In 1895 Albert E. Gipson moved his family to Boise from Colorado and he opened a print shop. Gipson’s first published work from his small shop in Caldwell, Idaho was called the Gem State Rural, a horticulture magazine that was used by the growing number of farmers outlying Boise City. In 1903 he established a publishing house with his partner, W. E. Norton. The enterprise was thoughtfully named after William Caxton, owner and operator of England’s very first printing press in the 15th century; by naming the endeavor after Caxton they were clearly making a bid to become the first Western publishing house.
The growth of successful western cities like Boise has been due in part to the leadership tendencies of the early merchants, the long-standing farmers, ranchers, and lumberyards, and to the network of local suppliers all coordinating with local government to create an environment that could support a growing urban and rural population. Boise is located in a convenient and resourceful location along the Old Oregon Trail, and serves as a trail head up through the mining towns of central and southern Idaho. It grew in importance as its ability to supply the outlying mining districts became apparent. As the city grew, its stability and success were expressed through architecture and in the types of institutions that it could offer. Banks and mansions lent an air of prestige to any city.
New Year’s Eve serves as the finale of the year and the holiday season; it is a time we take to celebrate life with friends and loved ones and it is most certainly a time when people let go of their inhibitions and past concerns in exchange for a carefree and optimistic outlook on the beginning of a new year.
National Cupcake Day is this week on December 15. It is a nationally recognized celebration of those tasty miniature cakes that, compared to the pound cake whose ingredients were measured by weight and took longer to cook, the ingredients of the cup-cakes or quarter-cakes were measured by cups, were easier to make, and baked much faster. And the recipe was easy to remember.
BOISE 150 Sesqui-Shop
1008 Main St.
OPEN: Tuesday – Saturday
12:00pm – 6:00pm
CLOSED: Sunday & Monday
Here are a few Christmas advertisements for some downtown retailers throughout the years. Before the modern shopping mall, the Department Store was the heart of consumer culture here in Boise.
Looking at Prohibition we may simply assume that the laws against liquor were imposed by a religious, upper class majority against a sea of rebellious males, and soul-less vagabonds. The recent “Wicked Waters” exhibit on the Prohibition Era in Boise by Sarah Phillips, explained that the Prohibition movement cannot be separated from the Women’s Suffrage movement, which was being led by Boise’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestant women, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). In 1902 these groups succeeded in implementing “No Liquor Sundays” in the saloons and inns downtown, and in 1920 the United States Congress passed the 21st amendment, prohibiting the production, sale, and consumption of spirits. Soon after the Prohibition amendment passed, other ladies groups formed to express their opposition to the temperance movement. They challenged the authority of the WCTU, and its claims to have expressed the beliefs and acted on behalf of all women.
You may or may not have noticed the recent demolition of the old Compton warehouse on 9th Street between Front and Myrtle, just at the end of Broad Street. Back before BoDo came of age the old Compton Storage & Transfer Warehouse stored furniture goods and held an indoor market every now and again. But for the most part, it seemed to stay closed up. It was a building that was what one local blogger/photographer who snapped this photo before it was demolished, called “venerable.” It was demolished in August, along with much of the block, to make room for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place. One of Boise’s current building projects.
Last week we looked at Arthur Troutner, one of Boise’s own modernist architects. In 1959 he built this house at 1732 Warm Springs Avenue for Edith Miller Klein, one of Idaho’s “First Fifty Women in Law” and her husband, Sandy, executive editor of the Idaho Statesman. The house was built combining natural and artificial elements creating a clear and open layout. The space is broken in clean and natural ways and the house seems to embrace its surroundings by letting lots of sunlight in through its numerous windows and by using natural geothermal energy to heat the pool and the entire home.
The Bench District in Boise really flourished after the Second Great War. What had once been sagebrush and overland trails would later come to host homesteaders who settled along the canal works in the early 1900s. Today those farmhouses are lost in the sea of middle-class expansion. Architecture found on the bench, its schools, roadside strip malls, and the neighborhoods, express very modernist traits and values that are mirrored across America beginning around 1940 and lasting into the late 1960s. Local architectural historian, Dan Everheart, says that the Bench is a great example of modernist growth here in Boise. He sees it as a period that has not received the attention that it should and has been working to change that.