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Idaho City

Area Address Building Status Architectural Style
Beyond Boise N/A
Boise, Idaho 83631
Public Various

The Boise County Courthouse was built in 1871 and was completed in 3 months. Since it was built of brick instead of wood, it was more intolerant to fire damage. Clay bricks and mortar makes this building one of the most structurally sound in all of Idaho City. Originally, the floorboards were laid wide enough in the building to allow room for the common tobacco chewer to spit into. There are great iron folding doors in the front, each weighing a half a ton, and were made in San Francisco. When first built, it was used as a general store, then a hardware shop, then was used as the Orchard Hotel. Finally in 1909 the county bought the building to serve for legal purposes. It is still used today and several sessions run throughout the week. The architecture is seen through the long gables and roof lines, the tall heavy doorways, and the wrap around porches with tall beams all representing what the 1800s stood for. In only 29 days, Postmaster James Pinney built what was the Montgomery St. Post Office. This was to replace the one that burned in the second great fire of 1867. Pinney built the structure in the same year and held a circulating library and small mercantile store. In '72 the store began to hold meat products as well as the post office half; it remained a post office until 1910. Later in 1958 the building was given to the city, who with the help of the new Idaho City Historical Society made it into the Boise Basin Museum, what it is today. The building went through renovations in the 1970s to fix the sagging metal roof and the crumbling brick. The Boise Basin Museum structurally is one of the most interesting in all of Idaho City. It features the long iron doors that look similar to those on the court house and a very interesting front gable brick layout that seems to not fit in at all. It is used even today most days in the week as Idaho City's only museum for the rich history of the town. The building was originally the Montgomery Street post office to replace the first one destroyed by the first major fire. The building was astoundingly built in 29 days and still remains structurally well today. It remained a post office until 1910, and in 1958 was opened to the public for a museum. One of the most modern of the buildings in Idaho City is Idaho City High School, home of the blue-and-gold wildcats. This building is unique from standard high schools in that it had to accompany snow-proof framework. Because of this is has a pitched roof and bright blue metal sheet roofing, standard on cabins and mountainous houses that lets the snow slide off very easily. The school has a graduating class of about 30 each year and has the Idaho City Middle School and Basin Elementary right next to it. The campus also has a construction class wing. One the most interesting and highly cultural building is what is nicknamed "the sluicebox." Not a real residence, but a large and highly interesting building with mounds and mounds of stuff. License plates, road signs, advertisements, beer bottle collections, rusty old farm implications, and who knows what else. Located on a prominent corner on the way to the high school, the sluicebox stands as a highly interesting tourist attraction. The City Hall was originally a schoolhouse that served for that purpose for 70 years. The original skeleton was finished in July of 1891, but the funds to complete the building were lacking. So, the school trustee's of the time volunteered to raise money and actually build the structure, and the building was completed in the following September. When the current grade school was constructed in 1963, the building officially became the city hall. The unique gable lines that parallel each other and the bell tower on the top of the building help to give it that school house look. Although it is simple, intricate work was placed into it to make it look very professional. The Idaho World is the oldest newspaper in Idaho and was founded in 1863 by Joseph and Thomas Butler. The press was busy day in and day out reaching the news of the country to the local miners. Many times the papers were bought in pure gold since that was all the miners had. Also, in the heat of the Civil war, this news paper worked extra hard to publish a Pro-confederate newspaper and a pro- Union paper. The building is one of Idaho City's few buildings that survived the great fires because of its brick and iron structure and a dirt filled roof to prevent further fire damage if possible. The simplicity of the building shows how the architecture at the time really wasn?t a major factor to consider. At that point in time, four walls and roof satisfied any miner.In way of more recent Idaho City architecture stands the Chalet, set towards the entrance of the town on Highway 21. Built in 1969, today the Chalet is owned by the 6th owners, Gary and Debbie Barnes. The word "chalet" is a Swiss originated building with a very steep roof; this building's roof comes all the way to the ground. It makes the structure stand out, but becomes inefficient in a world of square placements. The Barnes bought the Chalet in 1984 and then leased it twice stating, "That was our mistake . . . because the business went sour." It officially closed in 2005.

Building submitted by Jarret and Chad Bell

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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 info@boisearchitecture.org.