Thursday, October 4, 2012


Moses Alexander–The Countrys First Jewish Governor

Born in 1853 in Bavaria, Moses Alexander didn’t have long before he made the move to New York.  At the age of 14, with no money and no father to provide for them, he and his sisters left for New York.  Upon their arrival, his sisters sent Moses to live with a cousin in Missouri who owned a clothing store, giving Alexander his first job, and unknowlingly starting a legacy.
In 1891, Moses made his move to Boise to open is own clothing business.  It began as a wagon with a running up and down Main Street with the name “Alexander’s One-Price Clothier” on the side.  His business was so successful for just that reason; one price, no more, no less–this also meant no bartering which gave him an edge monetarily over other merchants at this time.  Eventually his business became so successful it had to be moved to a permanent building, Alexanders White Store.  The building is on the corner of 9th and Main and currently houses Zions Bank; the features of the facade of the building are very well maintained.
After his success as business man, he decided to invest with others in a plot on State Street where Temple Beth Israel now stands.  This happened between 1895-96.
After clothing and property, Alexander moved his focus to local government, being elected to his first term as mayor in 1897.  In 1901 during his second elected term, he began bringing a more powerful image to the mayoral office and transforming the face of Boise by prosecuting brothels, professionalizing the Fire Department, and bringing the power to veto to the mayor’s office.
Though he lost his first campaign for governor, in 1916, Moses Alexander became not only Idaho, but the first Jewish Governor in the United States.  His successes are truly admirable, but his love for Boise also stands out as something that seems to sometimes be forgotten in todays political races.  He is quoted
“WITH ME AND BOISE, IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.”

No comments:

Post a Comment