Unique Features of Julia Davis

The city's oldest park, Julia Davis Park was created thanks to a generous donation of 43 acres of land in 1907 by Thomas Davis as a memorial to his beloved wife, Julia. It is one of the riverside parks in the "Ribbon of Jewels" named for prominent local women.

This park hosts unique features unlike any park in Boise.

Rose Garden

In 1935, the Rose Garden idea originated with H. C. Schuppel, who was a chairman of a Mens Garden Club called the "Cut Worms." The club was restricted to 20 members and only had 2 rules: no women and no publicity. Each member brought their skills to the planning of the Garden.

Tom McLeod, a club member and Park Superintendent, planned the layout of the Garden. During the first phase in 1939, 300 roses were received from Jackson Perkins and 1,500 more came from Villa Nurseries in Portland. Also in 1939, another 1,000 roses were planted and the Rose Garden was officially dedicated.

In 1979, the Memorial Rose Fund was created to help fund memorials for family or friends - dead or alive. The Rose Garden received its Public Rose Garden accreditation in 1992 and now receives 10 bushes of All American winners yearly. To learn more about donation opportunities, contact Darlene Hoffland at (208) 375-3623.

About 2,400 roses bloom every year in the Julia Davis Rose Garden, which is a popular location for wedding ceremonies and rose lovers of all ages. The Pavilion is available for reservations.

Naming Opportunities

Although naming opportunities are limited at the Julia Davis Park Rose Garden, there are still some options for people to memorialize a person or event that is special to them.

For more information on these opportunities you may contact Darlene Hoffland of the Rose Society, at (208) 375-3623.

Abraham Lincoln Statue

A larger-than-life size bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln was unveiled June 19, 2010 at a ceremony attended by Mayor David H. Bieter, artist Irene Deely, organizer David Leroy, donors and civic leaders. Located in a grassy area east of the Idaho Black History Museum, the statue is an enlarged replica of the most famous image of Lincoln seated on a bench created by Idaho born sculptor Gutzon Berglum. According to Davis family legend, early Boise pioneer Tom Davis was acquainted with Abraham Lincoln in Illinois in the 1840s before he migrated west. In 1907, land Tom donated to the City of Boise became Julia Davis Park.

Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza

Cancer survivors, patients, families and health-care providers have a new gathering place in Boise thanks to a $1 million grant awarded to City of Boise by the Richard & Annette Bloch Foundation.

The cancer survivors plaza features include: 

  • Positive Mental Attitude Walk with 14 inspirational plaques
  • Road to Recovery with seven plaques with recommended strategies for recovery
  • Kinetic wind sculpture featuring kites by local artist Mark Baltes titled 'Wind Dance'   

The project includes a new-32 stall parking lot, walking paths and colorful landscaping. 

Childhood Cancer Pavilion

Diagnosed with brain cancer at age 13, Trevor Schaefer is now cancer free and the founder of Trevor's Trek Foundation.  The foundation is dedicated to childhood cancer awareness and prevention. 

Visit site

The stand-alone pavilion is located next to the future Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza near the duck pond in the east end of the park.  The Children's Cancer Pavilion is cantilevered over the water and is ADA accessible with tables suitable for children, their families and friends.

"The new pavilion will be a tranquil place to provide childhood cancer patients and survivors with inspiration, encouragement and support.  Children are the future; cancer can destroy that." -- Trevor Schaefer 

The Bandshell

Built in 1928, the band shell was named for famed jazz pianist Gene Harris in 2001.Harris lived and performed in Boise from the 1970s until his death from complications from diabetes in 2000. He also gave his name to the Boise State Jazz Festival, now known as the Gene Harris Jazz Festival.

In 2018, sadly the Bandshell caught fire. In October of 2018, construction began to restore this iconic feature of Julia Davis Park.

Julia Davis Rotary Grand Plaza

The plaza was envisioned as part of the design competition in 2006 as the park was preparing for its century celebration. Located along the mall road between the rose garden and Zoo Boise, the new plaza creates a central gathering place in the park. It features a 4’ diameter bronze medallion that includes a seed and roots signifying the beginning of the City of Boise and the park. Other design elements harken back to the apple orchards that once covered the land that now serves as Julia Davis Park. 

Diane Davis Myklegard, great granddaughter of Tom and Julia Davis, leads the Second Century Coalition that has been raising funds since 2007 for these park improvements. Rotary Clubs in the greater Boise metro area joined in and raised $150,000 towards the construction of the plaza.

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