What does Elm Grove Park mean to you? Share your story & win!
Whether you grew up playing in the park 70 years ago or you practiced Tai Chi there yesterday, we want to hear how Elm Grove Park has been a part of your North End experience.
Elm Grove Park History
Developed by WE Pierce & Co. in 1915, the shady tract of land on Irene Street, between 22nd and 24th Streets, was bisected by an irrigation flume running open through the park. The water was eventually covered by a paved path now used for walking, cycling, skateboarding, and crossing the neighborhood. The park also includes a playground, swings, picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball hoops, and a baseball backstop.
The Elm Grove Park neighborhood has evolved over time from ranch land to a suburban neighborhood, with many notable Boiseans involved in its growth.
In 1876, George D. Ellis – a pioneer freighter, rancher, and banker – bought 300 acres outside the boundary of Boise and established a farm called “Centennial Ranch.” George and his wife, Telitha, lived on the large ranch where they boarded horses and grew hay and oats.
By the turn of the 20th century, the city of Boise was growing away from the downtown core and expanding north and west. Ellis sold 155 acres of his prime ranch land in 1906 to WE Pierce & Co. for $125,000.
The area was transitioning from a farm to a type of neighborhood known as “streetcar suburbs” built near new trolley lines. Sidewalks, easy access to the trolley, and lines of mature trees made this part of Boise desirable to home buyers.
One of the other amenities in the neighborhood was the new Elm Grove Park. WE Pierce & Co. installed toilets, swings, benches, and a fence. On July 5, 1915, the Women’s Relief Corps of the G.A.R formally opened the park with a celebratory picnic.
It would be another five years before the park was sold to the city, in 1920. The shady piece of land quickly became a gathering spot for children, social clubs, and neighborhood residents. A century later, it remains a neighborhood treasure.
By Barbara Perry Bauer, TAG Historical Research