Boise 360 Blog
A Community of Preservationists
December 8, 2012
As I made the drive to this year’s National Preservation Conference in Spokane, my expectations as a first time attendee were essentially a blank slate. While I hoped to fill my days with informative education sessions, picturesque field trips to historic sites and exciting networking opportunities, the lesson I ultimately left with was much more heartening. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly gained insightful knowledge into an array of preservation related issues. From the proper restoration of windows to the comingling of agricultural practices and historic site management, I was enlightened to the existence of an endless list of possible avenues for preservation. In addition, my poor camera’s memory card can attest to plethora of beautifully constructed buildings and landscapes in the Spokane area that I was lucky enough to visit. Whether it was while strolling through one of the city’s impeccably crafted historic cemeteries or driving down the tree-lined boulevards of the Rockwood Terrace Addition, I was repeatedly reminded of my initial attraction to the aesthetic side of the preservation field.
My fundamental realization, however, was centered around the idea of community. As is true with any conference, networking opportunities were abundant. Networking in preservation, however, struck me as being unlike that of any other field. Not only did many people have connections throughout the country, but there were genuine friendships that spanned the globe. The sense of community, from small towns in Idaho to a metropolis like New York City, was unparalleled. Every person I met, current students and seasoned professionals alike, greeted me with unyielding kindness and willingness to assist me in any way I might need. Even my ability to attend the conference, for example, was made possible by the generosity of the people at the Oregon Cultural Trust and Historic Preservation League of Oregon. Also, as a prospective graduate student, I was able to chat with students, alumni, and friends of many of the nation’s preservation programs. Despite the fact that after four days of memorable interactions I now wholeheartedly want to attend all of these programs, I left with a sense of comfort. No matter where I end up next year, I know that I will be a part of this great collective. And in the end, I suppose I shouldn’t have been that surprised –this group of people largely mirrors the community minded ideals that they strive to preserve on a daily basis.
by Amber Anderson, Preservation Idaho Education Committee member
December 5, 2012
I’ll be the first to admit it: I was nervous about spending five days in the desert with over twenty people I had never met. However, when I originally read the description for the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Field School, I knew I had to attend. While it promised a week of hand’s on preservation learning at an historic hotel in southeastern Oregon, it ultimately exceeded my expectations. Even the acts of waking up at an hour unseen by me in many years, breaking not only my sunglasses but also a shoe, sleeping in a tent with complete strangers, and a limited number of bathroom facilities which rivaled even that of my years spent in college dorms, added an irreplaceable character to the experience that I will never forget.
While the structure of each day spent at field school was relatively similar, the skills and information learned varied greatly. Each morning began around 6:30am by waking to that chilly air that can only come just before sunrise. Then after a few rounds of strong coffee and an excellent breakfast prepared by our generous cook, we packed our lunches and left our campsite at P Ranch for work at the Frenchglen Hotel. The days spent at the hotel were filled with lessons on the repair, removal, and replacement of windows, siding, and roofing. And, as the description promised, we spent a substantial amount of time actually participating in these preservation practices. In the evening, after a long day’s work in Frenchglen’s beautiful sunshine and ninety degree weather, we would all gather for a much needed meal back at P ranch. I’m not sure whether it was the work of an extremely skilled cook or the fact that we had been physically active all day, but those dinners were some of the best meals I’ve ever had. From homemade pork stew to beef stroganoff, we definitely ate well. And finally, each night was ended by a lecture on different preservation related topics. These lectures ranged from preservation career opportunities to the historic barns of the Blitzen River Valley. After an hour of informative lesson, everyone would begin to meander back to their tents to be serenaded to sleep by a choir of crickets, coyotes, and frogs.
Although I could go on for hours about the plethora of skills and information learned during the week, I’ll try to keep it short. I spent my first day on site absorbing as much information as possible about historic windows. We reviewed the intricate parts and assembly of these windows, removed failing paint and caulking, and prepared them for reinstallation with a wood treatment and primer –all while being sure to contain hazardous lead paint chips. My second day was spent atop the kitchen roof repairing hastily applied flashing and broken siding. While the repair work was intriguing, the amazing view of the wildlife refuge across from the hotel was definitely one of the week’s highlights. Consequently, I filled my fourth and fifth days with the reshingling of the hotel’s front porch roof –which provided an even better view of the refuge. Once we had learned the ins and outs of shingle selection and placement (a more complicated process than I had imagined), we went to work. By the end of the week all of the windows had been put back in place, fresh counter flashing sealed the kitchen roof’s connection to the rest of the hotel, newly painted siding began to blend in with the rest, and the porch roof that we had shingled ourselves, crowned in reddish brown cedar, was like the icing on the cake.
Back tracking a little, the third day of field school was mostly devoted to a field trip of historic barns in the area. The night prior to the field trip included a lecture on the history of the French-Glenn Livestock Company, Peter French, and the long list of ranches that were established during this time. Our field trip was filled with barn tours, the explanation of preservation techniques applied to the barns, and enough scenery to fill my camera’s memory card. While we visited several, the most well known structure of the day was the Peter French Round Barn. An amazing architectural feat, the interior support system of this barn would wow even the most talented of architects.
All in all, the week was a success. From learning the names of tools and materials, to the actual skills of window refinishing, siding replacement, and a roof rehabilitation, the field school undoubtedly lived up to its description. The evening lectures and field trip enhanced everything by placing the work we were doing in both a modern and historic context. And as the week came to a close, I knew that the field school would prove to be an invaluable experience. Whether it be through the technical and historical knowledge I gained, the connections made with an amazing group of people, or simply the willingness to take a chance on something unfamiliar, my time in Frenchglen will continue to help guide me in my educational and career related goals for many years to come.
by Amber Anderson, Preservation Idaho Education Committee member
The Haunted Buildings of Boise
October 17, 2011
In an enchanted world where dead men tell no tales, buildings can contain bone chilling secrets. In celebration of Halloween, the BAP staff decided to blog some blood-curdling stories of haunted houses and spooky buildings throughout the city of Boise. Even in our small city, there are numerous stories of the undead to be heard. From the undesired screams of the murderous “chop chop” house, to the haunted door at the Westside Drive-in, the BAP is on the ghouly scene.
Pride and Prejudice
September 26, 2011
For all of us that have traveled outside of this fair state, we know what kind of reaction we get when we tell people that we hail from Idaho. That step-back, eyebrow-scrunching, oh-what-a-poor-little-hick reaction we get from others who don’t know the immense beauty and historical value of our state may get under our skin. Some of us may try to rationalize where we come from, “Oh, but I am from Boise: the only cool part of Idaho,” or “Luckily, I live in Sun Valley, so I see tons of celebrities on the slopes and such.”
“Big name” states like California, New York or Texas may look down on residents from the less-populated states, such as Kansas, Idaho or North Dakota, but are they completely to blame for their reaction? Let’s admit it, the press hasn’t exactly promoted Idaho in the past few years; what with the whole Larry Craig scandal, the hit movie Napolean Dynamite and the Robert Manwill search.
In history, there has always been a division between civilizations in the same region. Want a prime example? Try the Union North versus the Confederate South in the American Civil War. Look at North and South Korea. Listen to a northern Italian talk about those “dirty, good-for-nothing” southern Italians. Geography has always played an important role in how we define ourselves, and many of us are guilty of dividing our own state by these means. Here in southern Idaho, and especially in Boise, we can disassociate ourselves with those “no-good, Republican, farming and gun-firing hicks” of northern Idaho. Up in the north of Idaho, being a “granola-eating, BSU Bronco-supporting, ski bum, liberal pansy” southerner could just be the worst thing ever.
Ideas like this, the association of populations based on where they happen to be in the geography of a region, have always and will always be around. We see support of these “class” divisions in social media, like the Facebook group entitled, “I’m not from Idaho, I’m from Boise. There is a difference.”
The question that plagues us is this: what is it about our fair state that we should boast about and should unite us with one another? How about Idaho’s history with mining? In the late 1800’s, our very own Blaine County was booming full of hopefuls searching to get rich quickly by discovering gold. This impacted not only the economy and population of Idaho, but the Chinese population in Boise. Did you know that for over 65 years, Front and 8th Street in Boise was a Chinatown? Unfortunately it was torn down in 1970, but the impact has lasted through modern day.
How about the first public university in Idaho? This school was the only college in our state for 71 years, and is still the only accredited law school. That’s right, the University of Idaho in Latah County may not be a rival in football against Boise State University, but BSU is no competition for U of I in terms of history.
How about cool architecture? We aren’t just talking about the Cathedral of the Rockies when we discuss Gothic Revival buildings. How about the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Salmon, Idaho? We may not notice, but Salmon is actually chock-full of historic architecture; next time you are up there, check out the Odd Fellows Hall, which is an awesome example of a Greek Revival building. Looking for something more modern? How about the Washington County Courthouse, which was designed by some of our favorite local architects, John Tourtellotte and Charles Hummel, in a Modern/Art Deco style.
All in all, folks, is it so bad to be from Moscow? Or how about from Challis? Society has always divided itself based upon geography, and this can be seen in countless cultures of history. For every reason that human nature has to divide us, though, we find a reason to strike back. Funny enough, we are all a lot more connected than we think. If we keep looking back into history, we can find reasons to unite in our present and our future.
What We Think
August 10, 2011
School starts in two weeks but the BAP Student Advisory Board (SAB) at Boise High has been at work this summer on new projects. We'll be meeting one more time before school starts to focus in on the upcoming school year. With that in mind, here is a "blast from the past" featuring some most excellent Timberline SAB students.
(Originally published March 10, 2010)
Written by Caroline W.
So, what do teenagers do in their spare time these days?
For most folks, any activity related to architecture or preservation probably wouldn’t be their first – or second – guess. They, however, haven’t met us.
That’s right – for a certain “crazy” group of kids at Timberline High, running around town collecting stories and documenting history is what we do.
The Boise Architecture Project (BAP) Student Advisory Board is a group of students who have shown a special interest in the Boise community. We blog for you here, we document cool local buildings, and we help determine future projects for the BAP. We also eat lunch together once a month, and the conversation lately has focused on why we are all involved in this project.
The only plausible conclusion is that the Student Advisory Board is quite simply a unique group of people. We’re not slackers. We don’t play on our iPods all day long, and we don’t have our cell phones glued to our palms. Dare I say it – we’re responsible teenagers. We have a real enthusiasm for the BAP, which is why we work so hard for it.
But enough from me; allow me to introduce you to the members of the Student Advisory Board themselves:
Nate V. – “The architecture of a building is the cover of the building that people rarely care about but judge often. We at the BAP are trying to surpass these trifling judgments and educate ourselves and others to realize the importance of the building.” (Special note: Nate is currently serving on the board of directors with Preservation Idaho, influencing preservation issues statewide. Woot BAP!)
Jarrett B. – “Architecture is important to me because it’s ‘living history.’ The BAP provides an important vehicle for students to discover appreciation in architectural perspective.” (You should know that Jarrett’s photographs of the WPA building, North Junior High, won a finalist award in last year’s Idaho State Historical Society’s photography contest. Mmhmm that’s right!)
Ivan V. – “Expanding the collective knowledge by getting histories and personal stories of individuals is what’s so cool about the BAP. And the opportunity to learn about architectural styles and the periods associated with them.” (Remember Ivan? A couple of months ago, he wrote a modernism blog about Frank Lloyd Wright that racked up comments and likes on Facebook like you wouldn’t believe.)
Will F. – “BAP is important because it’s an outlet for people who want to learn more about architecture. It’s different because students are actually interested in it, and it’s a successful program.” (Will’s favorite pastime? Historic building hunting in his car.)
Kelly W. – “BAP lets me contribute to the school and the community by spreading awareness about architecture and doing awesome stuff like picketing and going to rallies. It helps make people realize that Boise actually has worthwhile places, and that historic buildings should be preserved.“ (Did you attend protests in high school? Kelly – along with several other BAP students – did, and they were a critical voice in the local effort to save Cole Elementary School.)
Brody C. – “Architecture and historic preservation are fountains of joy. By preserving architecture, we preserve the history surrounding the time period of construction.” (Brody got to take the Idaho Candy Company’s factory tour, and he brought a bunch of free Idaho Spud Bars back to class. Seems like a pretty sweet experience to me.)
Kim M. – “BAP allows me to look at buildings differently. With the buildings beauty magnified, I’m more excited to learn about them.” (You should know that Kim is the person I am attempting to emulate. Last semester she blogged, protested, and had a major influence on the architectural community here in town.)
Jazz P. – “The Boise Architecture Project is not only making the memorable buildings of Boise exciting, but is re-introducing the importance of preserving culture and history within the city. ” (As for Jazz, all I can say is that she is really excited to visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation headquarters on our trip to Washington in a couple of weeks. Oh wait, so am I!)
Now, we’ve said our piece – what are other students doing in their hometowns to preserve history? We want to hear from you.
Carolyn W. is a student at Boise’s Timberline High School and is participating in the Boise Architecture Project. You can follow the students here on the PreservationNation blog and on their Flickr photostream. Also, get daily updates from their teacher, Doug StanWiens, on Twitter.
The BAP is an education project, not a commercial site. All pictures on this website were taken by BAP participants unless otherwise noted. Student research was compiled from interviews with building owners, architects, and/or occupants, with help from preservation experts in the community. We try our best to do quality research but we cannot guarantee the veracity of our oral and historical research. If you see an inaccuracy, please help us by emailing BAP advisor Doug StanWiens at email@example.com.