the city, Klinger said.
After touring Boise, Roosevelt’s motorcade continued on to agricultural areas outside the city, then on to Oregon to dedicate Bonneville Dam and Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
For anyone who wants to delve more deeply into the history of FDR, Klinger recommends “Rightful Heritage,” a new biography by Douglas Brinkley. Brinkley recently spoke in Twin Falls at an event hosted by the Idaho Humanities Council.