Investigators with the Boise Fire Department have determined that Monday night’s fire at the Gene Harris Bandshell in Julia Davis Park in Boise was human-caused. The investigation has now been turned over to the Boise Police Department.
As for the future of the Bandshell, Boise Parks and Recreation Department officials say they will now hire a disaster cleanup crew to clean the interior and exterior of the historic structure.
Julia Davis Park remains open, but the Bandshell will be fenced off for the foreseeable future. Park users are asked to stay away from the structure and out of all closed areas.
“We are deeply saddened to see the damage done to this historic Boise landmark,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We are hopeful the Gene Harris Bandshell can be restored so that we can continue to host community events and create lasting memories in Julia Davis Park for generations to come.”
The Gene Harris Bandshell is insured and the City of Boise intends to repairing the well-known community gathering place, but a damage assessment must be completed before a restoration plan can be determined.
The Boise City Department of Arts and History provided this information on the Gene Harris Bandshell:
The Bandshell was designed by the Wayland and Fennel architectural firm, and was constructed in a “mission revival style” with a stucco exterior, according to the Boise City Department of Arts and History. Its style was likely inspired by the construction of the Boise Depot in 1925. When the Depot was completed, it inspired a flurry of commercial and residential structures in a similar style.
The Bandshell was dedicated on Sunday, July 8, 1928 with remarks from former Boise City mayor Eugene B. Sherman and then-current Mayor Walter Hansen. This event included musical performances with a crowd of about 2,000 attending, either sitting on the grass or parked in their automobiles.
The Julia Davis Park Bandshell was renamed the Gene Harris Bandshell in 2000, in honor of the jazz musician, Gene Harris, who loved playing there.