The Walling Ditch, owned by Jerome B. Walling, was an important source of water during the early days of Boise, ID. It appears that the company was a family business that employed, at various times, Jerome Walling’s sons, Enos C. and Nelson B. Walling, and his son-in-law, James Mullany. Following are some news items about the Walling Ditch.
NOTICE: The undersigned is now cleaning out the Boise City Water Ditch, bringing water to the upper part of the city. Those desiring to take water, and pay for the same in work, can have an opportunity to do so by applying immediately for work. J.B. Walling, Superintendent, Boise City, I.T., April 13, 1872. (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, April 13, 1872)
Those who have observed the growth of our city will remember the building of the ditch south of Main street, and the rapid settlement of that part of town lying along the ditch, known as Grove street. This was owing to facilities afforded by the ditch in obtaining water for irrigating purposes. Many fine residences were erected, shade trees, shubbery and fruit trees planted out, and have grown up, so that this street is truly lovely and delightful. In the north or upper side of town there was no ditch, and although this portion of town was considerably well settled up in 1864, and has been growing slowly since that time, the houses are inferior and property cheaper than on the south side. The land is quite as good and the surface level, but the drawback for the want of water was seriously felt, and without this advantage it was plainly evident that this portion of town would never become desirable. After several ineffectual efforts, a ditch was brought in from Boise River covering all this portion of the city. For some cause or other the ditch has not proved profitable to the owner, or all that was necessary for the prosperity of those who depended upon it for watering their trees and gardens. It was, however, largely improved last year, and afforded water the major part of the season. This year the ditch has been farther [sic] improved, and we have every reason to believe it will yield a good supply of water. Mr. J.B. Walling is in charge of the ditch, and there is no doubt but that he understands the business and will keep all this portion of town fully supplied with water during the whole season. He has reduced the water rates, and no man need to grumble, and proposes to insure a supply of water by collecting the rent from time to time as the season advances so that none shall say that they have paid for water they didn’t have. There is no reason why this ditch should not yield as certain a supply of water as the lower ditch, and we are satisfied it will under Mr. Walling’s good management. If this fact is established it will raise the credit of the ditch property, and make the property in the upper portion of town the most desirable. The location is more elevated, and with the same improvements, residences, shade trees and gardens, it would be more beautiful and we doubt not will eventually become more valuable. With the public square well fenced, a good State House erected, shade trees grown up, and the grounds laid out in walks and otherwise ornamented, who would not consider a residences [sic] in this locality as desirable, if not more so, than in any other portion of our city. (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, June 18, 1872)
WATER, WATER: Persons will take notice that water is now running in the Boise Water Ditch, and they are required to clean out the town ditches, preparatory to using it. Terms, one half down and the other half payable the first of July. All persons using the water will be required to pay. — J.B. Walling, Superintendent. (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, May 13, 1873)
WATER! WATER! All persons wanting water from the upper ditch will clean out their ditches and apply to me for water. — J.B. Walling (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, May 20, 1876)
GET READY FOR WATER: Parties who want water from the Walling ditch will attend to putting in taps or boxes immediately, as it will be inconvenient to put them in when the ditch is full of water. The water will be let into the ditch in three of four days. — James Mullaney, manager of the Walling ditch (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, April 19, 1881)
NO DAMS: All persons are notified not to put any dam or dams in the Walling Ditch, as any or all persons who do so after the publication of this notice will be prosecuted. — James Mullaney, Superintendent (Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, August 2, 1881)
The bridge across the Walling ditch, on the Warm Springs road, is an old rattletrap. It is not half as wide as it ought to be, the plank should be thicker, put on new stringers and fastened down, and a good railing put up at each end of the bridge. It is only a miracle that some accident has not happened at this place and we hope the road supervisor of that district will see that a new and substantial bridge is made over that ditch. And while he is mending his ways in this respect, let him cause the road to be opened through Bob Wilson’s place to its proper place. We have read in the scriptures that the road to the penitentiary is “broad and smooth,” and we are in scripture land. (Idaho Statesman, September 23, 1881)
Four-fifths of the Walling Ditch was sold by J.B. Walling to Joseph Perrault on Monday last for $10,500, and one fifth by E.L. Curtis to R.Z. Johnson. (Idaho Daily Statesman, March 7, 1888)
It will be seen that Mr. Walling has inserted an advertisement in our columns in which he requests that all ditches that take water from his own be cleaned out. In addiiton to this Marshall Iseli puts in his demand and says they must be, or he will enforce the city ordinances in that direction, as he does not mean that every sidewalk and street on the line dependent upon that ditch shall be converted into a mud puddle. (Idaho Daily Statesman, March 31, 1888)
The marshal had the water shut off in the Walling ditch yesterday because property owners had not complied with the law and some of the streets became flooded. People should clean out their [unclear]. The marshal does not wish to be severe and the acts of the negligent cause others to suffer. The city cannot forebear much longer. (Idaho Daily Statesman, April 10, 1888)
Water from the Walling ditch is improving vegetation on the north side of town very much. (Idaho Daily Statesman, April 10, 1888).
The expression of intention made by Mr. Joseph Perrault, as the representative of the owners of the Walling ditch, to no longer sell irrigating water to the people of Boise City, deserves consideration. It is to be presumed that Mr. Perrault would not make such a statement unless he meant it, and if the owners of the Walling ditch do intend to discontinue running water into the city, some movements should be made at once to arrange for an irrigation supply. It will not do to permit Boise’s beautiful trees and lawns to die for lack of irrigation, and more rneans than the water company’s supply will undoubtedly need to be obtained. (Idaho Daily Statesman, September 12, 1891).
Curlew gulch is as dry as a bone. The water supply from the city serves for drinking and culinary purposes, while the horses get their drink from the Walling ditch. (Idaho Daily Statesman, October 4, 1891)
The city council has ordered the bridge across the Walling ditch at Ninth street to be repaired. The owners of the ditch refused to repair the bridge. The city will do so and bring suit to recover the cost in the event of the Grove street ditch case being decided in its favor. (Idaho Daily Statesman, October 14, 1899)