Some historical homes have no real relevance to history itself with the exception of its architecture, but such homes still capture a certain essence of a period in history just with its artistic elements and the passage of time; 1015 N. 16th is one of these eye-catching homes.
This home, built in 1944, a year before WWII ended, houses a family of five – The Harrises. The Harrises moved into this historic home on N. 16th Street here in Boise four years ago with three children; the eldest, Louise, recently graduated from Boise High School while her younger sister Olivia enters her senior year and her little brother remains at home. When speaking with the family, they mentioned their favorite characteristic about this house was its windows, single-paned with the original glass remaining from the time the home was built. However, one window suffered damage when the hand of one of Louise’s friends smashed through the glass.
The charming, open windows were not the only attraction to the house – its downtown location and open space in the North End District served favorable for hosting parties, especially Halloween parties in which Louise and her mother hang tattered drapes along the window seat windows. No ghosts haunt the Harris House, although there are some rather peculiar characteristics to the home such as a door that leads to nowhere (a door that has been cemented in), a light without a switch and what Louise calls the “servant stairs”. These incredibly thin-width wooden stairs are found towards the back of the house and when following their path they lead to the rest of the home. The “servant stairs” also lead to the basement, or “dungeon”, where pencil marks were been made by a previous resident upon the wooden walls (original, solid wood) of a workshop dating back to after 1944.
The front of the house consists mainly of large windows, including the three that make up the window seat where members of the family enjoy reading or working. The overall architectural style of the home is a Frame Cottage style, with accents above some of the windows that possess an almost craftsman-like quality. The red tiled front steps resemble those found on a bungalow-style home, inviting and reflective of the time period where neighbors knew each other and were generally welcome. On the door there is a golden doorknob with a skeleton-keyhole intricately detailed while craftsman designs frame the window. Anchored beside the door is a plaque that states the home is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Inside, the staircases are steep without much room for stable footing and often have a small window big enough only for the function of allowing some light to enter. The bathrooms are small with a 1940’s era style floor, floral and vertical striped wallpaper and a classic porcelain tub. The living room is a very wide open space that leads off into a small dining room and then the kitchen, and there are original hanging light fixtures, gold and intricately detailed like the doorknobs, that require special bulbs. This room also contains original floor vents and wooden, warped floorboards. To our knowledge there have been no renovations or add-ons for this home.
1015 N. 16th is a beautiful classic from the 1940’s that creates an appreciation around Boise for the city’s architectural history. Its wide open spaces reflect that American Dream of vastness and opportunity, while its detailed golden accents remind us of old times mixing with new times. During WWII, families were working together to support troops overseas and this house shows that open mentality. While we have no historical knowledge of the architect or past residents, this lovely home is a unique structure found in the city of trees.
Architectural Style: www.uwec.edu/Geography?Ivogeler/w367/styles/index.htm