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Presentation Focuses on Legacy of Idaho's Chinese Pioneers

April 15, 2019

At 12:30-1:30 p.m. today, April 16, in the Horizon Room of Idaho Commons, Renae Campbell, historical archaeology doctoral student will present on the legacy of Idaho's Chinese Pioneers. Today the Boise Basin is known for its outdoor recreation activities, historic graveyards and not-quite ghost towns, but it also contains a network of over 300 archaeological sites associated with Chinese miners and entrepreneurs who were among Idaho's earliest pioneers.

In the late nineteenth century, the number of residents living in Southern Idaho's Boise Basin briefly surpassed Portland, Oregon, to become the largest population center in the Pacific Northwest. In placer mining communities like Old Boston, Centerville, Placerville and Idaho City, nearly half of these populations had been born in China. These sites, and the Chinese migrants that once occupied the region, are the focus of collaborative research being conducted by the University of Idaho's Anthropology Department and the Boise National Forest. This presentation provides a summary of ongoing attempts to uncover the connections between abandoned townsites like Old Boston and the often-forgotten contributions of Idaho's Chinese pioneers.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at