BOISE, Idaho -- With the 150th anniversary of the Idaho Territory coming up in another year, Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter is asking all cities and counties to reflect on their own historic roots.
During a proclamation signing event Tuesday, Otter designated the Idaho Historical Society as the lead agency in commemorating the event.
By giving a year's notice, he said, "we're hoping all 204 cities and 44 counties will not only recognize the part they played in building this great state, but look into their own roots and find out when and why they were created. It's an opportune time for us to get back to our roots."
President Abraham Lincoln signed the act of Congress creating the Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863. Two years later, on the day Lincoln was assassinated -- April 14, 1865 -- Boise became the territorial capital when the territorial seal arrived in town after being pilfered from Lewiston.
"Idaho, more than any other state, is related to Abraham Lincoln," said former Lt. Gov. David Leroy, a Lincoln scholar and chairman of Idaho's Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
In an effort to make sure the connection is never forgotten, Leroy and his wife Nancy joined Otter Tuesday and announced they're donating their collection of Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia to the state.
Leroy brought a few of the items to the proclamation event, including a lock of Lincoln's hair, collected during an autopsy after his assassination.
"Had the governor of the Idaho Territory been able to go to Ford's Theatre that night, when he was invited by Lincoln, perhaps the assassination would not have occurred," Leroy said.
Shortly after Otter signed the proclamation celebrating the sesquicentennial, the Senate approved a bill creating a special sesquicentennial license plate. The proposal was developed by the Nez Perce County Historical Society; it will raise money for historical societies in counties where the plates are sold.
The measure has already passed the House, so it now goes to the governor for his signature.
Spence may be contacted at bspencelmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.
(c)2012 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)
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