Details concerning the ownership and original construction of the lot and house at the northeast corner of Kootenai and Owyhee are unclear. No architect has been identified for the house and its construction date is undetermined, but evidence in the historic record seems to document the house in place by 1934. Best described as an English Cottage, the house, which is surrounded by a large, landscaped lot, features a prominent chimney, multiple gables, and divided-lite windows.
County records note that early owners of the house included William (Ben) and Gladys Rice, an official with the U.S. Forest Service and Flora and Ezra Taft Benson who later became United States Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower before serving as the thirteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1985 until 1994. It is likely that the house was built for Ben and Gladys Rice who lived there as early as 1934, but Earle and Marie Cranston who purchased the property in April of 1939 would own the house for the next seven decades.
Earle F. Cranston, Jr., was born in Baker City, Oregon in 1908. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1932 with a degree in business, Cranston moved to Boise to join his father in the operation of Cranston Chevrolet. The senior Cranston had arrived in Boise from Baker City in 1916 to open a Studebaker dealership. He descended from early Idaho pioneers and his mother took pride in claiming to be the first woman married in what was to be the State of Idaho. Following his father?s death from injuries sustained in a one-car automobile accident, the younger Cranston established the Boise Auto Company, an Oldsmobile dealership on Main Street, in 1936.
Cranston married Marie Uberuaga in 1935. Born in Boise in 1903, Marie was the daughter of prominent Basque sheep rancher Jose and Felipa Uberuaga. After graduating from St. Margaret?s Academy, Marie and her sister spent a year in Spain where she attended the University of Madrid. Upon returning to Idaho, she worked for the Idaho First National Bank where she met Earle Cranston. Earle and Marie lived at their Owyhee home for the remainder of their lives where they hosted family and friends until his death in 1975 and hers in 2006.
This home was featured on the 13th Annual Heritage Homes Tour in 2015 thanks to the generosity of the current homeowners the Hardy Foundation.