New book documents Kuna history

5:10 pm July 5th, 2012

By Laura Colvin

Kuna Melba News editor

If a picture speaks a thousand words, Sharon Fisher’s new book speaks volumes about the history of Kuna.

What did Kuna’s first fleet of school buses look like? What did vendors hock at “Karnival Days” in 1915? What did the football team’s uniform look like in the 1930s? What kind of epidemic is said to have taken the lives of 11 children in Kuna’s earliest settlement?

And that’s just the beginning of the history Fisher included in the pages of “Kuna,” part of Arcadia Publishing’s popular “Images of America” series. “Kuna” is set for release July 9.

Fisher, a Kuna resident since 2002, said she hopes the book will help promote the community’s growing interest in learning about and preserving the local heritage.

“I hope it gives people an awareness and appreciation of our history,” said Fisher, who began working on the book about a year ago. “I hope, maybe, they’ll look around town and realize, ‘Wow, that building has been there a long time.’”

But the scope of “Kuna” reaches far beyond the city’s its buildings.

The book contains information and more than 180 photographs about the town’s early—albeit short-lived—settlement in the 1880s, along with the two massive projects that not only allowed for a rebirth of Kuna, but changed the way of life for many.

Fisher’s book also documents the area’s rich agricultural history and geographical interests, and contains biographical information on many of the early settlers who made significant contributions to establishing the town.

The list includes names even some of today’s youngest citizens will recognize; names such as D.R. Hubbard and Fremont Teed, each a namesake for one of Kuna’s seven current elementary schools.

“Kuna” also contains chapters on local housing, histories of school and church communities, and the evolution of downtown Kuna.

“I’ve always been interested in old stuff,” said Fisher, who lives in a 1946 farmhouse in Kuna, which she purchased partly because it reminded her of the home she grew up in. “When I look around town I wonder how many little farm houses just like mine were torn down to make room for subdivisions. It just breaks my heart.”

Fisher is the principal consultant for Gem State Community Development. She is a member of Preservation Idaho and of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has written about Kuna history for a variety of sources including the Kuna Melba News, This is Kuna, and Idaho magazine.

An appointment to the Ada County Historic Preservation Council, where she serves as secretary, allows her the opportunity not only to see, study and enjoy the county’s rich history and architectural treasures, but to take an active role in preservation.

That role also helped her see that when it comes to preserving the  past, Kuna stacks up against any of its neighboring towns.

“People don’t realize how much history our town has,” Fisher said.

Copies of “Kuna,” will be available during Kuna Days, Aug. 3-4, and also available at the Kuna History Center and at the Kuna location of both Paul’s and Walgreen’s.

In the months ahead, Fisher will also make public appearances around the Treasure Valley to talk about and sign copies of her book.

“I was very fortunate to get all sorts of help from a lot of different people,” she said, noting her sources included many local people as well as former Kuna residents who moved away years ago, even a librarian from Seattle.

Fisher gives each his or her due in the book’s acknowledgment page.

“Kuna,” $21.99, is available from Arcadia Publishing at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at or 888-313-2665.

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