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Book Takes Another Look at Boise

Boise Double Take Chronicles the City's History


Drive down Main Street and you'll spot a large white horse perched atop the Pioneer Tent Building. Both the sign and the building feel like they're plucked from an earlier era—a time of horse-drawn wagons, full skirts and dusty saloons. And that's because they are.

In 1900, Pioneer Tent and Awning Co. opened its doors at Fifth and Main streets. After a decade, the business expanded to a building on the northeast corner of Sixth and Main streets—a building that housed both minstrel shows and the first two sessions of the Territorial Legislature. Pioneer Tent operated out of the space until it closed in 1972. Now, after more than a century, the building teems with small businesses like Idaho Indie Made and Jenny's Lunch Line.

This is one of many nuggets of local history you'll find in Boise Double Take, Rich Binsacca's black-and-white photo-illustrated book. Binsacca, who served on the Ada County Historic Preservation Council, compiled photos from the Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives and positioned them next to modern shots of the same locations and included historical factoids. You'll find a snapshot of students reading in a Washington Elementary School classroom in 1931 and 2005, and a photo of the Egyptian Theatre all lit-up at twilight in 1937 and 2007 among many others.

Binsacca will sign copies of Boise Double Take Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1-4 p.m. at the Idaho State Historical Society Public Archives and Research Library.