Video Captures Boise's 1988 Urban Renewal


Boise's Eighth and Main Tower during construction. - PATRICK SWEENEY
  • Patrick Sweeney
  • Boise's Eighth and Main Tower during construction.

In the last few years, Boise's urban core has experienced some breathtaking changes. The City of Trees filled the infamous Boise Hole with the Eighth and Main Tower and the streetcar idea has been revitalized, this time with a more dynamic euphemism: "circulator." Let's not forget about the Clearwater Analytics-Gardner Company team-up to build the City Center Plaza

It's all part of a long-term plan to turn Boise into a 21st century city with a distinctive urban skyline and modern amenities that began to take effect Boise in the mid-1980s. In a YouTube video submitted by user Robert Eller, you can see the some of the capital's first steps toward urban renewal in 1988. 

The video shows Boise looking less than dapper, with what is now the Boise Centre ingloriously serving as a parking lot, now-hip mid-century shopfronts in bad need of refurbishment and sidewalks more reminiscent of a war zone than a state capital. 

There are a few familiar sights—The Record Exchange, the First Interstate Building—but the takeaway isn't what's the same in Boise: It's what has changed.