These houses were constructed between 1903 and 1912 following the location of the railroad a block to the north. Though predominantly occupied by workers, James Compton of Compton Transfer and Storage occupied 401 between 1915 and 1928.
Information below by Emma Schwarz about 409 W Broad St:
The “Central Edition” Neighborhood between Front St. and Myrtle St. was platted in the 1890’s and at the time was one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Boise. Situated adjacent to the Boise River, the “Central Edition” not only offered beautiful scenery, but as the name suggests, it offered a central location to the city of Boise while also maintaining a position on the edge of town—because rich people like to live on the edge. The construction of the Railroad near this neighborhood in 1903 brought down the desirability of this area and gave way for more modest housing to develop; the four consecutive houses on W. Broad St. were a result of this development and were built between 1905-1912.
409 W. Broad St., the fourth house in the lineup from left to right, is reflective of the development of modest homes in this area of Boise, while still maintaining a classic charm. As Boise expanded in the early 20th century, the “Central Edition” neighborhood became engulfed and no longer existed at the edge of town, corroborating the transition from wealthy to middle class status. 409 Broad St. is built in a minimalist neo classical style, symmetrical on the outside, displaying Greek-esque columns supporting an overhanging pediment. Even the symmetrical bushes on either side of the entrance suggest a meticulous intention of symmetry. This house also possesses a quintessentially American-west feature, the Shotgun layout. The front and back doors of 409 Broad St. are exactly opposite of each another—one could shoot a shotgun from the front door through the back door without hitting anything.
The house is two stories plus a basement; the first floor contains a living room, kitchen, a full bath, and one bedroom, while the upstairs features two bedrooms, one of which with an attached full bath. The basement has low ceilings and is constructed of concrete with wooden pillars interspersed for support; as typical of houses built in this time period, the basement contains the heating system of the house. 409 Broad St. also has an attached porch off the left side of the house, joining it with an adjacent house. All the doorknobs, window handles, and moldings are original to the time of construction; and although simple, these minutiae reflect an appreciation for detail and craftsmanship.
As BSU expanded and student residents sought affordable yet desirable housing, the four adjacent houses on Broad St. became particularly attractive. The current residents of 409 Broad St. are Jake Saunders, Aurora Torres, Judah Claffey, and Samaquias Lorta, although only Jake is a current student at BSU (graduating this spring from the Masters in Cello Performance program), all are young musicians and recent college graduates or graduate students. The location of the house offers a central location in downtown; in fact, Jake was living with his parents in East Boise for his first year of graduate school, but decided to rent the 409 W. Broad St. house in his second year for a more convenient access to downtown.
409 W. Broad St. has become a well known concert venue in Boise, featuring both local and non local artists such as The Boise Cello Collective, Sun Blood Stories, Poenia Suddarth and the Lucid Dreamers, and Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant. During the 2014 Treefort Music Festival, 409 W. Broad St. was an underground venue, offering free, all ages house shows nightly as a means to provide music to those who could not pay the Music Festival fees. The residents of 409 W. Broad St. feel that their house serves as a communal place where good music—both classical and contemporary—can be enjoyed by all ages and free of charge.
The evolution of the “Central Edition” neighborhood is resultant of the evolution of Boise itself. The neighborhood began in the 1890’s as a wealthy part of Boise, adjacent to the Boise River and on the fringe of town, the “Central Edition” neighborhood was an idyllic location for those who sought to be close to downtown but far enough away to avoid dwelling lower class undesirables. With the construction of the railroad nearby in 1903, the value of the “Central “edition” neighborhood was subsequently lowered, and this gave way to the construction of more modest homes and the conversion of the neighborhood to a more middle class standard.
As the city of Boise expanded and downtown stretched to the very edge of the River, the definition of the edge of town was redefined. Harrison Boulevard became the new standard for the edge of town, and the wealthy began to migrate away from the “Central Edition” neighborhood to the Harrison Boulevard neighborhood. The subsequent development of more modest homes in the “Central Edition” is seen in the 409 W. Broad St. house, which features a simple neo-classical and gable shotgun build with more intricate internal details. In modern day this house has been utilized as student housing for young individuals, and has become somewhat of a destination in the Boise music scene. The Central Edition neighborhood and the 409 W. Broad St. house represent the evolution of Boise from a small western town to a growing metropolis.
More information about the Central Addition:
The original Boise town site was first platted in 1863 and then expanded in 1867. Until Arnold’s Addition north of Fort Street in 1878, the original town site remained unchanged. This initial attempt to expand the city was at first unsuccessful, and it was twelve more years before the city really needed additional room to grow. Three additional subdivisions were platted in the North End in 1890 along with Central Addition and the Davis Addition both south of Front Street.
Prior to the subdivision of Central Addition in 1890, the property had been owned by Lafayette Cartee. Cartee, who lived at 4th and Grove, had moved to Idaho from Oregon where he had been Speaker of the House in that state’s legislature. The smaller portion of the neighborhood as it now stands was owned by Thomas Jefferson Davis and his wife Julia. Their home was at 7th Street (Capitol Blvd.) and Myrtle and they owned most of the land to the river including what is now Julia Davis Park. They subdivided part of that land to form the Davis Addition. The only part of the present neighborhood included in the Davis Addition is the block west of 5th Street.
Unlike the subdivisions in the North End that were much larger, Central Addition was built out quite early. It was full by 1912. Even during its initial development, it had a mix of both high income and low income housing and occupants. This was one of the most prominent neighborhoods in 1895 as well as one of the most affordable areas for Boise’s working class. Grove Street, previously the most highly sought address, was on the decline and it looked like Central Addition might be the next fashionable place to live—until the railroad.
Originally, the mainline of the railroad bypassed Boise in 1883. Following public outcry from the territorial capital, a spur line was built in 1887 that serviced the Bench. By 1894, a depot had been built on Front Street, and by 1903 the railroad extended east to the Barber Valley. Almost overnight this neighborhood was altered from idyllic and surrounded by orchards on the river to one block from the railroad line.
The neighborhood’s social decline was almost immediate, and soon it was solely a working-class neighborhood. Originally the neighborhood was home to lawyers, politicians, judges and jewelers as well as masons, carpenters, teachers, miners and blacksmiths. Eventually it was a working class neighborhood of machinists, meat cutters, Basque sheepherders, salesmen, and laborers.
Because the neighborhood has been neglected for so long, it retains a majority of its architectural integrity and individuality.
*Information courtesy of Preservation Idaho. For complete information and reference, visit here .