“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boise in Ada County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)

The Story of Julia & Tom Davis

The Story of Julia & Tom Davis Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, May 17, 2018
1. The Story of Julia & Tom Davis Marker
Inscription.  Few things in Boise compare with the quiet charm of Julia Davis Park. Edging the north bank of the Boise River downstream from Broadway Ave. to just beyond Capitol Blvd., this emerald jewel is the setting for the city's major cultural institutions: Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum, Zoo Boise, the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Rose Garden, Gene Harris Band Shell, Log Cabin Literary Center and the Idaho Black History Museum as well as many recreational facilities. This plaque is located on the park's initial 43 acres that were donated to the people of Boise in 1907 by Thomas Jefferson Davis in memory of his beloved wife Julia McCrumb Davis.

Tom and his brother Frank Davis headed west from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862, hoping to strike gold. In 1863, Tom filed the first homestead claim of 360 acres in Idaho Territory, which was signed by Ulysses S. Grant. He and six other men laid out the original Boise town site on part of it. Then he applied for Idaho Water Right No. 1, which allowed him to divert the Boise River water into ditches he built to irrigate his land. His first crops were potatoes, onions, and cabbage. In the spring
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of 1864 he planted his first orchard in this section of the country using 7,000 apple trees purchased in Portland for $1.25 each. Eventually, he owned hundreds of acres of orchards and row crops (now the Boise State University campus and Garden City) finding it more profitable to sell produce to Silver City and Boise Basin miners than to dig for gold himself.

Julia McCrumb came to the Boise Valley from her home in Ontario, Canada in 1869 to visit her uncle, an Army surgeon at Fort Boise. Two years late, she married one the (sic) of the city's most eligible bachelors, Tom Davis. When they married, the Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman could not resist headlining the wedding story "Another Veteran Gone," and joined them in wishing them happiness. After Julia returned from a visit to the East in 1874, the paper noted the young couple's reunion by saying, "Tom is happy again."

Julia gave Tom six children, five of whom survived to adulthood. *(See family tree at the bottom and on bricks around sculpture) Known for her kindness and gracious hospitality, Julia would welcome and assist emigrants traveling on the Oregon Trail as they stopped their wagons along the river to rest from their journey across the high desert.

By the turn of the century, Tom, Julia and the Davis orchard were ready to retire. In 1899, the offered the city 30 to 40 acres of land for
The Story of Julia & Tom Davis Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, May 17, 2018
2. The Story of Julia & Tom Davis Marker
a public park (a private park already existed) if the city would care for it and control flooding that regularly eroded the bank. Concerned about the taxes that would be needed to maintain a park, the city first refused the Davises' gift. But, in 1907, arrangements were made to deed the land "always and forever (to) be used for public park purposes," as Tom put it.

Julia died soon after, on Sept. 19 at the age of 60. Heartbroken, Tom directed that the site be known as Julia Davis Park in her memory. Less than a year later on June 10, 1908, Tome himself passed away.

In 1960, Hazel Davis Taylor, one of the couple's daughters said, "My father deeded...the land...(so) the spirit of Boise's early pioneers would never die as long as Julia Davis Park remained a memorial to their efforts."

Today the park has grown to 87 acres and generations of Boiseans and visitors have indeed treasured this generous, far-sighted gift. The Davis' pioneer spirit, love for each other, hard work and vision created an enduring oasis in the desert, ensuring them a place forever in the hearts of those to come.

Tom & Julia Davis Family Tree
(Genelogical Diagram of Thomas Jefferson Davis & Julia McCrum Davis)

The sculpture "Julia" by Jerry Snodgrass, dedicated August 5, 2002.

Erected by
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Boise Parks & Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 43° 36.534′ N, 116° 12.258′ W. Marker is in Boise, Idaho, in Ada County. Marker can be reached from Julia Davis Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boise ID 83702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abraham Lincoln (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sacajawea and Pomp (about 700 feet away); Wilson Price Hunt Expedition (approx. 0.2 miles away); The WPA (Works Project Administration) (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Boise Gallery of Art - 1937 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Davis Orchard (approx. 0.2 miles away); McClelland Ferry (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Log Cabin (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boise.
More about this marker. The perimeter road around Julia Davis Park are named Julia Davis Drive. The marker is located near the entrance to the Rose Garden.

The maiden namer of Julia McCrum Davis is incorrectly spelled McCrumb at several places on this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 3, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 493 times since then and 165 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 3, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Jun. 3, 2023