Elm Grove Park: Winning Stories

To celebrate our first 100 years in Elm Grove Park, we invited your stories. We chose three authors to receive a print (bottom of page) from neighborhood artist Wendy Blickenstaff.

Letter to Elm Grove Park

By Alex Tyree, 4th Grade

Hi I have lived here my whole life and so far it’s been super fun. I’ve made so many friends from the park. I’ve been at the park so much we started calling it our park. During covid we started having a pod so for recess we play a game called berry war. Well that’s all i have to say so have a great rest of your day!

Elm Grove Elegy
By Carolyn Waggoner

Relaxing under shady giants to escape summer's scorch
Strolling proudly with newborn sons
Celebrating milestone birthdays
Hunting for hidden Easter eggs
Collecting acorns and horse chestnuts and colorful leaves
Chasing elusive butterflies and runaway dogs
Playing Frisbee and soccer 'til little legs crumple
Picnicking with playful uncles and wandering toddlers
Exercising energetic puppies; then geriatric amblers
Swinging giggling grandkids
Meeting old friends and new
Contemplating life's joys – and griefs too
Remembering 45 years fondly

Pivot Movement

by Ali Landers

Elm Grove means joy, a respite from chaos and a sanctuary to carry on. I run a small business providing adaptive & inclusive dance and yoga. When COVID hit it was devastating for my business and for my students.

We lost over half of our participants when I decided to move classes to Elm Grove after the challenges of Zoom. Many of my students have compromised health, so going outside to class was not an option, and sadly, Zoom is not an ideal accessible way to engage with my students. It has been a hurdle that we are still not over yet. And, in spite of all the hardships and transitions, Elm Grove was a wonderful place for us to meet safely, with plenty of room to spread our wings and dance.

Elm Grove has a tender place in all my students’ hearts. It gave them a way to have class outside all summer and see their beloved friends and interact in person. To enjoy company and get back to their love of yoga and dance.  Elm Grove was a lifesaver and that is why Elm Grove means so much to me and my students. We love Elm Grove Park!

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.

Winning Stories

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