We have a pretty cool campus. Close to downtown Boise, close to the river and close to the mountains; it’s no wonder thousands of people from all over the country (and the world!) come to tour where we call home, school, and work every year. But even if you’re on and around campus all the time, there are still some things you may not have known about this very special place of ours. We’ve dug up some fun facts you can use to wow your friends the next time you’re walking to class.
A history of flying to new heights
Believe it or not, the current site of Boise State was originally the first airport in the city of Boise. Back in 1926, the airport was constructed all the way from what is present day Capital Boulevard, to Broadway. This could very well explain why our campus may feel very long and flat (thankfully, with no hills to walk up on our way to class!). A carrier called Varney Airlines — which eventually morphed into present day United Airlines — began flying from the old airport just a few years later. Maybe next time you’re chatting with friends in the Quad, you can think about how folks used our campus as an airport runway almost a century ago.
(credit: City of Boise Department of Arts and History)
An ode to Idaho
You’ve probably gone to a show, seen a big-name comedian, or even an acting or theater class in the Morrison Center. What you may not have known, however, was that Harry W. Morrison was a co-founder of a Boise-based civil engineering company that helped construct some of America’s most iconic and ambitious landmarks, such as the Hoover Dam. Harry dreamed of building a performing arts center in his hometown, Boise. After he died in 1971, his wife Velma took it upon herself to carry on his ambitious legacy. She helped secure funding for the private-public partnership that helped construct the Velma V. Morrison Center as we know it today, which was completed in 1984. Oh, and did I mention the Morrison Center is literally shaped like the state of Idaho? Don’t believe me? Check out Google Maps.
Humble beginnings in the Administration Building
The first ever building constructed at Boise State is the present-day Administration Building. At the start, it contained all classrooms, libraries, staff offices, and the student union center. And if you’ve ever taken a photo in front of our famous metal “B” then you may have wondered why there’s no doors on the side facing University Drive. Well, that’s because what is currently Cesar Chavez Lane (the one-way street along the river), was originally intended to be the main road through campus. A large, horseshoe-shaped driveway once connected Cesar Chavez Lane to the Administration Building, which is why the main entrance faces the Quad. Think about how much our campus has grown in the last eighty years!
Bonus fact: No, Boise State never had a “Greek row”
Contrary to local myth and rumor that Boise State once had a Greek Row off Harrison Boulevard or in the Warm Springs neighborhood, there has never been — or currently exists — any sort of university-sponsored “Greek row” or designated housing for sorority and fraternity life. I even asked the official Boise State campus historian. We can safely put that legend to bed, folks.