Bird's Eye View of Boise - 1890, Courtesy, Boise State Special Collections and Archives

Logger's Creek - Not Simply a Creek

 

The small canal in the picture above was part of something larger. It still exists today, though many Boiseans do not know about the waterway's past, as one small link to Boise and the logging industry of an expanding West. This creek, winding it's way behind Parkcenter Pond off Parkcenter Blvd these days, was once referred to as Logger’s Ditch, the Mill Ditch, and Ridenbaugh Ditch - not to be confused with the Ridenbaugh Canal. It was carved out of an existing Boise River meander channel in 1865.

Water from the small canal powered a flour mill, a distillery (making Isaac’s Best Whiskey) and a sawmill. More importantly for our purposes, the “creek,” transferred logs from the Boise River to the site, the area around big Jud’s Hamburgers today. Later, the ditch was widened, deepened and lined with wood planks to reduce the buildup of nasty silt that could stop mill production quick. Following a series of owners, William Ridenbaugh inherited the mill in 1878 after the death of his uncle, William Morris. The facility was popularly known as Ridenbaugh Mill afterwards. The sawmill possessed an 8-acre mill pond upon which kids skated come winter. Power was provided by a 15-foot-tall water wheel, and a dam which, the Idaho Daily Statesman reported in September of 1902, hooligans blew up with dynamite. Production at the mill ceased around 1907 and the building was later torn down.

Image: Ridenbaugh Ditch in the 1890s - Idaho State Historical Society

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