The east end of Boise’s downtown commercial district, now known as Old Boise, has a distinctive and rich heritage that goes back to the founding of the City of Trees in 1863.
Some of the first buildings in the Old Boise area included former Mayor Cyrus Jacob’s 1864 home, which still remains on Grove Street. Another mayor, Thomas Logan, resided in a unique 1865 adobe structure at 6th and Grove; and the Log Pierce Cabin was located on the alley behind the Boise Marble and Granite Yard at 5th and Main. Both the Logan and Pierce homes have been relocated a few blocks south next to the Idaho Historical Museum.
Many gatherings were held at the Good Templar Hall, which was built in 1865 on the present site of the Pioneer Tent & Awning Building. The temperance organizations that built the hall opened it to minstrel shows, theater productions, lodge meetings and fireman’s balls. The first two sessions of the Territorial Legislature were also held in this building.
Across Main Street, the Stone Jug Building was virtually the seat of government in Idaho before 1886. The Stone Jug was the law office of Edward J. Curtis, who was appointed Secretary of the Idaho Territory and acting governor in 1869. The building was replaced by the present Telephone Building in 1899.
A wide variety of building types exist in Old Boise including dwellings, fraternal halls and commercial structures. The majority are two-story brick buildings with stone trim. The more distinctive historic buildings in the area include the 1879 Perrault Building, the 1892 Masonic Temple, the 1892 Spiegel Building – Night Grocery (Pengilly’s Saloon), the 1904 Belgravia Apartments, and the 1906 Boise City Turnverein Building.
WalkAbout Boise - Guided Walking Tour
“The WalkAbout Boise Season starts every year in May and will run through October. Reserve Today!”
Join us for WalkAbout Boise — an approximately 1.5-hour guided walking tour through 150 years of history and architecture. Let us introduce you to the built environment that makes downtown Boise like no other place. This tour is great for visitors and for Idaho residents who want to learn more about how Boise’s vibrant downtown developed and the people who made it happen.
Walking Tour runs Spring, Summer, and Fall
Every Saturday at 11am starting on Grove Street Downtown
“$12 Per Person ($10 for Preservation Idaho Members)”
Get starting location and additional details when you register or call (208) 409-8282.
Walking Tour highlights include:
- Downtown’s evolution from gold rush boomtown, through urban renewal decline, and 21st century revitalization.
- The oldest and newest buildings downtown, spanning 150 years of construction
- Buildings associated with Boise’s historic Basque, German, Jewish, and Chinese communities
- The Idaho State Capitol and Boise City Hall
- Buildings designed by early pioneers and nationally known master architects
- The Egyptian Theater
No minimum attendance required. Max group size 25, but larger groups can be accommodated with advance notice.
For more information, click here