Idaho, USA Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Idaho, USA

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If you see a car ahead of you on the road and its license plate reads 'Famous Potatoes', you can tell what state it comes from. Idahoans are more harmless than the rest of us, and a sixth of the population live in a single city, Boise1. Idaho's world-famous and largest industry is growing potatoes. Although much of the state is desert and/or is uninhabited, there are areas that make a name for Idaho in completely unique ways.

Origin of the Name 'Idaho'

First things first. The word Idaho doesn't mean anything in any language. It was coined by mining lobbyist George M Willing. He told the Idaho Congress it meant 'Gem of the Mountains' in an Indian language. Indian names were the rave in the late 1800s and Congress was careless enough not to check whether Idaho actually meant anything. Nobody realised that 'Idaho' was a faux until the bill to create the Idaho Territory was placed before the US Senate. By this time the word was already so popular, it was too late to change. President Lincoln signed the Idaho Territory Bill in 1863, and it became a state in 1890 on 3 July.

Tourist Attractions

If you are touring the state, here are a few places you might want to visit.

  • Craters of the Moon is the only national monument in the state. As a result of the volcanic activity (now dormant) that once characterised this area, it is filled with one-of-a-kind rock formations. It is so unearthly that NASA had their astronauts train there, as it is (at least) as cratered as the Moon. It is Idaho's only national park.

  • The Boise National Forest is filled with 2.6 million acres of evergreen trees. This forest has a high fire rate, but you are not in much danger of being incinerated while visiting. One setback is repetition. When a group of Idahoans tried to find five kinds of trees in the forest, they could only find four.

  • The city of Boise is the capital city of Idaho.

  • Yellowstone National Park. Yes, Idaho has its own little bit of Yellowstone. Visit any time you like.

  • Congregation Ahaveth Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in continuous use west of the Mississippi.

  • The Capitol Building. What more is there to say? It's the Capitol Building.

  • Sun Valley is a world-famous ski resort. Olympic ice-skaters perform here.

Interesting Facts About Idaho

  • Potato Stampede! - Idaho produces 29% of US potatoes.

  • Did somebody say 'Mcdonalds'? - One third of McDonalds french fries originate in Idaho.

  • The Star Garnet - The rare star garnet can only be found in Idaho and India.

Idaho State Details

1From the French les bois or 'the trees'.2Know as Orange Syringa or Mock Orange in the UK.

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