I Wonder: Where did Treasure Valley get its name?

I Wonder: Where did Treasure Valley get its name?

Credit: KTVB

I Wonder: Where did Treasure Valley get its name?

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by Don Day
KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 11, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 13 at 10:50 AM

I've never been given a straight answer about why we're The Treasure Valley… any ideas?
-DanMatthewsDJ via Twitter

BOISE - Idaho is a land of many valleys: Magic, Wood River, Sun – even Valley County.  But where did the Treasure Valley get its name?

Our little corner of the world stretches from Ontario to Mountain Home – and from Melba to Middleton.  Rivers and trees and cities and towns help define an expanse of land that is otherwise just points on a map.

While the land isn’t new, the name is – at least in the relative sense.  Before 1959, the area went by “Boise Valley” or “Snake River Valley” for obvious reasons. 

But many felt those names didn’t have enough pizzazz to properly market SW Idaho and Eastern Oregon.

In an era when sleepy farm towns were just starting to give way to a modern metropolitan era one man convinced a coalition of business leaders to perform a moniker makeover.

Pete Olesen of Caldwell had an idea – and a plan. He owned a seed company, but also was the president of the board of a coalition of chambers of commerce.  He dreamed up the Treasure Valley nickname – and went about making it stick.

A 1972 issue of Treasure Valley magazine (of course) quoted Olesen’s original declaration.

“This valley is a virtual treasure chest of natural resources, abundant recreational and cultural opportunities, agricultural diversification (and) commercial development potentials,” Olesen wrote.

Following the lead of areas like Paradise Valley, Arizona the Inland Empire in California – Olesen and the chamber group put out a proclamation declaring the once-drab-sounding Lower Snake River Valley, the promising-and-exciting-sounding Treasure Valley.

The new label worked – and now, decades later we have Treasure Valley Community College, Treasure Valley Coffee, Treasure Valley Pediatrics… even a blog named “Treasured Valley.”

Olesen died in 1985 at the age of 81 – but his obituary in the Idaho Statesman noted the contribution.

“Mr. Olesen… has the distinction of having coined the term “Treasure Valley” for the entire area surrounding Boise.”
 

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