This blog offers SHRA associates a less formal place to write about the intersection of current events, academia and history. We will also share "finds" from the various primary sources we examine. We post both Features, our long form pieces, and Vignettes, fun, interesting and notable shorts that we think would be of interest to our readers but that don’t warrant a longer analysis. To see some of our longer analytical pieces, click on Features. For shorter reads, click on Vignettes.

1/24/18 – SHRA Newsletters for 2017

Twice a year, SHRA sends out newsletters covering research, staff and business updates.  In Spring 2017, we looked at planned development on an old industrial site in Boise, and in Fall 2017, we discussed Jennifer Stevens new role as a Professor of the Practice at Boise State University. Click the links below to read more…Read the Rest »

1/10/18 – Boise’s “Geothermal Gem”

Since the late 19th century, Boise’s geothermal energy has been an economic and cultural driver of the city’s development. A variety of entrepreneurs capitalized on the region’s active geologic inheritance to provide Boiseans with cheap and sustainable energy and, in doing so, pioneered the first geothermal heating district in the United States. Forty years later,…Read the Rest »

1/3/18 – Bringing Boise’s Geothermal Past, Forward: “The Heat Beneath Your Feet”

Idaho’s extreme landscapes allude to the state’s violent geologic past, from the towering 12,000-foot peaks of the Lost River Range to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Periodic episodes of volcanic activity shaped Idaho’s sceneries and, in many ways, continue to define the state today. The cinder cones and lava plumes endowed Idaho with rare-earth…Read the Rest »

12/27/17 – Modern Day Research Trips and the Famed Golden Age of Travel, Part 2

The hustle and bustle of holiday travel is upon us. The surge of families with small children and less-experienced travelers at airports across the country means busier terminals, shorter tempers, and heightened levels of excitement…for some. As a result, the holiday-induced shift in travel patterns has me once again thinking about aviation, so get ready…Read the Rest »

10/25/17 – Dirty Water: Thoughts on John Wesley Powell, the Paria River, and Surveying the American West

For millennia, southwest Utah’s Paria River has carved its way through the coarse, multi-layered sandstone formations that comprise the Paunsaugunt plateau from which it descends. After a 75-mile journey through the wilderness of what is now the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Paria, which means “dirty water,” descends through the Vermillion Cliffs for another twenty…Read the Rest »

10/10/17 – Let Sleeping Volcanoes Lie

Iceland has always loomed large in my mind, its geographic extremes and stark beauty placing it high on the list of places I want to explore during my lifetime. The volcanic island’s larger-than-life reputation in my head belies its true size, which is about that of the state of Oregon. Iceland has, however, had a…Read the Rest »

9/13/17 – The “10 a.m. Policy”: The U.S. Forest Service and Wildfire Suppression

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the history of lookouts (LO) as the early indicators of the agency’s aggressive fire suppression policy. This week, I explain how the LOs comprised but one element in the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of total fire suppression that culminated in overgrown forests – tinderboxes – primed to burn…Read the Rest »

9/7/17 – The Lookouts: Sentinels of the Woodland Empire

The Lookout Way above the forests, that are in my care, Watching for the curling smoke – looking everywhere, Tied onto the world below by a telephone, High, and sometimes lonesome – living here alone, Snow peaks on the skyline, woods and rocky ground, The green of Alpine meadows circle me around, Waves of mountain…Read the Rest »

7/26/17 – Modern Day Research Trips and The Famed Golden Age of Travel

My job description at SHRA clearly outlines that travel is required. In fact, all historians with SHRA can expect to travel and work away from the office roughly 25% of the time. This is to be expected of a job where we are in search of rare documents that likely exist in only one repository…Read the Rest »

7/19/17 – Teddy Roosevelt in a Forrest Gump Land

It is, perhaps, old hat to remark on the loss of a broader human story when we choose to memorialize a landscape in a particular way, but I was recently reminded of how prevalent this occurrence is in a place I least expected: downtown Washington D.C. As someone who studied environmental history, and especially wilderness…Read the Rest »

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