Property Type: Residential
Neighborhood: The Bench  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Year Built: 1954  |  Architectural Style: Atomic Ranch
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Boise is a town full of subtle examples of architectural innovation.

The Crescent Rim neighborhood contains a wide variety of styles and sizes of houses and buildings. Just as The Bench is an architecturally significant region in Boise, the Crescent Rim area is an architecturally significant region in the bench. It contributes to the melting pot of styles juxtaposed throughout our town.

3607 Crescent Rim was an atomic ranch style home built in 1954 in the heat of the Cold War. It currently sits in the middle of the Monte Vista Ada Subdivision. It was originally a one-story house, but was later remodeled by the second owners. The first owner was Federal Judge Frederick Monroe Taylor. Born in Nampa, Idaho, Taylor was a member of the Idaho State Senate from 1943 to 1951. He served as chief judge of the Idaho District Court from 1964 to 1971, assuming senior status on December 15, 1971. Taylor died in 1988. On the 0.34-acre property, Taylor built a two-bedroom guesthouse for his fatally ill daughter to live a comfortable life. The yard was made more spacious when the current owner demolished this second house during the remodel in 1996. A carport was transformed into a shed, and a garage was added. A garden room, a porch, and a laundry room were also attached to the South side of the house.

Brian Visser, the contractor, was told to keep the house uniform with its original style as much as possible, but when a second story was added, the style was undoubtedly altered. Visser owns the Visser Construction Company, Inc., established in 1993. The second story consists of a master bedroom designed by the current owner, a large closet, and a bathroom. The interior of the home is complemented by a gaggle of mirrors, strategically placed to bring in light and create an illusion of more space. All of the wood in the house is original, high quality, heavy, dark mahogany. The kitchen was remodeled as well, and included a 1950’s-looking stove. The stove was in actuality a modern electric appliance. A branch of the New York Canal runs through the rear boundary of the house, giving the yard a serene atmosphere. The present owner used to play with her dogs in the canal and host garden parties in the cozy backyard.

The home is significant in that it is a prime example of a 50s atomic ranch style building. It has the ranch-style open floor plans, sliding glass doors, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, overhanging eaves, and large windows. It also has an attached garage and a stucco exterior. Only a few lights decorate the simple exterior of the home. Because it was built during a contentious point in the Cold War, after the Russians had successfully detonated an atomic bomb, a basement was added to the conventional ranch style in order to provide safety in the event of a nuclear attack.

The house was an “atomic” version of the traditional ranch house. It was built in ’54, after the peak of suburban growth and the conformist movement, which led up to Eisenhower’s Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Ranch-style house is a domestic architectural style originating in the United States. First built in the 1920s, the ranch style was extremely popular amongst the booming post-war middle class of the 1940s to 1970s. The ranch house has a long, low profile, and small amounts of decorative elements, both inside and out. The style combines modernist ideas with Western ranches to create a casually informal living style. In recent years, ranch houses have once again gained popularity. This is due in large part to preservationist movements and renewed interest in the style from a younger generation.

The Crescent Rim, perched on the edge of the Boise Bench, is now one of the most sought-after living areas in all of Boise. Affluent citizens enjoy the fantastic view of Ann Morrison Park and downtown Boise. The “City of Trees” fits its title perfectly from that vantage point. The financial contributor responsible for the Morrison Center on BSU’s campus, Velma Morrison, lives a few houses down from 3607 in a large-scale mansion, and also enjoys the quiet and scenic environment around Crescent Rim. However, there are middle class accommodations on Crescent Rim. There is a large apartment complex a mere 200 yards from 3607.

Ann Morrison hosts the annual Balloon Festival and the 4th of July fireworks display. The See Spot Walk dog walk and several runs, many for women’s health, go right by 3607 every year. Residents on the Rim receive swag bags full of trumpets, streamers, and noisemakers from the city to help cheer on the racers.

3607 Crescent Rim is an example of how old-fashioned architecture can live on in the modern age. When the current owner was looking for a home, her husband wanted a modern abode to accommodate modern living, while she wanted a traditional, grassroots style. The 1996 remodel created a compromise. It maximized space and added some modern touches, such as the new lights and the garage, while still staying true to the original ranch elements of the house. The house is a great example of what can happen when two preferences conflict, and end up both contributing to an even more interesting finished product that beautifies the neighborhood. It is also a good example of how an extremely popular style can change over time to become something completely new and sought after, even today.