Inventing Idaho: The Gem State's Eccentric Shape (Paperback)
As Idaho's State Historian, the question Keith Petersen heard most was, "How did Idaho get such a strange shape?" That curiosity is fitting, because those peculiar borders have held enormous influence on much of Idaho's political, economic, and cultural history, and prompted repeated efforts to connect the north and south.
In Inventing Idaho, Petersen answers that popular inquiry, breaking the state's intriguing border story into six sections covering the fascinating events and people--often U.S. presidents and other politicians and diplomats who never set foot in the region--involved in creating the boundaries between Idaho and Canada, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. He explains their roots in the French and Indian War, how Idaho's northern and southern portions were once split between Oregon Territory and Washington Territory, how the state's panhandle and name can be traced back to a late-night 1863 Senate proposal, how Moscow became home to the University of Idaho, what might happen to a criminal in the "Zone of Death," and how a gold rush, geographic barriers, differing business and political interests, and more factored into border decisions. In addition, he discusses some of the ramifications Idahoans have faced ever since, and the various attempts to deal with them.