Property Type: Residential
Neighborhood: North End  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Architectural Style: Craftsman
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2109 N. 9th St. was originally built in 1905 and in 1976 there was some remodeling done. It is a craftsman style house with a gable roof. It has columns reaching from the roof to the ground and as with many craftsman style houses it is very symmetrical. It has a stone base from the roof down and stone steps that connect to the door. Originally in place of the stone steps was a wooden porch. It has a stone fence that was salvaged from an old bridge. Apparently they were taking down an old bridge and were just going to throw the pieces away but the current owners of the house saw it and salvaged them creating a unique fence. Connecting either side of the fence is an iron gate. In the back yard there is an old wooden garage that almost looks like a cabin you might find in the woods. The house has a dormer sticking out of the roof that has windows looking out from the second story. This includes another characteristic of craftsman style houses because it has three windows side by side. The stone under the first story windows sticks out almost making a ledge that you can set stuff on. In the backyard there is an old water pump that is a really interesting piece of the house. In both the front and the back there are stone pathways leading up to the porch as well as out to the garage. There are three bedrooms and one bathroom. It is 1,176 total square feet. It has one fire place and while it used to have a basement it must have been removed during remodeling.

Before they got a refrigerator they had a root cellar that kept food cool but eventually they dug out the basement when Gail was about 10. They dug out the basement themselves and her sister would use their car which at the time was a really large dodge to move all of the dirt. Her father later on decided to build a staircase from the kitchen down into the basement. He also built a staircase over the staircase that lead up to the second floor. The original staircase was at the back of the living room just opposite the front door. He built a stairway to the attic right up and over the original stairway. Gail’s father was always doing some sort of carpentry work on their house as well as the houses nearby.

Houses always gain character from their residents. Gail Winn grew up on the property of 2109 N. 9th Street. Many stories stick with houses. One such story was of a chimpanzee that lived across the street from them. The Richardson family that lived across the street at the time had a son who did an animal act and his chimpanzee was always running away, in fact one time it got stuck up a telephone pole. While Gail was not too fond of the chimp but the rest of her family seemed to get along with it pretty well. In fact in the 1930s when Gail’s father and brother were re-shingling the house that chimp got away and climbed the ladder and kept them company while they finished the roof.

One story helps to encompass the kindness of the previous residents. During the Depression the house that was right next door to them couldn’t pay their water bill, so Gail’s father ran a pipe from the tap on the side of their house to their kitchen to help them out. Another time there was a homeless man who had stopped to get a drink from the tap. Gail’s mother had made her wings from goose feathers and they were pretty large. She went bouncing out of the house and scared the living daylights out of the guy and her mother had to come out and assure him that she was just a little girl because he must have mistaken her for an angel.

There used to be three large trees in the yard but only one remains now. In one of the trees, kids from the neighborhood would climb and put their initials but Gail had by far gotten her initials the farthest up. From the start, the house was full of adventurous kids. When Gail was a toddler she used to knock over her walker and crawl out and start making her way up the stairs toward the landing. At one point in time Gail climbed out the window on the second story and climbed down the roof and down the pillars to sneak out one night. She didn’t get hurt but the experience scared her enough that she never attempted a stunt like that again.

The house was always surrounded by character. The gypsies used to park in between Camels Back and Eighth Street. Children in that area grew up being warned that if they got too close, the gypsies would take them.

When the porch was still made out of wood Gail and a friend of hers wanted to make a play that was set in the desert. They spent time making the script and practicing. They put sand all over the porch trying to set the scene. Now at one point during the play they started a fire. Luckily their father reacted quickly in getting it put out and there was no damage to the house but the audience was of course appalled that they had started a real fire on the porch.