Historical Maps

Historical Maps Illustrate River Street’s Development

Historical maps obtained from the Idaho State Historical Society show the evolution of the River Street Neighborhood. Although the Boise River was constrained early in the twentieth century, development along the riverbank did not occur until the 1970s. The City has always had a strong desire to see this place grow (Check out these historical Newspaper articles on River Street’s development).



The initial platting of the River Street Neighborhood occurred during the late nineteenth century, in anticipation of the arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. Prior to that, what would become the neighborhood was part of a number of land patents including that of John McClellan who platted the Riverside Addition in 1890.

John McClellan owned land in what would become the River Street Neighborhood in the late nineteenth century

John McClellan’s Cabin, Boise, Idaho (n.d.)


McClellan’s Riverside Addition led the way for additional plats, including Miller’s Addition (1890) and the City Park Addition (1890s). The River Street Neighborhood was ready for development by 1900.


River Street in the Scope of Boise’s Growth

The River Street Neighborhood is only a small portion of Boise, Idaho. Generous permissions granted by the Idaho State Historical Society Archives has allowed the collection of a range of Historical Boise, Idaho maps that show the overall growth of the town. (NOTE: The digital files for these maps had to be greatly shrunk in order to upload them to this website. You can contact the archives if you’d like full-size, high-quality scans of these maps.)


As is the story with all cities, the evolution of Boise and the River Street Neighborhood is documented in the historical maps that chronicle this change. River Street has been characterized by the location of the Boise River and the development whims of the Boise City government. Despite the fact that this place has been slated for industrial development, River Street remained home to hundreds of Boiseans since the 1890s– the South Side of the Tracks Kids.


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