TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – About 40 people showed up at the Twin Falls Public Library last Wednesday, June 8, for a walking tour of the City Park Historic District.

The event was the first such tour the library has hosted, and tour guide Jennifer Hills says she was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who participated.

Many of the city’s old buildings, including several of its churches, were constructed around or near City Park because it served as the centerpiece of town.

“It was very much planned. The park represented the area,” she said, and the nearby courthouse gave Twin Falls its “civic identity.” She said there’s not another building like the courthouse in Idaho.

The streets that appear to have been built haphazardly at odd angles were purposefully designed to coordinate with irrigation runoff and how the sun would hit buildings at certain times of the day.

“Even as cockeyed as it sounds our crooked streets used to be numbered,” Hills said.

Photographer Clarence Bisbee, whose black-and-white photos still decorate many of the buildings in the area, was hired to capture images of Twin Falls that officials would then send to other parts of the West to entice people to come here. One of the aims of his photos, Hills said, was to show people that the community was agriculturally strong.

It seemed to have worked.

“We are a really big little city,” Hills said, noting that several of its buildings are fine examples of memorable architecture.

Boundaries for the City Park Historic District, with most of the buildings having been built between 1909 and 1920 she said, are Hansen Street to Shoshone Street and include Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets. Nearly two dozen sites were on the tour list, as was the park itself, developed in 1904.

Jon Sylva, who walked the tour, has lived in the county for the past 11 years. He said he’s always liked the park and is an avid reader, so he enjoyed most learning about the park and library.

Above is a slideshow of the tour and some of the buildings that participants learned about while walking through a part of Twin Falls that has more history than at first meets the eye. Be sure to read the captions for informational tidbits about the sites.