Wilford Daniel Jensen, and his wife, Pearl, emigrated to Idaho in the late 1920s from Indiana via Alberta, Canada. The Jensens and their two young children, Ruth and Norvan, arrived in Ada County after a cross country journey in a Model T Ford. During the 1930s, the Jensens purchased acreage on Lake Hazel Road in Ada County and began a family farm. Water from a local irrigation canal allowed the Jensens to grow alfalfa, hay, and grain as well as raise chickens, dairy cows, pigs, and ducks. After Wilford Jensen passed away in 1940, Pearl operated the farm with the help of her son, Norvan. Pearl passed away in 1961. Norvan and his wife opened the Meridian Recreation Center in the 1960s and operated the facility until the 1980s. During this era, Norvan began leasing their farmland.
In 2020 multiple buildings still stood on the property including the main farmhouse built in 1945, a smaller, two-room residence lived in by the Jensens when they originally purchased the property in the 1930s, a root cellar, and multiple outbuildings that fulfilled a variety of functions from storage sheds to barns for housing animals. The farm buildings were constructed of easily accessible materials with their ultimate use in mind. The vernacular architecture of the farmhouse and outbuildings provides a snapshot of an early to mid-twentieth century family farm in the Boise Valley.
The Jensens began farming the property with the use of horse-drawn machinery and continued to embrace long-established methods of farming as the twentieth century progressed. Electricity reached the farm circa 1940 which allowed for the mechanization of some operations, such as the use of an electric milking machine.
In 2000, the roughly 66-acre Jensen Farm was sold to the City of Boise. The currently undeveloped site is slated for future development as a community park named after Pearl Jensen.
Brunt, Jonathan. “Meridian 100.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID), July 21, 2003: Local 01. NewsBank.
City of Boise. “Park Sites.” City of Boise. https://www.
.Lafferty, Shannon. “Land sold to city for pearl of a park.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID), April 20, 2000: Local 1B.
Milne, Stephanie. [Pearl Jensen Community Park Project Proposal prepared for Boise City Department of Parks and Recreation], March 15, 2012.
“Recreation Center Opens in Meridian.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID), July 31, 1966: 37. NewsBank.
Photos courtesy of City Archives, City of Boise Arts and History Department.