Saturday, July 3, 2010

Soy De Idaho

Magnet # 283:  Sites of Idaho

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Yep, we've got another statehood anniversary and today it's Idaho.  Interestingly enough, it achieved statehood on July 3 of 1890 almost 27 years to the date after they became a territory on July 4 of 1863.

The area that would become Idaho went unexplored by Western cultures until 1805 when Lewis and Clark arrived there, even though it was claimed by both the United States and Britain at that time.  That was back when it was considered part of the Oregon Country.  A British explorer later built a fur-trading post there and others soon followed.  Missionaries also traveled to the area, establishing a mission close to present-day Lewiston, and Mormons built there own settlements there.  By 1846, the United States had gained full control of the land.  When Oregon was admitted to the Union, the rest of the area that would become Idaho was part of the new Washington Territory.  And when gold was found in parts of the area, prospectors flooded into the area.  Within three years, the Idaho Territory had been created, but it included almost all of what would become Wyoming as well as areas that would go to Montana.  When the railroads reached the area, even more settlers were able to come, but their increased numbers alarmed the local Native American tribes, setting off fighting between the two parties.  Nonetheless, by 1889, the Idaho Territory was able to adopt a constitution and to join the Union as the 43rd state. 

While I've never been to Idaho, I had a very memorable Spanish teacher in college who was from that state and I remember he used to say "soy de Idaho" to us all the time.  Talk about a contradiction - he was a Mormon from Idaho who taught Spanish at a Methodist college in Alabama and played the bagpipes!  Yep, he was one of a kind, and I thought his name was pretty cool to boot - Dr. Rock.  He didn't say much about his homestate, but from what I can tell, it's a pretty remote state with plenty of mountains.  And there aren't many people there - it ranks 39th among all of the states as far as population goes.  So I guess it's a great place to be if you want to be alone in the wilderness.  The state is also a gemhound's dream as every type of gem we know of has been found there.  Even the star garnet and the six pointed star garnets have been unearthed there, and very few other places on Earth have these rare gems.  I'm not sure if it has any gems in it, but Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is supposed to be a pretty incredible place to see.  It's located in the central part of the state, and consists of lava fields, cinder cones, and deep fissures into the Earth.  Lava flows from many craters thousands of years ago transformed the area into a bizarre place that is about the closest we can get to the Moon on Earth - hence the name.  NASA even took advantage of the similarities, training its astronauts there.  Of course, meteorites, not volcanic activity, formed the Moon's craters. and when man reached the moon, we learned that the area was not as close to resembling it as was once thought.  But it still sounds like a pretty cool place to visit.  And on the border between Idaho and Oregon is another striking natural site - Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.  It was carved out by the Snake River which is now located sometimes as much as a 8,000 feet below the peaks of the canyon, most notably at Devil's Mountain.  It's the deepest gorge in the country and a very dramatic landscape.  And, of course, Idaho shares parts of the incredible Yellowstone National Park with Wyoming and Montana.  Overall, if you're looking for a thriving urban hotspot, this state might not be a great choice, but if you want to get away from crowds, soak in unusual natural landscapes and hunt for gems, Idaho sounds like a perfect destination.


  1. Magnets - SUCH a great idea for a blog! Seriously, this is pure genius - I'm going to be lurking and searching magnets here for days, it seems :)

    It's true that we aren't the most populous state, with regard to people, but that has left us with some amazing wilderness areas. Adrenaline seekers love us! The Salmon River, from the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and The Snake River, through Hells Canyon, let us run whitewater on rafts or jet boats all summer long. Big rapids and beautiful white beaches - there's nothing like it, I hope you get the chance to visit one day - the area is full of history from not only Lewis & Clark, but Chinese settlers, Native Americans and others.

    If you make it close to us here in Riggins, Idaho, please be sure to stop in to the office and say hello, we'd love to meet you!

    @RiverEscape in Idaho

  2. Thanks for the kind words - it always makes me happy when someone likes my blog.

    Sounds like you have a really cool state - I hope I can check it out one day, too. And I will definitely stop by and say hey - I don't suppose you have a gift shop nearby?