BOISE, Idaho — Monday, February 17 marked AAA Idaho’s 100 years of service in the Gem State.
“We are honored to have served as a trusted advocate for generations of Idaho motorists,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “Over the years, our Club has continually evolved to meet ever-changing member needs. In many ways, our story is just beginning.”
The Idaho State Automotive Association (later known as AAA Idaho) was organized and incorporated on February 17, 1920, with its first meeting held at the Nampa Chamber of Commerce. Several years later, the organization moved its Idaho headquarters to the Hotel Owyhee in downtown Boise. Over time, additional Service Center locations were added in Meridian, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, and Coeur d’Alene.
After eighteen years in its current location just east of the Boise Towne Square Mall, the AAA Boise Service Center is now in the middle of an extensive remodel to better serve members in the Treasure Valley, Conde said.
Highlights from AAA Idaho’s history include:
1920 – The Idaho State Automotive Association is founded. As was the case with most motor clubs, initial efforts are focused on building and maintaining good roads. Emergency road service, travel, insurance, and traffic safety departments that AAA is now known for would be added later.
1920s – The Association purchases a truck and, for the sum of $40, buys 24 “Slow – School” signs. A Mapping and Motor Touring Bureau is established to promote Idaho tourism.
1930s – The Idaho Association throws its support behind the construction of a road connecting Ashton, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park to further boost tourism. The Club opposes the use of parking meters in the aftermath of the Great Depression.
1940s – With the outbreak of World War II, government reports indicated that only seven million of the 24 million passenger cars on American roads would remain in use. The National AAA organization develops a comprehensive plan of fuel and tire conservation to keep all the vehicles rolling. AAA Idaho employees pledge ten percent or more of their income toward the purchase of war bonds.
1950s – AAA Idaho calls for a driving examination to be conducted before each new license is issued.
1970s – The 1973 Middle East Oil Embargo prompts AAA to start tracking and reporting gas prices.
1980s – As technology continues to expand, AAA creates Supernumber, a system that instantly refers members in need of road service to the nearest AAA-approved assistance.
1990s – To enhance the value of AAA membership, expanded member services include the launch of the Show Your Card and Save program, allowing members to receive discounts at a variety of attractions and retailers. The program is now known as AAA Discounts and Rewards.
2000s and beyond – AAA Idaho continues to expand to meet the needs of members. With Gem State membership now in excess of 120,000 people, Service Centers are opened and refreshed as needed.
In addition to Emergency Roadside Service, Travel and Insurance Services, Travel Store merchandise, AAA Diamond designations for inspected hotels and restaurants, the development of the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, and the creation of various financial products, AAA also engages in Public Affairs efforts to improve safety and mobility on our roads.
“Today represents the kickoff of our centennial year celebration,” Conde said. “We look forward to celebrating this important milestone at events throughout the year. As grateful as we are for our long history of serving members, we’re even more excited about AAA’s future in the great state of Idaho.”