When you think of suburban Boise, Hyde Park may not be the first neighborhood that comes to mind. But it was indeed Boise’s first sub-urban community.
In 1891 13th Street served as the main thoroughfare north from the city, west of Fort Boise, towards Hill Road at the base of the foothills. It became the site of Boise’s northward expansion when citizens began looking for a new residential area outside of Boise’s growing downtown. Some of Boise’s most prosperous families lived on Grove Street when W.E. Pierce & Co. advertised the sale of properties in the new Hyde Park Addition.
By the 1900s the Boise Rapid Transit trolley line ran right up 13th Street, through Hyde Park; what had become the new ‘sub-urban’ hub in the north, serving residential needs. By 1905 there were “more than 100 well-tailored homes” located in the neighborhoods that had grown through the investment of developers, local businessmen and notables such as John Lemp, Jeremiah Brumback, and Hosea and Mary Eastman, to name but a few.  From the beginning Hyde Park served as a source of goods, supplies, and entertainment to the surrounding neighbors. That original sense of connectedness built into Hyde Park and the surrounding homes has helped maintain its status as the “most walkable community in the Valley”.
If you’re familiar with the north end, you may have noticed the popularity of the Queen Anne home. The architectural style was popular in American from 1880 until roughly the 1910s and ‘20s. As Mr. Pierce advertised the availability of lots through his real estate firm, he advertised the desirability of the neighborhood by building himself a home in the additions he was selling. His Queen Anne home on North 21st Street, built in 1914, was later sold to an Idaho Governor. The Walter E. Pierce house served as the Governor’s Mansion for over forty years. The other style that was popular when the north end was being built was the bungalow. Bungalows became popular in densely populated areas for the privacy and comfort that its single-level design and secluded aesthetic provided between neighbors living so close to one another. The bungalow flourished in America beginning in the 1920s and continued, though used in different ways, through the twentieth century.
The buildings in Hyde Park today are nostalgic and quaint; maybe because they remind us of Boise’s modest beginnings. In 1902 the Oddfellows Building became the first two-story brick building in Hyde Park, the upper level lodge was built to accommodate 300 people. In 1909 C.H. Waymire built his second building, the first building in Boise to be made entirely out of cement blocks. Businesses moved in, butchers, cobblers, groceries, bakers, a boarding hall and hotel, barbers, and even the City Dye Works had a building in Hyde Park. Several of these shops are still open today. More than a hundred years old, this historic neighborhood is the evidence of the growth of Boise’s community, and the success of its people in their business ventures. Because of this history the buildings were restored and repaired in the 1970s during Boise’s urban renewal projects.
Recently Vincente Echevarria, of Vince’s Barbershop at Hyde Park passed away. A boxer who came to Boise from the Basque country, he opened his shop in 1974 and stayed in that location for 38 years. The Hyde Park community’s response to his passing is evidence of the neighborly bond the area is known for. He was one of many small business owners that helped build the spirit of Hyde Park as a community, and a destination for visitors.
Have a question about Boise’s history? Ask a Historian.
Idaho Statesman October 7, 1891 p.2, October 6, 2010, and September 18, 2012 online
Hart, Arthur A. Life in Old Boise (Boise, 1989)
Weiser, Jim. “Ninety-Nice Years of Friendly Spirit” Boise Magazine (July/August 1990) pp. 41-43
 Weiser, p. 42
 Stewart, quoted the North End Association in IDS October 6, 2010
 Hart, p. 159