15 Fun Facts About Idaho

Did you know that the state flag of Idaho is the only state flag (in the 50 states) that was designed by a woman? Or that the state capital building is heated by geothermal springs? Curious about the Gem State and all its hidden secrets? Then take a look below and learn 15 fun facts about Idaho.

1. Esto Perpetua, State Flag, Boise, ID

In 1907, the state of Idaho officially adopted Miss Emma Edwards Green’s depiction of the mountain state with its state flag. Culling native Idahoan resources, Miss Green included a miner, lady justice (complete with scales of freedom), an elk head, a fir tree, cornucopias and other uniquely Idahoan features. Tempered with the phrase, “Esto Perpetua” (may it endure forever), she was able to capture the heart and essence of the Gem State. 

2. Gem State indeed!

With over 72 varieties of rare and precious gems and minerals, rock hounds the world over are drawn to Idaho’s untamed treasure trove. Included among these stones is the Star Garnet, only found in Idaho and India, this rare four or six- pointed crystalline star is surrounded by a striking plum or violet colored stone.

3. Television inventor

Legend has it that a young Rigby Idaho man by the name of Phil Farnsworth was out tilling the family field and was struck by an incredible idea: Using the rows of soil as inspiration, he conceived a way to capture real-time images using air-waves. A true scientific pioneer, Mr. Farnsworth was a man way ahead of his time. Maybe we can ultimately blame him for the Kardashian craze.

4. Idaho giant salamander

Known for its larger size, this native-grown amphibian tends to shy away from its celebrity status. Growing up to lengths of 33 centimeters, this timid creature is likely to be found in the cooler, wetter climes of north-central Idaho.

5. Idaho Public Land

Sixty-three percent of Idaho is deemed public land, meaning that we (citizens and non-citizens alike) can enjoy this untrodden landscape without treading on privately-owned parcels. 

6. Commercial trout industry

Hagerman Idaho provides nearly 70 percent of the nation’s Rainbow Trout consumption. The trout hatchery in southwestern Idaho is known the world over as a main supplier of commercial trout. Think about that the next time you sit down at a fancy restaurant in faraway New York City.

7. Bruneau Sand Dunes, Bruneau, ID

Sand dunes in Idaho? That’s right! Idaho is a uniquely geographic area that encompasses spectacular mountain ridges, free-flowing rivers, volcanic lands and yes, sand dunes. Located near the corner of southwest Idaho, spend a day with the family sand-sledding or traipsing up and down these sloping dunes. 

8. First alpine chairlift

Back in 1936, for a mere quarter, you could try out this new-fangled alpine transportation system and find yourself at the top of Dollar Mountain. Soon replicated around the globe, Sun Valley still has bragging rights to this mode of transportation.

9. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, ID

Did you know that Shoshone Falls in Idaho is LONGER than Niagara Falls? It’s true and it is also an area filled with spectacular displays of natural beauty.

10. Atomic energy

In 1955, Arc, Idaho, grabbed the dubious distinction of being the first American city fueled by atomic energy. Of course, there are more than nuclear-powered homes that makes this city one of Idaho’s most unusual. Nearby Craters of the Moon is also a venture into Idaho’s unique and unexpected tourist sites.

11. Potato state of Idaho

When one thinks of your typical russet potato, the state of Idaho might not be too far behind it. Harvesting nearly 1/3 of the nation’s potatoes, Idaho Russets are certainly well-known. Chock full of vitamins and minerals, one could possibly live on potatoes alone.

12. Capital City, Boise, ID

With over 600,000 residents, Boise citizens are a proud and formidable lot. With the largest population in the state, Boise maintains a balance of industry, natural resources and home town appeal despite recent growing pains. Stealing the coveted “capital” title from Lewiston back in the 1860s, Boise has retained its industrious and welcoming charm, of course, Lewiston has never forgiven this former “mining” enclave for taking this distinction from them, however, Boise has definitely lived up to its promising roots.

13. Be my huckleberry?

The official fruit of Idaho, huckleberries are a bit of a coveted bounty. Sprouting out amongst the rugged brush and carefully hidden in the mountain terrain only dedicated gatherers venture out to pick their fill. True Idahoans maintain a well-respected and sworn secrecy as to the location of their favorite huckleberry spot so random berry harvesters—beware!

14. Landlocked seaport?

Surrounded by Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Canada, you would hardly expect to find a Navy seaport, but that is exactly what resides in Bayview, Idaho. Using the waters of nearby Lake Pend Oreille, the Navy has been testing their line of submarines for years.

15. Blue turf at Boise State University

The only college football field to own this coveted distinction Boise State University is known for its blue turf. The BSU Broncos have put themselves on the college turf circuit with this unusual hue all the while gaining national recognition for their competitive spirit and athletic prowess. 

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