Boise’s Historical Downtown Showcases Generation Steam-Generating Technologies

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Screenshot 2023 02 01 at 8.30.35 AMIn the heart of Boise lays a historical downtown area that displays vintage steam engines as well as modern steam boilers for all to see. Steam has been such an important component to so many systems in numerous industries, including potato processing, healthcare, and many others. State-of-the-art technologies to reduce emissions, increase efficiencies, and operate quietly are now utilized; however, it’s easy to see the similarities from the humble vintage designs to the modern boiler.


At the end of the 1990s, J.R. Simplot – a local businessman – purchased 110 vintage and rare steam engines, which he envisioned would be showcased in a Boise Museum someday. After his death, the family ultimately provide many of these historical treasures to be on full display in downtown Boise as part of the Jacks Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) project, a $70 million, five-story complex housed on 7.5 acres in the Boise Downtown District. Many of these wonderful vintage steam tractors and engines are encased in glass enclosures and on display.

In 2018, when St. Luke’s Hospital designed its new healthcare facility, administrators embraced the traditional values of the downtown area while incorporating a modern twist. When contractors installed the new Cleaver-Brooks CBEX steam boilers, they became an art installation, of sorts, encased behind glass walls, just like the rare steam tractors. The new facility was designed to fit into this significant historical portion of downtown Boise while providing the dependability and reliability required for a hospital of this caliber to provide necessary treatment for its patients.

Screenshot 2023 02 01 at 8.30.26 AM 1The CBEX boiler design features modern emissions technology to reduce NOx, incorporates heat recovery and advanced combustion controls for high efficiency, and offers quiet boiler equipment with the internal register burner design.  Furthermore, the stack systems connected to the new boilers are equipped with advanced internal silencers to ensure quiet operation. To achieve the high efficiency, the CBEX boiler is designed for optimal combustion with a large furnace and advanced heat transfer fire tubes. A flue gas heat recovery economizer is mounted atop each boiler to recover any lost Btus and transfer that recovered heat to the incoming feed water.

The steam plant design with the open glass walls hits the mark for the historical area. The addition of this moderns team plant beautifully paints the picture of the region’s past and how far technology has come. The two eras of steam-generating equipment fit together well in Boise, and a leisurely walk around town offers wonderful views to the equipment that is truly the heart of the system for so many applications.

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By Steve Farnes, Director of Sales
Printed in November 2022 Issue of Today’s Boiler Magazine