Esther's Legacy

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Esther's Legacy

Esther Simplot Park is the new gem in Boise's "String of Pearls" park system through the generosity of the Simplot Family.

In 2003 J.R. & Esther Simplot gave the City of Boise a $1 million gift that allowed Boise Parks & Recreation to purchase a former gravel and concrete plant property on the Boise River for a future Esther Simplot Park. The city had previously acquired 39 acres in 1992, a portion of which was donated by the Quinn-McEntee family. The majority of the purchase became the 32 acre Bernadine Quinn Riverside Park which is commonly referred to as Quinn's Pond, which is 22 acres in size. Thanks to the 2003 donation from the Simplots, the city was able to purchase the remaining 16.5 acres at the former site of the Consolidated Concrete Co.

The 55-acre Esther Simplot Park site encompasses over 23 acres of ponds for fishing, wading, caneoing, paddleboarding and swimming. The park features trails, docks, wetlands, boardwalks, shelters, grassy open areas, a playground, bridges and restrooms. Funding for development of the park has been provided by the Simplot Foundation with Scott and Maggie Simplot leading the way.

One of the key features of the park is a "meandering stream" that connects the park’s two ponds with Quinn’s Pond creating a circuit for paddling that encompasses a total of over 50 acres. Plus it creates an interface with the Boise River Park as well as Veteran's Memorial Park further downstream with its approximately 74 acres including another 21 acres of ponds and waterways. This brings to almost 69 acres of navigable ponds.

In addition to the Simplot family, we would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of project leader Lillian, contractor McMillen-Jacobs and their crew, Boise City Parks, the Friends of the Park and our staff and vendors for their patience and support over the past several years.

Esther Simplot

Esther Simplot has become synonymous with the performing arts in Boise since moving here in 1972 as the wife of industrialist J. R. Simplot. Her untiring devotion and commitment have included co-founding the Boise Opera Company and construction in 1992 of the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy and the Academy Annex in 1996.

Esther formed an early appreciation of the arts in her home state of Wisconsin and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Indiana with a degree in music. She subsequently moved to New York City, where she performed with the Riverside Church Choir, the Canterbury Choral, and the Master Choral, and sang at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Worlds Fair.


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