Investigators with the Boise Fire Department have determined that last night’s fire at the Gene Harris Bandshell was human caused. The investigation has now been turned over to the Boise Police Department.
Any additional details regarding the case will be released by Boise Police.
As for the future of the bandshell, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department will now hire a disaster cleanup crew to go in and 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 Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation director. “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 has every intention of repairing the beloved 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 & Fennel architectural firm, and was constructed in a mission revival style with a stucco exterior. 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 contractor for the bandshell was selected in April 1928.
The bandshell was dedicated on Sunday, July 8, 1928 with remarks from former mayor of the City of Boise, Eugene B. Sherman and Mayor Walter Hansen. This event included several solo songs from Mrs. Rosene, several pieces from the Boise Male quartet, and a band program that played about twelve songs with an intermission. A crowd of 2000 people watched, sitting on the grass or parked in their automobiles.
The Julia Davis Park bandshell was renamed the Gene Harris band shell in 2000, in honor of the jazz musician, Gene Harris, who loved playing there.