How did the “Treasure Valley” Get it’s Name?
The area is not a place where pirates roamed or where massive treasures have been uncovered so why is it called the Treasure Valley?
First lets get straight what area specifically we are talking about here. According to Wikipedia, it is where the Payette, Boise, Weiser, Malheur, Owyhee, and Burnt rivers drain into the Snake River. It includes all the lowland areas from Vale in rural eastern Oregon to Boise, and is the most populated area in Idaho. Currently, roughly 40 percent of Idaho’s population lives in the Treasure Valley.
Although Weknowboise.com has a narrower scope of the area for more current purposes saying, "When most people speak of the Treasure Valley, they’re referring to the area that encompasses the cities of Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Star, Kuna, Caldwell, and Middleton. For our purposes, when we talk about homes and opportunities in the Treasure Valley, this is what we mean. Historically, however, it covered a much larger area – from Boise, Idaho to Vale, Oregon."
For those who have lived here in the 50s and earlier they may have known the area to have a different name. Before 1959 it was usually referred to as the Lower Snake River Valley or the Boise River Valley. Those names however didn't sparkle quite enough for a man named Pete Oleson. You see Pete was the president of the valley's association of local Chambers of Commerce and loved where he lived. In 1959 Pete coined the name "Treasure Valley" to reflect the treasure chest of resources and opportunities that the region offered.
Here is some interesting history from our amazing area we call home. Wikipedia shares that the original tribes that roamed the area were the Northern Paiute and Shoshone. The Original Fort Boise was built by Thomas McKay in 1834 near present-day Parma. It later was moved because of flooding troubles and was abandoned in 1854. A new Fort Boise was constructed by the U.S. Army in 1863 in present-day Boise. In 1883, the Oregon Short Line Railroad reached the Treasure Valley, creating a thriving community, with Nampa as the center of the area's rail activity.
The valley area was settled mostly by ranchers and farmers. They supplied the valley area but also created and supplied settlements and towns up north and in higher elevations where the gold and silver mining was in its heyday.
Check out below how other gem state places got their names.