A couple minutes down mountain cove road behind the Fort Boise complex lies the somewhat forgotten military reserve cemetery. I lived here for years before I knew of it’s location and most people I talk to have no idea that it’s there. The cemetery sits on a windswept hill side surrounded by a white painted iron fence and filled in with native grasses. It’s really quiet here and I’m guessing looks much like it did back when these men where living and working this area.
The cemetery was originally located about a half mile south of it’s present location at the old Fort Boise barracks. It had to be moved in 1906 after a flash flood came crashing down Cottonwood creek causing major damage to the graves. The office in charge at the time described the new location as somewhat “desirable” and somewhat “level”. I would tend to agree with the location being somewhat desirable but level on the other hand it is not as it’s located on the side of hill. At that time a total of 166 graves were moved. They included the remains of enlisted men, officers, some officer families and civilians.
Not to long after the move additional graves were discovered at the original site by soldiers who were using the area as a target range. Out of respect all activity was stopped until those graves could be disinterred and moved to the new cemetery location. These burials continued through the spring of 1913 when the Boise barracks were closed down.
Shortly after World War II the Department of Veterans Affairs decided they no longer had the funding to maintain their smaller cemeteries, which I believe is a shame. These men no matter when they served deserve to be remembered and honored for their service and not forgotten to time. However at the request of the U.S Department of the Army the Fort Boise Military Cemetery was left undisturbed. In 1947 the cemetery was deeded over to the City of Boise with the understanding that the cemetery would be maintained as a historic site and be kept in it’s natural state, or similar to how it would have looked at the turn of the century.
On Memorial Day 1998 there were three more unknown people who were laid to rest at the cemetery. The military ceremony was conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The three individuals are presumed to be Civil War veterans. Their remains were unearthed during a flood control excavation in the area of the original cemetery. Today there are a total of 247 enlisted men, officers, officers families and civilians laid to rest on a quiet windy hillside just outside of downtown Boise, Idaho.
The end of August signals a couple of things here in Idaho. Boise State football is back and ramping up for the first game and it’s time for the Western Idaho fair. Now the fair means different things to everyone but to me it’s a chance to relive some childhood memories of wanting to be a farmer.
The fair here in Idaho is quite a bit smaller than the one we had back in Iowa. That’s both good and bad. Having the small size makes it alot easier to see everything but if your not into riding the rides like myself it’s no longer an all day event. As always first stop on my families fair tour is always the small animal barn and petting zoo before making our way down food alley. Who doesn’t like fried food on a stick. After all the sightseeing comes the main event. The real reason I keep coming back year after year, the great and cheap concerts they put on.
This year provided two great shows for our musical tastes, Seether and Montgomery Gentry. The latter of which really takes me back to my younger days specifically 1999 when their Tattoos & Scars cd came out. That cd played so often in my truck I’m suprised it didn’t come out in pieces when I finally ejected it. So with a big Hell Yeah, a couple beers and my wife and daughter in tow we enjoyed a great night of good old fashioned country music. As usually Montgomery Gentry put on a hell of a show and we went home very happy having concluded another great year at the Western Idaho fair.