The Boise Bench neighborhood is probably one of the most well known neighborhoods within the city of Boise. The Bench is an umbrella for the 4 sub-neighborhoods it makes up- Central Bench, Central Bench South, Depot Bench and Depot Bench West.
Located south by southwest of Downtown Boise, and about 60 feet higher than downtown Boise, The Boise Bench offers an amazing view of the Boise Foothills and is a great family-friendly community right in the heart of Boise.
Everything that the Bench has to offer is a short commute away. Boise Bench residents may enjoy a peaceful bike ride with family and friends to soak up the beautiful nurturing presence within the city of trees just south of downtown Boise. Or a quick visit to Ann Morrison Park for a hike on the Greenbelt trail. The opportunity to get outdoors is one of the many pros of living in Boise.
Whatever your preference, Boise Bench accommodates every lifestyle. From the Bench’s numerous parks to the several entertainment venues there’s something for everyone in Boise Bench.
Related Post: Life In Southeast Boise
History of Boise Bench
In the Glossary of Landform and Geological Terms a bench is described as ”A platform-like, nearly level to gently inclined erosional surface developed on resistant strata in areas where valleys are cut in alternating strong and weak layers with an essentially horizontal attitude”. This would be an important feature for homesteaders looking to turn the area into farmland.
Before settlers moved to the area, this would be crucial to the migration of Native American tribes such as the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, who would stop in the area to rest and get supplies. The area would become popular in the 1860s with the discovery of gold in the valley. Before irrigation, the Boise Bench was largely desert.
It wasn’t until 1871 when William Morris dug a canal to divert water from the Boise River to his 17,000 acres of land. Agriculture is what largely settled the area of Boise Bench, without which the area could still have been desert today. When Morris died, his nephew, William Ridenbaugh, would continue and expand on his canal.
Homesteaders would settle here and grow crops of their own like wheat and some would have orchards to grow things like apples and cherries. You can find remnants of the farmsteading days at Spalding Ranch, the only historic district in Boise Bench. Here you will find one of the last testaments to the Bench’s agriculture days. This farmstead was started in 1896 and is the last of its kind.
Other things that brought more people to the area was, interestingly enough, the Morris Hill Cemetery. People would travel a long way on uneven roads, prompting the roads to be paved. Eventually the Hillcrest Trolley was implemented in 1913, further developing the area and providing more ease of access to the Bench.
The Trolley would lose precedence over years to automobiles, but Boise Bench would already become a more popular area, with neighborhoods like Franklin, Whitney and Rose Hill. With the construction of the Boise airport in 1938, located where Boise State University is now, as well as Gowen Field, in preparation for WWII, housing was built in the area of Boise Bench for housing of military personnel. Veterans returning from war would also need housing, so many homes were built in the Bench area for them and their families.
During the postwar economic boom, Boise Bench started building many commercial venues, particularly automobile sales, one of which was Vista Village, located in Depot Bench, which still stands today. Vista Village holds the title, according to an article in the Idaho Statesman, for being the first Strip Mall in America.
Other historical points of interest in Boise Bench are:
Boise Train Depot– Opening in 1925 and located Boise Bench West, the Boise Train Depot ran between Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois. Today the Boise Depot train station is a beautiful place to book a wedding reception, graduation party, senior photos or any gathering that you are in need of.
Randolph- Robertson Neighborhood- Located west of Central Bench, this neighborhood consists of houses built using a lovely mid century modern architectural style.
Life in Boise Bench
The Boise Bench is a family-friendly neighborhood with ease of access to multiple points of interest. You have a couple stores, including Fred Meyer and Albertsons all within walking distance. Several amazing parks like Franklin, Cassia and Terry Day are spread across the bench for anyone who is wanting to enjoy a nice refreshing day playing games with the kids or just reading a book in the shade.
There are several schools to choose from around the Boise Bench which include several public and private schools. Franklin, Monroe and Jefferson Elementary schools treat students with the respect and care they need and deserve to thrive, and put education and learning in a way so as to make the students succeed in a safe and accommodating space. Kootenai and Friends of Children and Families preschools offer a friendly and nurturing environment to help get kids ready for school. South Junior High School offers to further the education of children and offers summer courses to facilitate development.
Boise Bench is close enough to downtown Boise, much like the Collister Neighborhood is, so as to let residents take a short drive or bike ride to their work. Or they can visit nearby shops, breweries and restaurants downtown Boise has to offer. Parents can drop their kids off at school and be to their employer within only a few minutes.
Things to do in the Boise Bench
The Boise Bench offers a wide selection of entertainment from the HomeGrown Theater, to things like Escape this Boise which offers a challenging escape room experience. Rose Hill Yoga Wellness and Planet Fitness are ways within the Bench to stay in shape, and places like Magic Spa and Heidi Lane Esthetics are for all your personal healthcare and hygiene needs.
Boise City Library is a good place to go for a peaceful environment to get away from the quick city life and settle down to read a good book for a while and Boise Farmers Market is a good place to go get healthy foods for you and your family.
Boise Bench is also a good place to go to eat out. Some local favorites are
- Spitfire Pizza
- Push and Pour Coffee
- Blue Bench Brunchette
- Cucina di Paolo
Homes for Sale in Boise Bench
There are many different homes for sale across Central Bench, Central South Bench, Depot Bench and Depot West Bench. These homes are ranging from 390k to 1.6 million. These houses also feature a multitude of different styles and looks, from single story to two story, from small yard to large yard. Any style of home is here in Boise Bench.
Boise Bench At A Glance
Median Home Value: $579,900
Average Rent in Boise Bench Area: $1,950