Throughout Boise’s history, bridges over the Boise River have always been a way to connect one side of town to the other. These six bridges have each contributed to the expansion of Boise and have provided an easier way to see everything the city has to offer.
Along with the functional uses of the bridges, they also provide Boise with their many different forms. Joe Keller, the designer of both the East and the West Park center Bridges, says his aesthetics “play a big role in designing a bridge but is not the driving force.” Funds from the companies that need the bridges are not available to put an artistic touch to the design
Historian Barbara Bauer says, “Function and art have to work together for people to identify with the bridges.” With her opinion on protecting the style of Boise, Bauer also had much to say about the history of the bridges.
Before any bridges were built over the Boise River, the residents of the small town had to take a ferry to get across. This process was very lengthy so people did not make the travel very often. When the Ninth Street Pike Bridge, originally a railroad bridge and has now been converted for the use of pedestrians, was built, it helped speed up the journey over the river but it was still difficult to travel easily.
It was not until the completion of the Broadway Bridge did the trip across the river become a normal activity among the citizens. The Broadway Bridge also started the production of neighborhoods on the South side of the river because it was much easier to travel from Downtown with the needed supplies.
Through this production, these six bridges have been explored from top to bottom to appreciate the true beauty and character they bring to the continual growing city. (PHOTOS BY KIM ELLSWORTH and Focus 208)