Written and researched by Christina Phillips with an architectural contribution by Dan Everhart.

From the late 1800s through the early 1900s, homes in Pocatello, Idaho, were being constructed from lavish, hard-to-find materials brought in daily by railroad trains around the country to railroad workers who were building homes they had previously only been able to dream of. But Pocatello’s most beautiful home was built from local materials for a man who was not a “railroader.”

Standrod Mansion, Pocatello

Standrod Mansion, Pocatello

Standrod Mansion, Pocatello

Built in 1902, Pocatello’s Standrod Mansion is a two-story home on a magnificent lot at 648 North Garfield. The house is one of only a handful of Idaho homes designed in the Chateauesque style, which features detailing loosely based on the monumental 16th-century chateaus of France. Biltmore, the North Carolina home of George W. Vanderbilt, is the best known residential example of this often palatial style. While the Standrod Mansion is substantially smaller than the Biltmore, the two share some stylistic similarities, the most obvious being the prominent corner tower with its steep candle-snuffer roof. A smaller decorative tower at the opposite end of the façade supports an open iron pinnacle and finial. Between the towers, a centrally located, steeply gabled, parapetted wall dormer is supported by scrolled brackets and features an “S” for Standrod. Though the spindlework porch is more indicative of the Queen Anne style, other typical Chateauesque elements of this house include its steeply pitched hipped roof with ornamental metal cresting, polychrome stone walls, and shallow relief carving that appears in various masonry aspects of the structure. The mansion’s interior features leaded glass windows, French marble on the fireplaces and washbasins, and golden oak flooring throughout. The legendary mansion took seven to nine years to construct and cost $12,000–the equivalent of over $300,000 today. Unlike other homes in the neighborhood, the Standrod Mansion was built from local sandstone brought from McCammon, Idaho, by horse and wagon. Another difference between the Standrod Mansion and other Pocatello homes was the architect.

Most of Pocatello’s new grand homes were designed by an architect named Frank Paradice, but Judge Standrod decided to take a chance on Marcus Grundfor to build his “castle.”

Most of Pocatello’s new grand homes were designed by an architect named Frank Paradice, but Judge Standrod decided to take a chance on Marcus Grundfor to build his “castle.” While not as well known in the community as Frank Paradice, Grundfor was responsible for designing other beautiful buildings in the area, including Pocatello’s first general hospital.

Drew W., or D.W., Standrod, migrated west to Malad City, Idaho, from Kentucky with his father and two siblings after his mother, Elvira (Campbell) Standrod, died of cholera at the age of 33 in 1873. When he was old enough to attend university, D.W. Standrod traveled back to his home state of Kentucky to attend law school at the Cadiz Institute (which no longer exists). He had spent every spare moment he could during college studying for the Idaho bar exam. Upon completing his law degree in 1880, Standrod was immediately admitted to the bar and returned to Malad City. His father died in 1885.

Standrod set up a private law practice and was elected district attorney in 1886. On September 24, 1888, he married Eve “Emma” Van Wormer in Salt Lake City, Utah. The couple settled in Idaho. In 1890, D.W. Standrod became a member of the Idaho Constitutional Convention and was elected Fifth Judicial District State Judge, a position that was responsible for all of what is presently known as Oneida, Bannock, Bingham, Fremont, Lemhi, Custer, and Bear Lake counties. D.W. and Emma moved to Pocatello in 1895 because it was a convenient base for traveling to the areas over which D.W. presided as judge. He served until 1899, when he returned to private practice, setting up a law office known as Standrod and Terrell (his law partner was T.F. Terrell) in the Pioneer Block Building in downtown Pocatello.

Standrod Mansion, circa 1910, Pocatello (Photo courtesy of the Bannock County Historical Museum)

Photo courtesy of the Bannock County Historical Museum

As well as being a highly regarded lawyer with a large practice, Standrod was a well-respected financier. He held positions in the First Savings Bank of Pocatello and served as president of D.W. Standrod and Company Bank in Blackfoot and as director of J.N. Ireland and Company in Malad City. His banking partners included the Evans brothers (of D.L. Evans bank) and J.N. Ireland (of Ireland Bank), founders of banks that many Idahoans still use today.

In the early 1900s, Standrod became interested in promoting power and water projects in the state of Idaho, which led to a request from Idaho Governor John M. Haines that Standrod become a member of Idaho’s first Public Utilities Commission. In that position, Standrod wrote many of Idaho’s existing water rights and irrigation laws.

Following his service on the Public Utilities Commission, Standrod ran for other public offices in Idaho, including the state Supreme Court and governor; he was defeated in these campaigns.

In 1915, D.W. Standrod started yet another business venture when he and Dave Daniels built Pocatello’s iconic Yellowstone National Hotel.

D.W. Standrod’s wife, Emma, was prominent in her own right. When she met D.W., she was principal of schools in Malad City and Bellevue, Idaho. Upon moving to Pocatello, she founded the Wyeth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization in which she served as Chapter Regent from 1915 to 1917 and State Vice Regent from 1922 to 1924. She was also involved in historical preservation and was Regional Vice Chairman for Historical and Literary Reciprocity for nine northwestern states for eleven years. In addition, she organized the Red Cross for Bannock County.

Both of D.W. and Emma Standrod’s children died at a young age. Cammie Standrod, an extremely active class leader of her Pocatello High School class, had suffered from kidney disease since childhood. While in high school, she caught a cold that caused her death. She died in her turret room in the family home on April 27, 1906; she was just 16 years old. Since her death, many Pocatello citizens have expressed the belief that she haunts the historic home.

In 1974, City of Pocatello purchased and restored the home, earning the city an Orchid Award from Preservation Idaho in 1979.

Drew Standrod Jr., who is reputed to have been musically gifted, was a World War I veteran and a lawyer. He joined his father’s practice in 1915. On July 28, 1928, he married Lucy Hostetler; the couple had no children. In 1934, Drew Jr. took over as manager of his father’s Yellowstone National Hotel. He died on April 4, 1937, at age 45, while visiting relatives in California. His body was shipped home to Pocatello, Idaho, to be buried next to his parents and his sister at Mountain View Cemetery.

Six years after the death of his son, D.W. Standrod died at home following a brief illness at the age of 84. Emma lived in the legendary mansion until she died at the age of 98 on January 24, 1946.

Lucy Hostetler, Drew Jr.’s widow, inherited the mansion. She lived there for about three years and then boarded up the home and moved back east. Records show that she most likely never returned to Idaho. After the home sat vacant for many years, ownership of the home changed several times:

  • In 1957, the Standrod Mansion was sold to Madelyne Roper, who lived in the home for many years. Ms. Roper dressed up as a witch and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters every Halloween, much to the delight of Pocatello’s children.
  • In 1974, the City of Pocatello bought the Standrod Mansion with city and state funds. The City of Pocatello spent $15,000 to restore the home. The stellar result earned the city an Orchid Award from Preservation Idaho in 1979. The City of Pocatello opened the Standrod Mansion to the public for tours and special events such as wedding receptions.
  • In 1995, the City of Pocatello sold the mansion to private owners, who later used the home to house Backroom Furniture.
  • The Standrod Mansion was eventually sold and is once again a private residence.

In its 109-year life span, the Standrod Mansion has sheltered a loving family that helped make Idaho the state it is today, welcomed the area’s children onto its front porch to meet a “real live” witch, seen countless couples run down its steps to start their lives together, and has stood the test of time to still be called one of Idaho’s most beautiful buildings.