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Nampa, Idaho
The former Nampa Department Store in Downtown Nampa
The former Nampa Department Store in Downtown Nampa
Nickname(s): 
The Heart of the Treasure Valley
Motto(s): 
What a Place to Live
Location of Nampa in Canyon County, Idaho
Location of Nampa in Canyon County, Idaho
Country United States
State Idaho
County Canyon
Founded 1886
Incorporated 1891
Area
 • City 32.97 sq mi (85.39 km2)
 • Land 32.82 sq mi (85.00 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.39 km2)
Elevation
2,516 ft (767 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 81,557
 • Estimate 
(2019)
99,277
 • Density 3,024.89/sq mi (1,167.92/km2)
 • Metro
650,288
Time zone UTC−07:00 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (Mountain)
ZIP Codes
83651-83686-83687
Area code(s) 208
FIPS code 16-56260
GNIS feature ID 0396943

Nampa is the largest city of Canyon County, Idaho. Its population was 81,557 at the 2010 census and estimated at 99,277 as of 2019. It is Idaho's third-most populous city. Nampa is about 20 miles (32 km) west of Boise along Interstate 84, and six miles (10 km) west of Meridian. It is the second principal city of the Boise-Nampa metropolitan area. The name "Nampa" may have come from a Shoshoni word meaning either moccasin or footprint.

History

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 347
1900 799 130.3%
1910 4,205 426.3%
1920 7,621 81.2%
1930 8,206 7.7%
1940 12,149 48.1%
1950 16,185 33.2%
1960 18,013 11.3%
1970 20,768 15.3%
1980 25,112 20.9%
1990 28,365 13.0%
2000 51,867 82.9%
2010 81,557 57.2%
Est. 2019 99,277 21.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

Nampa began its life in the early 1880s when the Oregon Short Line Railroad built a line from Granger, Wyoming, to Huntington, Oregon, which passed through Nampa. More railroad lines sprang up running through Nampa, making it a very important railroad town. Alexander and Hannah Duffes established one of the town's first homesteads, eventually forming the Nampa Land and Improvement Company with the help of their friend and co-founder, James McGee. In spite of the name, many of the first settlers referred to the town as "New Jerusalem" because of the strong religious focus of its citizens. After only a year the town had grown from 15 homes to 50. As new amenities were added to the town, Nampa continued its growth and was incorporated in 1890.

Unlike most towns in that historic era with streets running true north and south, Nampa's historic roads run perpendicular to the railroad tracks that travel northwest to southeast through the town. Thus, the northside is really the northeast side of the tracks, and the southside is really the southwest side of the railroad tracks. Founder Alexander Duffes laid out Nampa's streets this way to prevent an accident like one that occurred earlier in a town he had platted near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In that town, a woman and her two children were killed by a train when they started across the railroad tracks in a buggy and the wheel got stuck. As the Oregon Short Line railroad originally bypassed Boise, Nampa has the fanciest of many railroad depots built in the area.

The first elementary school was built in the 1890s. Lakeview School was on a hill on 6th Street and 12th Avenue North, with a view of Lake Ethel. Just after the school's centennial celebration, it was condemned as a school and sold to the First Mennonite Church. In 2008 the building was refurbished, and is now being used by the Idaho Arts Charter School.

Lake Ethel – an irrigation reservoir – had long been the site of community picnics, and many citizens fished, swam, boated and even hunted on the lake and its surrounding property. The hunting didn't last for long, however, as O.F. Persons, owner of the adjoining homestead, took offense when local hunters started shooting his pet ducks.

The city later auctioned off the lake. E.H. Dewey (a former Nampa mayor) was the only bidder. But occasional flooding led to a series of lawsuits from neighbors. Dewey eventually drained Lake Ethel. Not long after, the city council became interested in buying back the Fritz Miller property as well as the Dewey home. Pressure had been building for more than four years. Nampa citizens wanted another park. On August 7, 1924, the city council passed an ordinance to purchase the Miller property and name it Lakeview Park. A bandstand was completed in 1928, and the municipal swimming pool opened on August 13, 1934. Swim tickets cost 10 cents each or 15 for a dollar. It is Nampa's largest park and many community celebrations are held there.

Colonel William H. Dewey, a man who made a fortune mining in Silver City, seeing the advantage of 4 railroad lines, built the elegant Dewey Palace Hotel in 1902 for a quarter of a million dollars. Colonel Dewey died in his hotel in 1903, leaving his son a million dollars. The hotel survived the great fire of 1909, which burned several blocks of downtown Nampa, but was razed in 1963 because no one wanted to invest in renovating the grand structure. Relics from the hotel, such as the chandelier and the hotel safe can be found at the Canyon County Historical Museum, which is housed in the old train depot on Front Street and Nampa City Hall. After demolition the location on First Street between 11th and 12th Ave. South was sold to private enterprise including a bank and tire store replacing this historic building with the current modern structures. A public-use postage stamp sized park was later placed across the street from the old palace property as a collaboration between the Downtown Alliance of Nampa (the local business council) and an Eagle Scout Project for the Boy Scouts of America. The park includes a large mural/wall sculpture of running horses commissioned for the project.

A Carnegie library was built downtown in 1908; it burned down after the library moved in 1966. Nampa Public Library was then located on the corner of 1st Street and 11th Avenue South in the old bank building. A new library, located on 12th Avenue South, was opened in March 2015.

Deer Flat Reservoir, an offstream irrigation storage reservoir, was constructed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation between 1906 and 1911. Known locally as Lake Lowell, it is surrounded by the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Lake Lowell is filled by the concrete New York Canal; the water is diverted from the Boise River a few miles below Lucky Peak Dam.

The Idaho State School and Hospital was built northwest of Nampa in 1910, for the state's developmentally challenged population, and opened in 1918. The institution was largely self-sufficient, with a large farm staffed by the residents. The higher-functioning residents also cared for residents who could not care for themselves. Much has changed in the care of persons with developmental disabilities from the time of the state school's opening. The land for the old farm was sold and are now golf courses (Centennial and Ridgecrest), and the residents no longer give primary care to other residents. The institution is modernized and remains in operation, though a few of the oldest buildings are now used to house juvenile offenders.

Nampa held an annual harvest festival and farmers' market from about 1908, a time of celebration and community fun. From this festival emerged the Snake River Stampede Rodeo in 1937, which continues to this day. It is one of the top 12 rodeos in the pro rodeo circuits.

A local congregation of the Church of the Nazarene built a small elementary school in 1913, later growing to Northwest Nazarene College in 1915 and finally to Northwest Nazarene University. The university currently has a student body of 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Karcher Mall opened in 1965, the first indoor shopping mall in the Treasure Valley. Many area residents have memories of having an Orange Julius, sitting on Santa's lap, or playing games at the Red Baron arcade in the mall. Karcher Mall was "the place to gather" for several decades until the Boise Towne Square mall was built in Boise in 1988, drawing business away. Karcher Mall struggled for many years, but is making a comeback. With a new I-84 interchange nearby, the area is booming with new business.

The Idaho Press-Tribune is the local newspaper for the Canyon County area. Since early 2009, the facility has been the contract printer for The Idaho Statesman, whose antiquated press equipment was retired and not replaced.

Nampa in 1907.

Government

Local government

On January 2, 2018, Debbie Kling was sworn in as the second female mayor of Nampa. Nampa City Council members are Victor Rodriguez (Seat 1, elected 2017), Darl Bruner (Seat 2, reelected 2019), Jean Mutchie (Seat 3, appointed Feb. 2020), Sandi Levi (Seat 4, reelected 2019), Randy Haverfield (Seat 5, reelected 2017) and Jacob Bower (Seat 6, elected 2019).

The Nampa City Council increased from four to six members after voters approved the increase in May 2013. The City of Nampa operates on a fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. In 2016 and 2017, Nampa ranked No. 1 among the nation's 150 largest cities in terms of budget per capita, according to the finance website WalletHub. Overall, Nampa ranked as the nation's second-best run city in 2016 and best in 2017.

Education

The Nampa School District includes 15 elementary schools, four middle schools, and four high schools, one of which is an alternative high school that serves students who struggle in traditional high schools. They are Nampa High School (the original and oldest), Skyview High School and Columbia High School. The Vallivue School District is partly in Nampa and partly in Caldwell, Idaho. It has seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools (one in Nampa). Nampa is also home to Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), College of Western Idaho (CWI) and Stevens-Henager College.

Transportation

The interstate that runs through Nampa is Interstate 84, which has four exits into Nampa. Nampa Municipal Airport is for general aviation. Among the principal roads are Idaho State Highway 55, Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard (which connects Nampa with Caldwell), 12th Avenue Road, 16th Avenue, and Garrity Boulevard. The Union Pacific Northwest Corridor line, connecting Salt Lake City and points east with the Pacific Northwest, runs through Nampa.

Public transportation includes several bus lines operated by ValleyRide.

Recreation

Nampa has 24 parks, the largest of which is Lakeview Park. The Nampa Recreation Center, a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) facility with a six-pool aquatic center, three gymnasiums, racquetball courts, a walking/running track, a weight room and exercise equipment, a climbing wall, and other activity areas, opened in 1994. The City of Nampa owns and operates the Centennial Golf Course (18 holes) and Ridgecrest Golf Club (27 holes).

The Ford Idaho Center is a city-owned complex of entertainment venues managed by Spectra Venue Management. Venues include a 10,500-capacity amphitheater built in 1998 that features a 60-by-40-foot stage; a 12,279-seat arena featuring 31,200 square feet (2,900 m2) of arena floor space; the Idaho Horse Park, used for horse shows; and the Sports Center, used for indoor horse shows in the summer, and track and field events, including the home meets of the Boise State University Broncos track teams, in the winter.

The Idaho Center arena is best known for hosting the Snake River Stampede Rodeo during the third week of July. It is considered one of the nation's top rodeos.

The arena is the former home of the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association and the Idaho Stallions of the now defunct Indoor Professional Football League and is used for concerts; trade shows, sporting events, and other events.

The Idaho Center arena is the former home of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament. Upon its completion, the tournament moved to the Idaho Center in 1998 from its former home on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University (then known as Northwest Nazarene College). The tournament left town in 2000 when NNC became a university and left the NAIA to become an NCAA Division II school.

In March 2004, the Idaho Center arena played home for the Boise State University men's basketball second round matchup in the NIT against the UW–Milwaukee Panthers. The game was moved to the Idaho Center due to a previously scheduled Metallica concert at Boise State's Taco Bell Arena. The game drew a crowd of more than 10,000, making it the largest crowd for a basketball game in the arena's history.

On November 14, 2006, the Idaho Center hosted the Rolling Stones, the first time the band had performed in Idaho.

The Idaho Center also has been hosting a Monster Jam event once a year.

Nampa served as the host of the 2012 Division I NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Geography

Nampa is located at 43°34′29″N 116°33′49″W / 43.57472°N 116.56361°W / 43.57472; -116.56361 (43.574807, -116.563559).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 31.34 square miles (81.17 km2), of which, 31.19 square miles (80.78 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) is water.

ZIP codes: 83651, 83653, 83686, 83687.

Climate data for Nampa, Idaho
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
(15.6)
70
(21.1)
81
(27.2)
93
(33.9)
100
(37.8)
103
(39.4)
109
(42.8)
107
(41.7)
101
(38.3)
94
(34.4)
74
(23.3)
65
(18.3)
109
(42.8)
Average high °F (°C) 37
(2.8)
45
(7.2)
55
(12.8)
64
(17.8)
73
(22.8)
82
(27.8)
91
(32.8)
89
(31.7)
79
(26.1)
66
(18.9)
49
(9.4)
39
(3.9)
64.1
(17.82)
Average low °F (°C) 21
(-6.1)
26
(-3.3)
31
(-0.6)
36
(2.2)
44
(6.7)
51
(10.6)
56
(13.3)
54
(12.2)
45
(7.2)
36
(2.2)
28
(-2.2)
21
(-6.1)
37.4
(3.01)
Record low °F (°C) −20
(-28.9)
−21
(-29.4)
13
(-10.6)
20
(-6.7)
26
(-3.3)
33
(0.6)
38
(3.3)
36
(2.2)
28
(-2.2)
15
(-9.4)
−3
(-19.4)
−26
(-32.2)
−26
(-32.2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.37
(34.8)
1.14
(29)
1.35
(34.3)
1.12
(28.4)
1.22
(31)
0.63
(16)
0.32
(8.1)
0.24
(6.1)
0.58
(14.7)
0.72
(18.3)
1.28
(32.5)
1.40
(35.6)
11.37
(288.8)

Demographics

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 81,557 people, 27,729 households, and 20,016 families living in the city. The population density was 2,614.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,009.6/km2). There were 30,507 housing units at an average density of 978.1 per square mile (377.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.9% White, 0.7% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 10.7% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.9% of the population.

Notable people

  • Ronee Blakley, actress, singer-songwriter, known for her role in Nashville and as a backup singer to Bob Dylan.
  • Dolores Crow (1931–2018), politician and legislator lived in Nampa and represented its district
  • Henry Hajimu Fujii, farmer, Japanese-American spokesman, lapidary
  • Davey Hamilton, race car driver, competed in Indianapolis 500
  • Larry Jackson, Major League Baseball pitcher 1955-68
  • Mark Lindsay, lead vocalist of rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • Zack Lively, American actor
  • Rob Morris, former NFL linebacker for Indianapolis Colts
  • Don Mossi, Major League Baseball pitcher for several teams.
  • Gracie Pfost, former U.S. Representative, first woman to represent Idaho in Congress
  • Steve Symms, former U.S. Senator
  • Ted Trueblood, outdoor writer, Idaho conservation leader, editor of Field & Stream magazine
  • Edwin P. Wilson (1928–2012), CIA agent convicted of arms trading
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