Warms Springs Historic District
The Warm Springs Historic District is an estalished neighborhood with a rich history. The ninety-six residential structures included in the District date from the 1870’s through the 1930’s, with the majority having been built in the period 1890-l920.
Warm Springs Avenue began as a dirt wagon track to Kelly’s Hot Springs East of Boise. In 1890, the first hot water well was drilled just west of the Idaho State Penitentiary. The geothermal well was the beginning of Warm Springs Avenue and part of the pioneer exploration into geothermal water resources. A full-scale development using the hot water springs opened for business in 1892 – the Natatorium. Options for travelers included a streetcar line that tied Warm Springs Avenue with the growing City of Boise. The upscale fashion of residences on Warm Springs came into full swing by 1891, taking the spotlight from the popular Grove Street neighborhood. With the development of the geothermal water resources, many of the homes were originally heated by the well and pipe system put into place. This system is still operating today both along Warm Springs Avenue and in downtown Boise. The development of the natural
geothermal system was the first of its kind, and was used during the industrial revolution in the United States as a new commodity.
As for construction, most of the homes along Warm Springs Avenue are two and two-and-a-half story structures, which sit far off the wide avenue, some with iron fences or stone walls. These commodious residences, situated as they are on large lots, form a district unique to Boise, by virtue both of the large number of fine dwellings in the area and the wide variety of architectural styles to be found here. Among styles appearing in the District are Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, Bungalow and Tudor. Although some of these styles are vastly different from each other, they all represent a specific time in United States history.
The Warm Springs District is a cohesive residential neighborhood with few intrusions. It also includes several houses directly adjacent to Warm Springs Avenue on cross streets. They have been included because they are significant architecturally and tie more closely with Warm Springs Avenue than with the more modest homes on the adjacent streets. The District is well maintained and in excellent condition due to active preservation activities. Thus, it maintains strong historic and architectural character.