Meridian and Eagle — two tiny towns west of Boise — have maintained their rural charm while experiencing explosive growth as they have become bedroom communities of the state’s capital city metropolis.
Meridian was incorporated in 1909 and established itself as the center of southern Idaho’s dairy industry claiming to have “more cows per acre" than any other place in the United States. Meridian was named for the Boise Meridian, the prime north-south line from which Idaho lands are surveyed. The town’s first substantial building constructed on the meridian line in 1893 was the IOOF Lodge Hall.
Meridian remained a quiet dairy community until Boise began its non-stop growth in the 1970s. Census figures in 1980 list Meridian with a population of 6,658 and by 1990, it had increased to 9,596. In 2005, Meridian listed its population at about 40,000 people.
People used to refer to Eagle as the “Little Town of Eagle," located seven miles north of Meridian. Just west of town off Hatchery Road is Eagle Island State Park, a popular recreation area with a waterslide, five miles of equestrian trails, fishing, swimming, and grassy picnic areas with two group shelters. Eagle’s population in 1980 was 2,620 and had grown to 3,327 by 1990. In 2005, Eagle listed its population at nearly 15,000.
Meridian has three major tourist attractions: Roaring Springs Waterpark and the adjacent Boondocks Fun Center. The Meridian Speedway draws crowds from throughout the region to stock car races.
Eagle is situated between Boise Foothills and the Boise River. Its charming business district, with its Western architecture and street lamps, features chic boutiques and restaurants housed within the original facades of the city center. Two public golf courses and a modern skateboard park invite visitors and there are several annual festivals, including Eagle Fun Days and an Old Fashioned Christmas.
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