You may think of other states that lead the way in technology, athletics, education, entertainment or business but Idaho has some pretty significant firsts.  In fact, if it wasn’t for Idaho, life in America might be very different today.  For example: 

The Blue Turf 

It was 1986 when Boise State installed the blue turf at what is now Albertson’s Stadium.  At that time it was highly unusual and controversial.  According to NCAA rules, the color of the football field’s turf was never specified, so it was rather reluctantly allowed.  Today, it's called, “The Boise State Rule,” which has NOT been adopted by the NFL. 

Bowling Green Falcons v Boise State Broncos
Jonathan Ferrey

The Fosbury Flop 

In 1968, Dick Fosbury won the high jump event for Team USA and set an Olympic record with his back-first high jumping style, which is the most common way people do the high jump today but in 1968, not only had it never been seen before, they weren’t sure it should even be allowed!  This technique was invented while he was attending Ketchum High School before going on to college at Oregon. 

The Chair Lift 

You couldn’t imagine any ski resort without a chair lift today, but it wasn’t until 1936 that the very first chairlift was installed.  The ski resort to make this extraordinary installation was in Sun Valley, Idaho, home to the first three chair lifts ever! 

Winter mountains panorama with ski slopes and ski lifts
Credit: Remedios | Getty Images/iStockphoto

The State Seal 

No, we’re not home to the first state seal, but Idaho is the first and only state to have a state seal that was designed by a woman.  Emma Edwards Green of Boise City painted the seal that was eventually adopted by the state legislature in 1891.  Now that seal is proudly displayed on the Idaho State Flag. 


Geothermal Heat 

In 1890, Boise became the first city in the country to have a geothermal system to heat buildings and water.  This natural, cost effective way to provide heat is still being used today at the Boise City Hall and ten buildings at Boise State. 

Downtown Boise Idaho just after sundown with Capital building
Credit: Steve Frost | knowlesgallery

The Television 

Believe it or not, without Idaho, you may have never heard of Netflix, Disney Plus or CNN because the TV was invented right here!  While in high school in Rigby, Idaho, a student named Philo Farnsworth drew up blueprints for the first television.  He invented a bunch of other stuff too, but the TV is a pretty big deal, so hopefully he got some extra credit for it. 

Looking the tv at home
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Milan Markovic

The Floating Green 

The Coeur D’Alene Resort Golf Course is home to the world’s first and only floating green.  Not only does it float but it also moves!  Depending on the event and the level of the golfers, this hole can be moved as far back as 220 yards from the championship tees.     


With the amount of tech companies moving into the state, it won’t be long until we’ll need to update this list of Idaho firsts. 

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