This elegant sculpture by local artist Jerry L. Snodgrass consist of two figures. Julia Davis is depicted in a long dress, hair up, holding a wooden bucket of apples in her left hand, and a single apple in her outstretched right hand, facing a young girl. The girl is barefoot, wearing a sun bonnet, with both hand in front of her ins a position as receiving the offered apple. Both figures are mounted directly on the ground, a circular brick area about 25 feet in diameter with brick walks leading north and south.
The sculpture is by local artist Jerry L. Snodgrass who was born in nearby Meridian, Idaho, in 1929, and has won many awards over the years for his western themed sculptures and other art.
The Boise Weekly gives this short bio:
"Meridian native Jerry Snodgrass has traveled a steady, successful path to becoming a full-time, bona fide artist. He has worn many artistic hats in his 48 years-illustrator, cartoonist, art teacher, actor, set designer, painter and sculptor. Snodgrass is most known for his serious, historical faces-from his '60s caricatures of well-known politicians that hung in the old Michael's restaurant on Bogus Basin Road, to his new full-form sculptures. . . ."
The Thought Jambalaya Extravaganza
also gives a brief bio:
"Jerry Snodgrass is bronze sculptor and native Idahoan with an impressive list of awards, honors and accomplishments to his credit. He graduated from Meridian High School and went on to earn his degree from The College of Idaho with a major in art and a minor in U.S. history.
You may be familiar with Jerry's work without even realizing it. Many of his sculptural pieces have been purchased for public display and can be seen in such places as downtown Eagle, Julia Davis Park, and Meridian City Hall. Outside of Ada County, you can see his work at Old Timer's Plaza in Toppenish, Washington; Clymer Museum in Ellensburg, Washington; Box Car Willy Railroad Museum in Branson, Missouri; and Snowmass Village in Aspen, Colorado."
The 87 acres of this park, established over a hundred years ago, also contains the Municipal Rose Garden
, fountains, and other sculptures. The information sign for Julia Davis Park gives a bit of history of the park and its benefactors:
The Story of
Julia & Tom
Few things in Boise
compare with the
quiet charm of Julia Davis
Park. Edging the north bank
of the Boise River downstream
from Broadway Ave. to just
beyond Capitol Blvd., this emerald
jewel is the setting for the city's major
cultural institutions: Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum,
Zoo Boise, the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Rose Garden, Gene
Harris Band Shell, Log Cabin Literary Center and the Idaho Black
History Museum as well as many recreational facilities. This plaque is
located on the park's initial 43 acres that were donated to the people
of Boise in 1907 by Thomas Jefferson Davis in memory of his beloved
wife Julia McCrumb [sic] Davis.
Tom and his brother Frank Davis headed west from Cincinnati,
Ohio, in 1862, hoping to strike gold. In 1863, Tom filed the first
homestead claim of 360 acres in Idaho Territory, which was signed by
Ulysses S. Grant. he and six other men laid out the original Boise
town site on part of it. Then he applied for Idaho Water Right No. a,
which allowed him to divert the Boise River water into ditches he built to
irrigate his land. His first crops were potatoes, onions, and cabbage.
In the spring of 1864 he planted his first orchard in this section of the
country using 7,000 apple trees purchased in Portland for $1.25 each.
Eventually, he owned hundreds of acres of orchards and row crops
(now the Boise State University campus and Garden City) finding it
more profitable to sell produce to Silver City and Boise Basin miners
than to dig for gold himself.
Julia McCrumb [sic] came to the Boise Valley from her home in
Ontario, Canada in 1869 to visit her uncle, an Army surgeon at Fort
Boise. Two years late, she married one the [sic] of the city's most eligible
bachelors, Tom Davis. When they married, the Idaho Tri-weekly
Statesman could not resist headlining the wedding story "Another
Veteran Gone." and joined them in wishing them
happiness. After Julia
returned from a visit to
the East in 1874, the
paper noted the young
couple's reunion by saying,
"Tom is happy again."
Julia gave Tom six children,
five of whom survived to adulthood.
*(See family tree at the bottom and on bricks around sculpture)
Known for her kindness and gracious hospitality, Julia would
welcome and assist emigrants traveling to the Oregon Trail as they
stopped their wagons along the river to rest from their journey across
the high desert.
By the turn of the century, Tom, Julia and the Davis orchard were
ready to retire. In 1899, the offered the city 30 to 40 acres of land
for a public park (a private park already existed) if the city would care
for it and control flooding that regularly eroded the bank. Concerned
about the taxes that would be needed to maintain a park, the city first
refused the Davises' gift. But, in 1907, arrangements were made to
deed the land "always and forever (to) be used for public park
purposes," as Tom put it.
Julia died soon after, on Sept. 19 at the age of 60. Heartbroken,
Tome directed that the site be known as Julia Davis Park in her
memory. Less than a year later on June 10, 1908, Tome himself passed
In 1960, Hazel Davis Taylor, one of the couple's daughters said,
"My father deeded. . . the land . . . (so) the spirit of Boise's early pioneers
would never die as long as Julia Davis Park remained a memorial to
Today the park has grown to 87 acres and generations of
Boiseans and visitors have indeed treasured this generous, far-sighted
gift. The Davis' pioneer spirit, love for each other, hard work and
vision created an enduring oasis in the desert, ensuring them a place
forever in the hearts of those to come.
Tom & Julia Davis Family Tree
Thomas I Davis & Bertha Davis
Harry M. Davis
Thomas Jefferson Davis & Julia McCrum Davis
Julia Etta Davis Quinn & W.L. Quinn
Edwin Horace Davis & Marcella Torrence Davis
Thomas I. Davis
Marcella Davis Kirby
Mary Davis Cross Kerby
Hazel Davis Taylor & R.C. "Scrappy" Taylor
The sculpture "Julia" by Jerry Snodgrass, dedicated August 5, 2002.
The claim made here that Thomas Davis received the first homestead in Idaho, is somewhat in doubt. According to records held by the Bureau of Land Management
"The first people to receive homesteads granted under the 1862 Homestead Act in Idaho apparently did not receive patents to their homesteads until September 30, 1874. None was patented earlier.
On September 30, 1874, BLM records show that 31 homestead patents were issued to persons in Idaho, with the following breakdown by county: Ada County (24)"
Thomas Davis does not appear on this list.
City of Boise: Julia Davis Park
Wikipedia: Julia Davis Park
Idaho State Historical Society
BLM: Guide to Homesteading Resources
East End Neighborhood Association
History of Idaho
by James H. Hawley