Advocacy Alert: Art Deco Travis Apartments in Boise

Advocacy Alert: Art Deco Travis Apartments in Boise

The owners of the Travis Apartment (1620 W. Bannock St.) want to demolish this historic Art Deco building for a new commercial/high-end apartment/personal residence. 80-years of history will go to the landfill. Boise is growing and that is OK but we need to protect our dwindling inventory of significant historic buildings. Not all historic buildings need to be saved but this one does! This beautiful building contains excellent examples of bygone craftsmanship and design detail.

Thanks to Boise’s Historic Preservation Commission!  

Thanks to Boise’s Historic Preservation Commission!  

Boise is undergoing significant development and growth, and many of the houses in historic districts are reaching, or have already passed, their 100-year mark. With this milestone comes complications and unfortunately there have been a number of contractors hired who, while licensed, do not have specific expertise working on historic homes. Lately, we have heard the term “too far gone” thrown around much too cavalierly regarding the status of Boise’s historic homes.

Boise City Council votes to move the National Register Listed Cabin

On November 27th, Boise City Council voted 4 to 2 to approve moving the cabin off of its original site. The final destination was not confirmed and will be voted on in January 2019. Both Preservation Idaho and The Cabin were invited to speak regarding our views on what should be done.

We were very disappointed at the outcome of the vote. We do appreciate that much time and discussion was devoted to the topic at the meeting, however, Council was unable to see the value of leaving the cabin where it was built and, instead, raising the elevation of the new library so that the desired connection to the river and greenbelt was attained. It is especially unfortunate given that the cost of raising the library was described as minor by the design team and that the cost savings of keeping the cabin on-site would have been over a million dollars that will be spent for moving and receiving-lot preparations. That money could have been spent on the new library and perhaps helped to ensure sufficient funding for the Event Space section and the new home of the Boise Arts & History Department.

There has been discussion that the National Register Listing may be preserved if the cabin is moved into Julia Davis Park, however, that will remain to be seen. The National Register Listed Historic Idaho State Forester's Building was constructed in 1940 as the home of the Idaho Forester’s Office. The building is currently home to The Cabin, a non-profit literary arts center leasing the City-owned property adjacent to the Library.

We will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that the cabin’s history and value to the city is not damaged or further diminished.

ACTION NEEDED! How YOU can help stop demolition of the Historic Eoff-Brady house with an email to City Council.

ACTION NEEDED! How YOU can help stop demolition of the Historic Eoff-Brady house with an email to City Council.

With a few hundred supportive emails, we can encourage the city to complete the historic district. Some of the owners in the proposed district will fight this effort and the city needs to know they have the support of the public to do the right thing. This home is irreplaceable in Boise's history. Its architecture and craftsmanship are of the highest order. 

Eoff House - New Historic District for Boise

The Eoff/Brady/Hon House is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in the entire city and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1897 and designed by Tourtellotte and Hummel, it has served as a private home, the Governor’s Mansion, and most recently, as apartment housing. The property is now privately owned and the current owner is seeking an investor to allow the house to remain on-site rather than being moved or salvaged to accommodate a new condominium project.  

Preservation Idaho is working with the owner to find a buyer or a preservation-minded partner to help in the rehabilitation/update of the home in a historically sensitive manner. This project could qualify for the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. The property includes a developable lot next to the existing home.

Read more about this history of this home on the Idaho Architecture Project Site:

Property Description

The Subject Property is comprised of three buildings on a 0.42 acre site. The multi-family residential structure encompasses 10,558+- square feet. Two small outbuildings are located at the rear of the site.

Address: 140 W. Main Street, Boise, Idaho, 83702
Location: Boise City Original Townsite, Block 36, Lots 1-3
Type: Multi-family Residential
Number of Units: 10
Building Area: 3 Buildings encompassing 10,558+- SF
Construction: Brick and stone masonry with wood frame
Parcel Size: 0.42 acres
Zoning: R-OD (Residential Office with Design Review overlay)
Year Built: Main Building 1897; Remaining Buildings c. 1920
Parking: 8 spaces
Heating: Geothermal radiators
Roof: Wood shingle
Tax Identification: Parcel R1013002430; located in Tax Code Area 01-6

Boise City - New Historic District

On August 7, 2018 the Boise City Council issued an emergency moratorium on all demolition permits after learning that the building owner had intended to demolish the structure. 

“The owner has explained that the plumbing and wiring in the house are in poor condition and that he does not want to upgrade or reuse the house as part of a larger development. He appears intent on obtaining a demolition permit for the house within the next several months,” Hal Simmons and Ted Vanegas of Boise’s Planning and Development Services wrote in the meeting’s agenda.

While the immediate demolition of the residence is halted Boise City will be considering creation of a new historic district which will incorporate the Eoff House and ten other buildings in a two-block area.

Read more here....

Statesman article:

Boise City press:


Idaho Forester's Building / The Cabin

We love the idea of a new library for Boise and the architect hired is renowned, BUT, if you have seen the initial proposed site plan, you may have noticed that, ALTHOUGH LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES,  THE CABIN IS GONE (replaced by a patio)!

The final design is far from done so this is the time to act!

The city has not made a final decision but, from our discussions, it appears that the architects were NEVER asked to design a library that keeps the Cabin on-site (even though the Human Rights Memorial next door is being left in place).   We think the Memorial and the Cabin are both Boise landmarks and, as preservationists, we are strongly opposed to moving the historic cabin.   National Register Listing means something and recognizes the importance of the Cabin to the history of Boise and the State.  You can read the actual NR Listing below; especially the Statement of Significance.  The creation of the cabin is a great story and underlines why this 1940's building represents an important part of the unique history of Idaho and deserves to be respected in its prominent location on Capital Boulevard.   The city is not proposing to demolish the building,  but has spoken with the Board of The Cabin about a move to Julia Davis Park.  This may seem like a reasonable compromise, but a move negates the integrity of the building and the importance of forestry in Idaho's history.  It also diminishes the value of a literary center adjacent to the library, the significance of the site on the Boise River, and may impact its National Register Listing.  

Cabin 1940.jpg

The cabin was built specifically to house the Idaho Forester's Office.  The story of how it was built and what is inside is just as important as the beautiful exterior and is part of why it is National Register Listed - read more by clicking the button below.



Take a moment to email the Mayor and City Council

Let our elected officials know that...

"I would like the architects to be asked to re-design the library to include the cabin with appropriate access and open space that respects its history and its role as the current home for The Cabin's reading and writing programs."

Below are the emails for Mayor and City Council. You can cut and paste text above (or craft your own) into the email.  

Mayor Dave Beiter -
Council President Lauren McLean -
Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg -
Council Member Scot Ludwig -
Council Member Lisa Sánchez -
Council Member TJ Thomson -
Council Member Holli Woodings -


cabin early.png

The site of the cabin was chosen as a reflection of its purpose and its connection to the rivers and the rugged timberlands of Idaho.  Each room's walls are covered with a  specific type of lumber from the forests of Idaho.  The National Register tells the story of how the design came to be.

Preservation Idaho supported the formation of the Log Cabin Literary Center (to save the cabin from demolition many years ago) and we do not see the value in moving the structure now when it should rightly stand along side the new library, arts and history facility.  The unnecessary move of the Cabin will further add to the cost of the library and that money could be used to build the new library itself. 

We have the right and the obligation to stand up and speak up for our cultural history and landmarks.  Please make your voice heard today!

The city held Open House Public Meetings for input on the library design. Thanks to all our preservation supporters who attended and provided feedback. The city has compiled comments in a report. 

Highlands and Amity Elementary Schools

Preservation Idaho worked with the Boise School District Administrators as they make decisions about renovating or replacing Boise Schools as a result of a 175 million dollar bond which passed in 2017. 

Highlands Elementary, as a shining example of mid-century school architecture, was the front lines of an ongoing debate about the future of our built environment. In late March, 2018 the School District determined it was in their best interest to demolish and and replace Highlands Elementary. See a collection of images of the property below, with links to local news coverage. 


Preservation Idaho also hosted a last look tour of Amity Elementary. This unique 1970's school is slated for demolition when the new school building is completed adjacent to the earth-mounded building. The school reflected the energy-crisis sensibility of the time Boise Architectural Historian Dan Everhart lead the tours.

Treasure Valley Preservation Media Roundup

Preservation Idaho has been on the forefront of several advocacy issues in Boise lately. Local News media has been helping provide a balanced view of the concerns face by the preservation community as well as those who advocate for new buildings and development. Here are some highlights.

Booth House/Marian Prichett Property

This property has long been on the radar of Preservation Idaho. The park-like campus in Boise's Historic North End has been owned by the Salvation Army since the 1920's. The property is currently for sale in order for the Salvation Army to build a new, larger campus further west.   This property is at the heart of the discussion of preservation of history and how to grow while respecting our historic built environment.

Learn more about the property on our Idaho Architecture Project web page.

KIVI did a news report on February 25, 2018

Idaho Statesman ran a story on February 23, 2018

KTVB did a news report on March 6, 2018

Highlands Elementary

Preservation Idaho has been working with the Boise School District Administrators as they make decisions about renovating or replacing Boise Schools as a result of a 175 million dollar bond which passed in 2017.  Highlands Elementary, as a shining example of mid-century school architecture, is on the front lines of an ongoing debate about the future of our built environment and a decision will be made soon to remodel or rebuild from scratch. 

Idaho Statesman ran a story on March 4, 2018

KTVB did a news report on March 6, 2018

Saving The Jones House - Media Coverage

Board Member Frank Eld gave an interview about his work saving, preserving and restoring the Jones House. The interview was part of a workshop sponsored by Radio Boise and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. The goal was to find people who were preserving or practicing folk arts or traditions and then produce a radio piece about them.

If you are located in the Treasure Valley you may tune in on Wednesday January 24th at 4:30 p.m. MST to Radio Boise via 89.9 or 93.5 FM, or via the internet at 

KTVB also interviewed Frank, to watch the video and read about Frank, follow the link.

Conservation Districts: How they can save neighborhoods!

It can be a challenge to create a new Local Historic District in Boise and across the state, however, the use of Conservation Districts is on the rise.  They are easier to implement, if neighbors are willing to support them, and they can help protect what gets built in the case of remodel or demolition.  This can be a big step in maintaining the existing architectural style of a neighborhood.  Conservation Districts can help to prevent remodels, infills, or new builds that do not sync with the style of historic neighborhoods that have no protection except what is in the city building code while allowing homeowners to update/modify their properties.

Read this article from the Idaho Statesman on how one neighborhood in the East End fought back against a developer who wanted to change the look of their historic block.  The article references the use of Conservation Districts in other areas of the city, including those around the proposed CVS Pharmacy on State Street.



Society of Architectural Historians - Marion Dean Ross Chapter Conference

A message from the Marion Dean Ross/Pacfic Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians:

Click to visit the SAH website

Click to visit the SAH website

The Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter is an affiliated regional chapter of the international Society of Architectural Historians, whose home office is in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The regional chapter encompasses the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, USA and the province of British Columbia, Canada. 

We are a small congenial group of people from diverse professional backgrounds who enjoy an interest in architecture. We believe the built environment reflects the culture of our region and we value its contribution to our quality of life.

Our mission is:

* To support and further the objectives of the international Society of Architectural Historians;
* To hold meetings for the study and discussion of historically significant architectural sites in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere;
* To increase awareness and knowledge of the region's architectural heritage and of the history of architecture worldwide

SAH MDR conference - Save the Date - May 18-20, 2018

Astoria-Megler Bridge. Photo: Marion Dean Ross, 1966

Astoria-Megler Bridge. Photo: Marion Dean Ross, 1966

Astoria! The date and location for the annual conference of the Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians has been set!  The conference will be held in Astoria, Oregon, May 18-20, 2018. 

Our conference committee is working away, planning a stellar conference, as you can imagine it would be in such a wonderful place.  Please mark your calendars.
The Call for Papers will come out next month, in November.  Please consider submitting an abstract. 

The theme will center around Astoria’s traditional maritime history.  It will also focus on the diversity of people who settled in Astoria over time and made it their home through the traditions they brought with them, the traditions they forged once arriving in Clatsop County, and of course, the resulting architecture.  As usual, papers are also encouraged that reflect other themes relevant to the chapter’s mission.

We hope to see you in Astoria!
Diana J Painter
President, Marion Dean Ross chapter
of the Society of Architectural Hstorians
Tel:  707-763- 6500

The VAMC Surgeon's Quarters Open House is a Success!


The Fort Boise Surgeon's Quarters Restoration/Rehabilitation is complete and the building will stand for another 100 years!

Over 200 people attended the Open House on Saturday, August 5th.  They toured the building and heard about the history of the building and the rehabilitation work from project leader John Bertram.  Preservation Idaho partnered with VAMC Administration and, led by John, gathered funds, construction material, craftsmen, and stories during the one-year project.  

We were joined by the Fort Boise Garrison who added period color and authenticity to the day.  We also had a great display of tools, provided by Rick Poplack, that helped everyone uderstand how construction was done in the late 19th century.  Thank to all of them for helping us celebrate.

The "Quarters for Quarters" program started after a group of school children who toured the VAMC campus with Preservation Idaho donated quarters so that we could try to save Building 4 on Officer's Row.  Built in 1863, the building had served as a the Quartermaster's Building and Surgeon's home, as well as VAMC offices.  More recently, it stood vacant for over 20 years while the roof and the building deteriorated and was in danger of falling to the wrecking ball.  

The VAMC campus is open to the public.  While you can't enter the Surgeon's Quarters on your own, you can drive to Officer's Row and admire the beautiful buildings that are still standing; they tell the story of Boise's history, the history of the state of Idaho, and the proud history of our Veterans.

Thanks to the VAMC Administration for partnering with Preservaiton Idaho.  We are proud of the work we have done and grateful for all the support we received to make the project come to fruition.

Orchids & Onions Awards in Ketchum on May 20th/Tickets Available


Read about this year's winners and losers in the Idaho Statesman using this link.

Our Annual Signature Event will be held this Saturday at The Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho.

We recognize outstanding preservation projects and Preservationists from around the state.

Help us recognize their efforts and support advocacy in action!