Boise Assay Office
Gold Discovered in Boise Basin
by Josh Bernard
As the small city of Boise started to emerge in the valley beneath the gold laden mountains, early citizens fought to bring a sense of prominence and legitimacy to the area. They sought out the establishment of early transportation routes, businesses, banks and important governmental agencies. As gold started to rush down from the hills, the founders saw a need to establish Boise as the center for gold trade in the area. Below is a timeline that shows the major events on Boise’s road to prominence.
1862–August, Moses Splawn and George Grimes discover gold in the Boise Basin.
1863–March 3, Organic Act passed by Congress established Idaho Territory from the four western counties of
Washington Territory: Shoshone, Nez Perce, Idaho and Boise.
July 4, Major Pinckney Lugenbeel chose the site of Fort Boise where Cottonwood Creek emerges from the foothills.
1864–December 7, Boise named permanent capital of Idaho Territory by the legislature.
December 12, Boise incorporated by the Territorial Legislature.
December 22, Ada County created by the Territorial Legislature. The county was named for the daughter of H.C. Riggs, a member of the original Boise City Company; Boise was named county seat.
1867–March 11, Idaho First National Bank Charter granted, B.M. DuRell, President; C.W. Moore, Cashier.
November 18, First Boise City government established, H.B. Prickett, Mayor.
1869–February 19, Congress appropriated $75,000 for the construction of an Assay Office in Boise.
1870–July 15, Construction begins on Assay Office located on Block 35 of the original town site.
1871–July, Assay Office completed $327 under budget.
1872–March, Assay Office opened for business, Alexander Rossi named as the first Assayer.
1933–Assay Office closed and transferred to the Department of Agriculture.
The building became the headquarters for the Boise National Forest.
1965–May 8, Assay Office named a National Historic Landmark.
1972–Ownership transferred to the State of Idaho, Idaho State Historic Society.