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America’s 10 Most Unique State Capitals

America’s 10 Most Unique State Capitals

8. Boise, Idaho

Sequestered on the Boise River in the southwest of Idaho against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Boise is a convergence of natural beauty, cultural prowess and financial prospects for residents.

In 1834, Fort Boise was created by British fur traders, but it was abandoned in 1854 because of skirmishes with Native Americans.  In 1863, construction of a new Fort Boise and the town site started. The city’s strategic location at the Oregon Trail intersection made it an excellent spot for trade and it was incorporated as the state capital in 1890.

Boise photo
Photo by Kevin Rank

In the early part of the 19th century, French fur trappers sighted the Boise River and are said to have exulted with the words, “Les Bois! Les Bois! Voyez Les Bois!” – Meaning “The Woods! The Woods! Look, The Woods!” People eventually began to settle in this oasis, and the name gradually evolved from Bois to Boise.

A few facts about Boise:

  • A to-scale imitation of the Liberty Bell is present in front of the Boise Capital building – minus a crack.
  • The largest potato in the world is a landmark of Idaho and rests during winters in Boise.

Boise follows a mayor-council form of government.

Boise is home to the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the Treefort Music Fest every year.

7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge Louisiana photo
Photo by Ken Lund

Resting serenely on the Mississippi River’s eastern bank, Baton Rouge is a political hub and a medley of economic growth with petrochemical, research, medical and technology industries thriving here.

Baton Rouge enjoys a premium geographic location with convenient access to four major freight lines. The city was named as the state capital in 1846 for the first time. When the state withdrew from America in 1861, the capital was temporarily shifted to New Orleans but was re-incorporated in 1882.

In 1699, French explorers noticed a red cypress tree with a stripped bark that formed the border between the tribal hunting grounds of Bayou Goula and Houma. They named it “le baton rouge” or red stick. Since then, the city has been known as Baton Rouge.

A few facts about Baton Rouge:

  • Baton Rouge was the only American Revolution site where a war was declared, apart from the original colonies.
  • This historic catfish town got its nickname because locals could catch catfish from their porches during flooding.

Baton Rouge follows a Mayor-President and Metropolitan Council form of government.

Baton Rouge hosts a multitude of Mardi Gras parades with the biggest one taking place in the historic Spanish town. Other interesting festivals include the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair and the Bayou Country Superfest.

6.  Concord, New Hampshire

Concord New Hampshire photo
Photo by Ken Lund

Lying tranquilly in the center of the Merrimack River, Concord in New Hampshire is a mix of political engagements, residential neighborhoods, local businesses and entertainment opportunities.

Concord’s central location made it a hub for trade and commerce, which made it a logical choice to become the state capital. The city has been the state capital since 1808.

The town was originally named Rumford in 1734 after Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford. In 1765, it was renamed Concord following a border dispute between Bow and Rumford. The name Concord was meant to reflect new harmony or ‘concord’ between the squabbling towns.

A few facts about Concord:

  • The world’s most hated early morning alarm clock device was built in 1787 in Concord.
  • Concord housed the creation of the world’s largest meatball at 222 pounds, which was used to feed the homeless. Sadly, the eatery that created it is now closed.

Concord operates through the manager-council form of government.

It hosts the SNOB Film Festival which attracts thousands of filmmakers and films to Concord and is the reason for the mushrooming of several Red River Theaters in the region. The city also features the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, which includes a planetarium and space museum to commemorate two resident astronauts.


Lana Pelly Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.


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