Join Us in Celebrating 100 Years of Elm Grove Park!

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. Submit your story using this form. All contributors will be entered to win an original print by artist Wendy Blickenstaff. Thank you! 

What’s your Elm Grove Park story?

NOTE: By submitting your story here, you give NENA your permission to use your story online and in printed materials. Thank you!


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

SNOW Block Mural Unveiling Wednesday 8/5, 6-9pm

The SNOW Block Alley, named because of its location Slightly North of Washington school is unveiling its new mural by North End resident, and full time professional artist, Katherine Shaughnessy. 2020 marks the 5th anniversary for the alley between Lemp and Heron and 15th and 16th that transformed weeds, junk and a dusty road into a vertical, edible garden now lined with trellises, raised beds, and rain barrels; espaliered fruit trees, berries, and tomatoes. With people spending more time at home, the alley has been a welcome extension of backyards and offers the grounding feeling of community.

Sketch of the planned SNOW Block mural

“A mural was always part of the vision from the start for the alley-facing side of one of the garages. This structure sits right on the property line so these neighbors weren’t able to participate in the gardening aspect of the project,” says Linda Whittig, co-creator of the project with her husband, Devin Koski. “We are lucky to get Shaughnessy. As a muralist, she’s seen a dramatic decrease in commissioned pieces due to COVID which made her more accessible than she normally would have been for such a project.”

The balsamroot in the Boise foothills serves as inspiration for Shaughnessy’s design. “I think of my murals as wall paintings or drawings and the SNOW Block Alley mural is no different. I painted it with lots of detail and hope that seeing this bright yellow wildflower in a super large format helps the viewer to memorize its distinct characteristics so they can easily recognize it in the wild. And maybe even remember its name, Arrowleaf Balsam Root or Balsamorhiza sagittata,” says Shaughnessy.

The project is partially funded by a FINE grant from the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA). The community is also doing fundraising through Venmo (@Snow-block) to help offer financial support to the artist.

More about the project can be found at the SNOW Block’s webpage or on the SNOW Block’s Facebook page.

Unveiling is Wednesday 8/5, 6-8pm. COVID precautions: Please enter from the north end of the alley and exit through south end. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing standards.

Previously announced here

The SNOW Block Celebrates Five Year Anniversary with a Mural

This year marks the 5th anniversary for the alley between Lemp and Heron and 15th and 16th that transformed weeds, junk and a dusty road into a vertical, edible garden now lined with trellises, raised beds, and rain barrels; espaliered fruit trees, berries, and tomatoes. LED lights give the space a soft glow of an evening.

The alley, called the SNOW Block because of its location Slightly North of Washington school, is celebrating with a mural by North End resident, and full time professional artist, Katherine Shaughnessy.

Sketch of the planned SNOW Block mural

“A mural was always part of the vision from the start for the alley-facing side of one of the garages. This structure sits right on the property line so these neighbors weren’t able to participate in the gardening aspect of the project,” says Linda Whittig, the unofficial mayor of the alley and co-instigator along with her husband, Devin Koski. “We are lucky to get Shaughnessy. As a muralist, she’s seen a dramatic decrease in commissioned pieces due to COVID which made her more accessible than she normally would have been for such a project.”

The balsamroot in the Boise foothills serves as inspiration for Shaughnessy’s design. Another professional artist, and North Ender, Becka Watkins, who has also seen a drop in work due to the virus will be helping implement the production of the artwork as will Whittig, a graphic designer by trade.

The project is partially funded by a FINE grant from the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA). The community is also doing fundraising through Venmo (@Snow-block) to help offer financial support to Shaughnessy and Watkins.

The SNOW Block is much more than a garden. It transformed a block into a micro community where neighbors all know each other’s names and are often found chatting, wine in hand, filling the alley with the sounds of laughter while kids ride their bikes, play basketball and create chalk art. With people spending more time at home, the alley has been a welcome extension of backyards and offers the grounding feeling of a sense of place.

More about the project can be found at the SNOW Block’s webpage or on the SNOW Block’s Facebook page.

Speed Limit Lowered

A new, lower speed limit of 25 MPH has gone into effect on Harrison Boulevard and 15th Street, to help ensure the safety of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.

Boise Police Department has dedicated a mobile radar unit to increase awareness and has been seen making stops along these routes.

Please Sign this Petition for the North End Native Plant Preserve

Hi Neighbors,

Please Sign Our Petition (in Google Sheet)

We are requesting that the City of Boise acquire the undeveloped N 6th St. Right of Way (ROW) from Brumback/Boise Hills Dr. to Alturas (long strip indicated on photo).

This ROW was ceded by the City of Boise in 1971 to Ada County Highway District (ACHD). The requested ROW is adjacent to the North End Native Plant Preserve (blue square indicated on the photo) which is owned by the City of Boise.

Acquisition of this ROW through ACHD’s amicable vacation process would allow the City of Boise to provide permanent, public pedestrian access along this corridor. It would preserve the site of the bench (currently marked by prayer flags) for permanent public use and would significantly increase the size of the North End Native Plant Preserve.

We urge you to show your support of this effort by signing our Petition (in a Google Sheet)

Thanks! Anne and Alan Hausrath

P.S.:  Feel free to include children under 18 as “kid 1”, “kid 2”, etc.


PETITION FOR CITY OF BOISE TO ACQUIRE  6th ST RIGHT OF WAY

We the undersigned support the efforts of the City of Boise to acquire the undeveloped 6th st Right of Way between Alturas and Brumback/Boise Hills Drive for the purpose of securing pedestrian access to the North End Native Plant  Preserve.  The Reserve was donated by Alan and Anne Hausrath in 2015 and is owned and maintained by the City of Boise as a demonstration native plant garden.  Vacation of this Right of Way by ACHD will allow Boise City to work in partnership with the community to allow for improved access to the reserve. It also will assure permanent, public preservation of and access to this strip of land for current and future generations.

View and Sign our Petition (in a Google Sheet)