Oh Idaho, the state we all know and love. The place we call home. We all know the fantastic landmarks in Boise from the Capitol Building to the Train Depot, but how many amazing stories about our beautiful state’s history do you know?
These fun facts come from the self-published book produced in Idaho, A While Ago in Idaho. Filled with colorful artwork illustrating some lesser-known, strange history, the book series follows tour guide “Belmont Beaver” as they learn some new facts about Idaho.
Created by twice received “Best of Boise” visual artist Kelly Knopp and passionate historian Amber Beierle, this book series will educate and encourage exploring the great state of Idaho and its history. You can pick up a version today around the valley or order online.
Here are 5 Fun Facts about Idaho:
1. Ever wonder why it’s called Redfish Lake?
In 1992, only one Sockeye Salmon survived the 800-mile journey to Redfish Lake from the Pacific Ocean to lay its eggs. Sockeye swim to the ocean to live and return to their birthplace to lay eggs. Redfish Lake used to be so full of these fish it appeared red.
2. Payette Might’ve Had its Own Loch Ness Monster.
Originally called Slimy Slim, at least 50 people sighted a “monster” in Payette Lake between 1920 and 1954. A national contest by the local paper provided the name “Sharlie” to the mystical creature. Payette Lake is 292 feet at its deepest, and trout planted there in the 1950s can weigh up to 30 pounds. The question remains; is Shirlie real?
3. The Only University with a Blue Field
In 1986, Boise State University’s Gene Bleymaker came up with the idea to cover the football field with blue turf. Today, if anyone wants to make their field any other color than green, they must ask Boise State University for permission.
4. UFO Sightings in Idaho?
From 2019-2020 Idaho claimed the most UFO (unidentified flying object) sightings per capita in the United States. One of the most notable sightings occurred on July 4, 1947, when a United Airlines crew claimed they saw several UFO’s new Emmett.
5. Who is the Bluebird Man?
Known to many as the “Bluebird Man,” Al Larson helped revive the Western and Mountain Bluebird population in southern Idaho. Concerned about their decreasing numbers, Al made over 330 bird boxes where nearly 32,000 birds hatched. He personally placed identification bands on over 31,000 baby bluebirds. The Bluebird Man acted as a citizen scientist, helping Idaho’s state bird thrive. Even at 98 years old, Al continues to record and report his observations to learn more about bluebirds and environmental factors affecting them.
6. A Bonus Fun Fact!
In 1936 the Union Pacific Railroad built the world’s first chairlift to transport skiers up the slopes. The lift opened at Proctor Mountain in Sun Valley, which at that time was owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. Sun Valley is home to many Olympic athletes, including the gold medalist Picabo Street, a former World Cup alpine ski racer.
Owners, Kelly & Amber not only make these educational products more accessible by providing discounted classroom and homeschool sets as well as school visits when safety allows, they will be donating 10 books to Idaho elementary schools for every 100 books sold!
You can purchase your very own book, activity map and sticker set, or the whole A While Ago in Idaho Gift Package by visiting their website.
A While Ago in Idaho Website