Can you spot each of these Idaho-centric items in this mural created by local artist, Zach VanEvery? “The 43” celebrates the 43rd state in the union with just a few of the unique and unusual things that make our state (and our town) great!
Western White Pine Trees
The majestic western white pine (Pinus Monticola pinaceae) was designated the official state tree of Idaho in 1935. The largest and best western white pine forests can be found in northern Idaho in the Coeur d’Alene and Bitterroot Mountains (the tree is often called the soft Idaho white pine or just the Idaho white pine).
The lovely mountain bluebird was designated the official state bird of Idaho in 1931 (the mountain bluebird is also the state bird of Nevada).
Syringa was designated the official state flower of Idaho in 1931. Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii) is a woody shrub with clusters of white, fragrant flowers (sometimes called mock orange) that grows up to 10 feet tall. The species name (lewisii) honors Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis & Clark expedition), who wrote about the plant in his journal.
Native Americans found many uses for syringa; the wood was used to make pipe stems, harpoon shafts, bows, arrows, root digging sticks, and snowshoes. The bark and leaves of syringa were used to make a soap.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (August 19, 1906 – March 11, 1971) was an American inventor and television pioneer. While he was born in Utah, he spent many of his teenage years in Rigby, Idaho, where he first conceived of and sketched plans for the invention of the television. He made many crucial contributions to the early development of the all-electronic television. He is best known for his 1927 invention of the first fully functional all-electronic image pickup device, the image dissector, as well as the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. Farnsworth developed a television system complete with receiver and camera—which he produced commercially through the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation from 1938 to 1951, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 American comedy film, written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and directed by Jared Hess. The film stars Jon Heder in the role of the title character, a high school student who deals with several dilemmas: befriending an immigrant who wants to be class president, awkwardly pursuing a romance with a fellow student, and living with his quirky family.
The movie was filmed in and near Franklin County, Idaho (Preston), in the summer of 2003. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004. Most of the situations in the movie are loosely based on the life of Jared Hess. The film's total worldwide gross revenue was $46,122,713. The film has since developed a cult following and was voted at number 14 on Bravo's 100 funniest movies.
William Mark "Bill" Fagerbakke is an American actor. He voices Patrick Star in the animated series Spongebob Squarepants and played Michael "Dauber" Dybinski on the sitcom Coach. He also appeared in 12 episodes of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Fagerbakke was born on October 4, 1957 in California, and moved to Rupert, Idaho, as a youth. He graduated from Minico High School in Rupert in 1975, where he was a three-sport athlete for the Spartans in football, basketball, and track.
The I. B. Perrine Bridge is a four-lane truss arch span located in Twin Falls, Idaho. The Perrine Bridge is approximately 1,500 feet (457 m) in total length, with a main span of 993 feet (303 m) and a deck height of 486 feet (148 m) above the Snake River. It is the eighth highest bridge in the United States.
The bridge is named for I.B. Perrine (1861–1943), who spearheaded the early 20th century irrigation projects in the Magic Valley region and is largely credited as the main founder of Twin Falls; a statue of Perrine is at the visitors' center at the south end of the bridge.
The Perrine Bridge is a popular BASE jumping site known all over the world; it may be the only man-made structure in the United States where BASE jumping is allowed year-round without a permit. Jumpers often use the nearby visitor center as a home base before and after parachuting from the bridge.
Hagerman Horse Skull
The Hagerman horse fossil was designated the official state fossil of Idaho in 1988. 3.5 million year old sediments at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho contain the world's richest known fossil deposits from the late Pliocene epoch (200 horse skeletons have been recovered at the Hagerman Fossil Beds, 20 of which are complete).
The Hagerman horse (Equus simplicidens) is the oldest known representative of the modern horse genus Equus (which includes horses, donkeys, and zebras) and is believed to be more closely related to the living Grevy's zebra in Africa than our modern horse.
The huckleberry was designated the official state fruit of Idaho in 2000 (fourth-grade students from Southside Elementary School in Bonner County proposed adopting the huckleberry as Idaho's state fruit).
Several species of huckleberry are native to Idaho (all belonging to genus Vaccinium, section Myrtillus). The most common and popular is the black or thin-leaved huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum). Black huckleberries usually grow from 1 to 6 feet tall (taking up to 15 years to reach full maturity) with berries up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Black huckleberries produce single plump, dark purple berries in the axils of leaves on new shoots.
The star garnet was designated the official state stone or gem of Idaho in 1967. More precious than either star rubies or star sapphires, the Idaho garnet is usually dark purple or plum in color, with four rays in the star (occasionally the star has six rays, as in a sapphire).
The mountains of Idaho contain veins of gold, silver, lead, zinc, cobalt, copper, and many other rare minerals - among these rare minerals are gems like the star garnet, jasper, opal, jade, topaz, zircon, and tourmaline.This is why Idaho’s nickname is "The Gem State."
Idaho Potato Guy
The potato was designated the official state vegetable of Idaho in 2002.
Idaho's rich volcanic soil, water from melting snow in nearby mountains, clean air, sunny days, and cool nights all combine to produce consistently high-quality potatoes that have made Idaho famous worldwide. Americans love potatoes; the average individual consumes about 140 pounds of potatoes per year in fresh and processed forms.
Potatoes are extremely versatile in cooking and are served in many forms including mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, boiled or steamed potatoes, French-fried potatoes, potato chips, scalloped potatoes, fried potatoes, home fries, hash browns, potato pancakes, and potato bread.
Rupert City Water Tower
On April 10, 1913, the City of Rupert completed this second deep well, one block north of the town square, to supply the water needs of the rapidly growing city. The 8-inch well was cased to bedrock, at 102 feet and had 45 feet of water at a depth of 105 feet. This 35 ft. x 35 ft. x 140-foot high, riveted steel, water tower was constructed over the well by the DesMoines Iron Bridge Company, at a cost of $3,000. The Fairbanks-Morse Company supplied the pumps for $1,548. The 42,000 gallon circular tank has a half-sphere bottom and a conical roof, with a 10-inch pipe connecting the bottom of the tank to the City Water Department building below.
According to an October 23, 1913 journal entry, “The work of wiring the water tower for lights on top of the tower was begun Monday. The funds for this purpose were raised by subscription among the business houses of the city and the juice (electricity) will be paid for by the town. There will be two lights and they will aid very materially in lighting the city, as well as calling attention to the town at night.”
A former mayor’s favorite expression, when he left town was, “Don’t let anybody blow up the water tower.” Then in 1987, the southwest leg was completely severed by a vandal’s bomb. The tank was rapidly drained and, fortunately, the three-legged tower did not fall. It was quickly repaired and restored to operation. Shortly afterward, the chain-link fence was placed around the tower. The structure is a contributing component of the Historic District of Rupert.
The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central Idaho reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompasses an area of 678 square miles. There are 57 peaks with an elevation over 10,000 feet in the Sawtooth Range, all between 10,000 to 10,751 feet in elevation.
The Sawtooth Range and Wilderness are home to nearly 400 lakes created by receding alpine glaciers. Not surprisingly, this striking mountain landscape was a favorite playground of Ernest Hemingway, who is buried in the Ketchum area.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Sawtooth NRA) consists of 756,000 acres of scenic mountain country and includes over 700 miles of trails, 40 peaks rising over 10,000 feet and more than 300 high mountain lakes that add to the spectacular scenery and vistas. Outdoor recreational pursuits include camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating and canoeing, rafting, observing nature, photography and bicycling.
Idaho farmers raise about 170,000 acres of sugar beets per year. Idaho ranks only behind Minnesota for total sugar beet production. An estimated 60% of all sugar produced in the US comes from sugar beets.
Prior to the arrival of European and Mexican explorers, roughly 8,000 American Indians, representing two distinct groups, inhabited Idaho: the Great Basin Shoshone and Bannock tribes of the Shoshone-Bannock, the Shoshone Paiute and the Plateau tribes of the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Kootenai.
Today, Idaho's American Indian heritage, their tribes and chiefs are reflected in county names like Nez Perce, Benewah, Shoshone, Bannock and Kootenai counties and the communities of Shoshone, Pocatello, Blackfoot, Nezperce, White Bird, Kamiah, Lapwai, Weippe, Kooskia, Picabo and Tendoy.
Two of the nation’s fastest growing cities are in Idaho. Meridian clocks in at number 3, and Nampa at number 10. Relatively cheap housing, a flourishing tech sector, friendly tax laws, and low crime make Idaho an easy choice for those looking to find a quieter, more affordable way of life.
Ticket (Historic Wilson Theatre)
In 2020 Rupert’s Historic Wilson Theatre celebrated its 100th birthday. This incredible theatre and event center, originally designed and built in 1920, has hosted a century of traveling vaudeville acts, concerts, plays, and movies.
In January 2000 a complete renovation began to restore the theatre to its original splendor. In 2001 the Historic Wilson Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past 20+ years, every detail of the original art and architecture has been painstakingly recreated by local artisans and craftsmen. The acoustic brilliance of the venue delights performers and audiences alike. This building was designed for sound!
Located on the historic Rupert Square, the Wilson Theatre is a beautiful venue for concerts, plays, and shows, but also offers ideal spaces for meetings, conventions, art exhibits, reunions, receptions, book signings and more. Please stop in for a tour and become a part of the Wilson Theatre family!
Black bears are the most common bear found in Idaho, with grizzlies being the runner up. For the most part, bears don’t want to have anything to do with humans. But sometimes, when things are getting tough up in the mountains during the fall, a bear might wander into some Boise neighborhoods looking for food.
Grizzlies are found way out in the woods and mountains, and almost never wander down into cities. The parts of Idaho where grizzly bears live are out east near Yellowstone, and far up north near the Canadian border. However, they have been recently spotted in areas of central Idaho where they have not been seen for at least a decade.
Farming is the lifeblood of Idaho. In Idaho agriculture is flourishing. In fact, it is the single largest contributor to Idaho’s economy, accounting for 20% of Idaho’s gross state product each year. Our agricultural production regularly sets and breaks records for cash receipts. Food and beverage processing is the state’s second largest manufacturing sector.
Idaho’s 25,000 farms and ranches produce more than 185 different commodities, and we’re ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for production of more than 25 crops and livestock. How do we do it? Idaho’s perfect climate, cutting edge technology, extensive irrigation systems, transportation networks, and most important—skilled and hard-working people. That’s the bounty of Idaho.
Did you notice?
The entire mural is in the shape of our favorite state — the 43rd state in the Union, the Gem State, Idaho in all her glory.
“And here we have Idaho, winning her way to fame. Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze, and romance lies in her name.”
On the wall to the northeast of “The 43” you’ll see a beautiful mural of monarch butterflies. The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was designated the official state insect of Idaho in1992, thanks to the efforts of 4th grade students at Boise's Cole Elementary School (with help from their teacher).
Both the caterpillar and adult monarch butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning to predators (monarchs ingest toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous). Monarch butterflies migrate each year between 1,200 and 2,800 miles (or more) from the United States and Canada to central Mexican forests.
Be sure to snag a picture of yourself with butterfly wings to celebrate the beauty of the monarch and the awesomeness of Idaho!
Sources: statesymbolsusa.org, wikipedia.org (Philo Farnsworth/Napoleon Dynamite), idahofb.org, smithsonianmag.org, rupert-idaho.com, eastidahonews.com, gooutlocal.com, agri.idaho.gov, visitidaho.org,