John Pinney

Photo courtesy of The Idaho State Historical Society

Born September 29, 1835, Franklin County, Ohio
Died February 4, 1914, Boise, Idaho

James A. Pinney, a pioneer resident of California and Oregon as well as Idaho, is sometimes called the "Father of Modern Boise" due to the many improvements he introduced to the city during his three terms as mayor; 1882-1885, 1890-1893, and 1905-1907.

During Pinney's first administration, a brick two-story fire station, the first building owned by the city, was built on Main St.  Morris Hill Cemetery was purchased and toll bridges at the entrances to Boise were purchased by the city and the tolls were abolished.  He extended city boundaries, taking parcels to the south and west of the city.

Between Pinney's last two terms in office, a tragic diphtheria epidemic emphasized the need for a sewer system.  Wealthy Captain Joseph R. DeLamar announced he would make available $90,000.00 for bonds to build a sewer system if Pinney was again elected mayor. Pinney was re-elected and this became his main objective during his last term.  By the time he left office, the first 10 miles of the sewer was in place.

Pinney built the Columbia Theatre in 1892, the state's first opera house, and in 1908 the five-story Pinney Theatre.  The latter, made of stone, brick and cement, was fireproof.

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