Where Did the Mysterious Concrete Arrows Near I-84 Come From?
Some of them are in areas so remote, the only way people can explain them is by pointing to the skies of above and saying aliens put them there. So far there's been over 30 UFO sightings reported in Idaho this year, so that's not such a far fetched explanation. But no, it wasn't aliens.
If you wander far enough off of I-84 east of Boise, heading toward Mountain Home, you may stumble upon several gigantic concrete arrows measuring over 50 feet. They're old. They're cracked. There are weeds growing out of them and because there's no buildings around them, it's hard to figure out who to ask about them.
Our engineer and resident history buff, Jordan, knew all about them and when he was living in Reno almost hiked to one to see it in person. Turns out the arrows first appeared in the late 1920s, long before there was GPS or satellite technology to help pilots navigate the country. During that day and age, pilots would have to spot landmarks from the sky to help find their way from Point A to Point B, something you couldn't do very well at night. With the Pony Express mail delivery system defunct, that wasn't good news if you were trying to get a letter from the east coast to the west coast in a timely manner.
According to an article by Jeopardy champion, Ken Jennings, these arrows were the solution to helping air mail pilots figure out how to get from New York to San Francisco in less then 48 hours rather than weeks at a time.
Back then, the arrows weren't just there by themselves. Each arrow site, also had a tower with a beacon light on top of it and a generator shed to keep the beacon lit in the dark. Located 10-25 miles apart, the arrows literally pointed the way across America.
Boise and the rest of the state of Idaho wasn't along the original 1920s route from New York to San Francisco, but was added to several smaller contract air mail routes like one running from Salt Lake to Pasco, WA. That's where the arrows near Boise came from!
Many of the arrows that were finished in 1926 are still there, but have aged quite a bit over time. Their original yellow paint has faded, but based on some sharper images from the Arrows Across America program some have been repainted a bright orange color.
These are the ones closest to us that you can still see on Google Earth! If you want a more detailed picture, click the name of the arrow to see more!