Columbian Club Est. 1892

Celebrating Boise's service clubs of yesterday and today
Susan M. Stacy & Ralph J. McAdams
In memory of Carole Clark 1931-2017
Julia Davis Park Centennial Board

The organizers of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair) invited each state to sponsor its own building. As America’s newest state, Idaho was determined to make its presence known. The Legislature appropriated funds to build a two-story, chalet-style Idaho Building.

The governor’s wife and other female leaders of Idaho soon realized that the legislators had neglected to provide funds for furnishing the building’s interior. They invited Idaho women to organize as Columbian Clubs to raise money enough to make the second floor a hospitable Women’s Reception Room for visitors.

The women of Boise went eagerly to work. They held concerts, sold home-made cottage cheese and organized dances at the Natatorium. Among the club members were Julia Davis, Carrie Logan and Mary Hallock Foote. They did the job in splendid style and raised enough to staff the Idaho Building with a hostess.

The women who could afford it went to the Fair. Julia Davis took her son, Tom Jr., a new graduate of Boise High School. She and others wanted to see what they had wrought, which was as impressive as the Fair itself. They and millions of other visitors absorbed the idea that civic beauty and urban grace was possible for any city.

The Boise women re-organized in October 1894, devoting themselves to improving their own city. From their energies over the succeeding decades flowed one civic asset after another: traveling libraries, public reading rooms, shady street trees, landscaped public places, the Idaho State Library, the Carnegie Library, public parks and the preservation of historic relics such as the O’Farrell Cabin. Their work continues.

Read more about the Columbian Club.


Susan M Stacy and Ralph J McAdams
Mary Lou Hobson
Judi Koch
Donald and Donna Brown Wisdom
Susie Yerrington
Helen Karn
John and Paula Miller
Carol Hoidal
Nancy DeBoer

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