Idaho in red in map of the U.S. Shows how various it look at from various other states " class="uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle"> click come enlarge
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Keith Petersen " class="uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle"> click to enlarge
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Keith Petersen recently retired after ~ 13 years together state chronicler for the Idaho State historic Society.

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Now he’s all set to offer the lecture the waited his whole career come share.Petersen will present “Straight Lines and Squiggles: exactly how Idaho gained that weird Shape” Thursday in ~ the Monastery that St. Gertrude in Cottonwood. The talk concludes the 20th yearly Historical Museum in ~ St. Gertrude loss Lecture Series.Having operated for various state historic societies since the 1970s, Petersen describes his Idaho border lecture together “my retirement project.”“It’s the concern I to be asked the most,” he said.Petersen’s lecture will focus on all of the state’s borders and also have miscellaneous to market anyone interested in the history of Idaho. Petersen stays in Pullman and also is the author of number of books around Idaho and also the Northwest and also is a 2019 receiver of the Esto Perpetua Award for distinguished organization to Idaho history. Due to the fact that 2015 he and his wife, mary Reed, have actually volunteered in assisting the museum in its exhibit makeover project.

The legend that the drunken surveyor

Probably the most scrutinized component of the Idaho border is along the northeastern next of the state whereby it connects v Montana. Beginning around the Mullan happen area, the border zig-zags its way down all the means to where Idaho, Montana and Wyoming meet.One the the myths around this ar of the border is that it was the an outcome of a drunken surveyor. While entertaining, Petersen stated there is no fact to the claim.“One the our past governors favored to repeat this idea,” that said. “It’s a myth.”

What could have been


Idaho is recognized for gift a tourist-friendly state yet according to Petersen, one of the best tourist attractions in the country started out in Idaho territory -- just to it is in taken away by the U.S. Conference in 1868.Yellowstone nationwide Park, i m sorry would end up being the first U.S. Nationwide Park in 1872, was originally component of the territory yet became part of Wyoming as soon as that state’s border was collection in 1868.“Congress wanted Wyoming to be shaped choose a box, so they obtained Yellowstone,” Petersen said. “There to be no hit to keep Yellowstone in Idaho. Nobody was worried around it earlier then.”

Where does north Idaho important belong?

It’s a concern that predates Idaho statehood: Does northern Idaho belong with the rest of the state or is it more logical because that that section to it is in lumped in with eastern Washington and/or west Montana.For Petersen, it’s a reasonably easy answer.“Our associations in this area room east-west, no north-south.”And it transforms out, the Idaho Panhandle was in reality a lot of closer to being part of eastern Washington and also northern Montana than many human being realize.As the Idaho region was being formed in 1863, over there were two plans.The an initial was created by john Mullan, an explorer and also mapmaker for whom the city the Mullan and also Mullan happen is named. He invested considerable amounts of time in what is this particular day Washington, Idaho and also Montana, and his plans because that Washington Territory consisted of northern Idaho and western Montana.The U.S. Home of representatives passed his setup in 1863 but it to be thwarted by a map created by william H. Wallace, the branch of Washington Territory. Wallace’s map developed the Washington-Idaho border together it watch today.Wallace’s map was authorized by the U.S. Senate top top the critical day that the 1863 session, so the U.S. House had no chance to debate. President Lincoln signed it right into law and the rest, as they say, is history.

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IF you GO

WHAT: “Straight Lines and also Squiggles: exactly how Idaho got that weird Shape”


WHO: Keith Petersen, retired Idaho historianWHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24WHERE: Johanna Room at the Spirit center at the Monastery the St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood.COST: Free