Nampa is the 3rd largest city in the state of Idaho and is part of Idaho’s largest metropolitan area. The city is located about 20 miles west of Boise along interstate 84 and 6 miles west of Meridian. The city’s amenities enhance the excitement of a culturally rich urban core and translate into a dynamic market.
Nampa offers an environment rich in endless natural beauty, local history and culture, and economic wellbeing. The city has a long history of providing a business friendly atmosphere, low operating costs, skilled employees and a great quality of life. Nampa’s food processing and manufacturing continues to flourish while industries such as agribusiness, high tech, shared services, and bio sciences are on the rise.
Historic Downtown Nampa has it all. Anchored by Library Square, this walkable, preserved historic area is home to the Nampa Train Depot Museum, Wall Street Plaza, Lloyd’s Square Park, Nampa Public Library, the Nampa Farmer’s Market, restaurants, art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops, live entertainment venues, residential and more.
NAMPA THEN & NOW
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, 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 located 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.
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.
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. Nampa is growing fast, with new homes, new shopping centers and new roads. Treasure Valley Marketplace north of the Karcher Interchange has a number of retailers including Costco, Target, Best Buy, Cost Plus World Market, Olive Garden, Michael’s, DressBarn, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco and Kohl’s. Across from Treasure Valley Marketplace is located a second shopping center containing a McDonald’s. The Nampa Gateway Center is a shopping center under development near the Idaho Center off the Garrity Boulevard Exit of Interstate 84. J.C. Penney, the Sports Authority, Macy’s, the Idaho Athletic Club, and Edwards Cinema are located in the Nampa Gateway Center. Wal-Mart is also in the same area.