In 1863, Boise was founded due to its prime location to build a fort. The creation of Fort Boise allowed the city to become a hot spot for many early western pioneers such as fur-trappers, explores, and miners. With many of these men working out of Boise for months at a time with no female attention, they would need some entertainment when they arrived back. In Boise, that location became to be known as Levy’s Alley which was located on Main Street between 6th and 8th. The alley was named after Davis Levy, who purchased the property because of its value being located next to the Fort. By 1872, he developed s grocery store, saloons, brothels, a lunch house, a candy shop, and a wholesale commission and business. By 1891, Levy left the saloon business and received most of his income from renting rooms to women in Boise’s red light district which quickly became to be known as Levy’s Alley.
The brothels he developed where not at any means nice. The rooms were ill-kept and sparsely furnished with a bed in one corner and a small dresser with a washstand and were created for living there for a short period of time. The ladies were a mixed lot, some raw- boned farm girls, some old, and raddled and uncaring, and a few, ambitious and fresh faced. With the high number of men living in Boise, the women were attracted to this profession for its ability to gain money quickly. For the general public, the creation of Levy’s Alley in the middle of Main Street was not at all popular with many Boiseans. In 1896, Mayor Moses Alexander referred to the alley as “monstrous” and “a place where nice people don’t go.”
Levy’s Alley would become a major spot for nightlife until 1909 when the Idaho Statesman investigated the area and exposed many flaws and scandals involving the chief of police and other high ranking members of society. From 1909 to 1972, Levy’s Alley had restrictions placed on the brothels which made the area lose much of its reputation and income. In 1972, the city of Boise decided to build its city hall on the location and a majority of Levy’s Alley was destroyed on the north side of Main Street. Levy’s Alley is important to know when understanding Boise’s history because of the rich night life it started that still exists in the same area present day.