We’re a hundred years “hence,” so let’s see how well the prognosticators—various leading citizens—did.
Architect J.A. Fennel predicted hourly air service by 1971. That was probably correct. Some of his vision sounds familiar today. “The visitor will observe from his cab window a beautiful residential section festooning the hills, with wonderful winding driveways.” We can only wish his next prediction had come true. “The absence of parked automobiles from the streets will be accounted for by the fact that under-the-street garages or storage spaces have been provided.”
W.H.P. Hill, secretary of the Boise Chamber of Commerce expected 300,000 people to be living in Boise by 1971. It was closer to 75,000. Stay tuned, though. We aren’t far from Hill’s mark today. The chamber exec pointed out that Boise had the first tourist park for automobiles, and that he expected the future to bring an “Aero Tourist park with its perfect landing fields and accommodations for hundreds of flying machines and thousands of passengers.”
J.P. Congdon envisioned flying into Boise and seeing that “Both banks of the river have been very prettily parked and there are miles and miles of good driveways in them. Checks have been placed in the river to provide boating and bathing facilities.” He came the closest to guessing the 1971 population of Boise: 100,000.
Dora Thompson, the supervisor of schools in Boise, expected “well-proportioned business edifices, free from all advertising matter, and elegant in their simplicity of line and decoration.” She also predicted “Noiseless electric trains running without track or third rail.” She envisioned a magical device that would free the air from “noisome odors and flecks of begriming soot, for all the smoke of the city will be consumed in a municipally owned plant operated for that purpose.”
One prediction Ms. Thompson made had a sting it: “Boise will not be true to her name ‘wooded’ 50 years hence, however, if a city forester is not appointed in the near future, since trees are being cut ruthlessly and new ones are not being planted systematically.”
Perhaps the elected officials of the city heeded her call. Today we have a city forester and the nickname City of Trees.
What would you predict “50 years hence?”