Nearly every Boisean has heard or knows some version of the legendary murder that took place at the “Chop-chop house” years ago. East end children know all sorts of variations that sound like ghost stories told around the campfire. One version has evil brothers who killed little kids who would dare step on the property. The most common story involves a drug deal that went bad resulting in a stabbing where the victim staggered out of the house and across the street, putting his bloody hand on the neighbor’s window. Obviously the house has a place in local lore! But wait…the name chop-chop has a real meaning. In the mid-80’s, a man was killed by two drug dealers in the house and his body was chopped into 26 pieces which were spread around the Treasure Valley!
Although a fun issue to gossip about, the stories overpower a much too commonly overlooked aspect of this house; its rich architectural history and style. People are too occupied talking of the murder and how it happened in the house, and ultimately fail to realize the true significance of the house itself. The house is an architectural masterpiece, nearly one hundred years old, and a very important timepiece in the history of southeast Boise.
This house was built in 1910 and is now on .39 of an acre. It exhibits a craftsman style with a hint of prairie. At first glance, there is a striking transition of materials on the exterior of the house. The base of the house is tone from the quarries by the old penitentiary, followed by stucco. The stucco is framed with dark wood. Then, on the top of the house, the chimney returns to stone material again. This is characteristic of the craftsman style, and this house not only exemplifies it but also makes a smooth transition between materials because the colors are somewhat similar.
Another significant feature of this house is the gabled roofline. The gables provide a means for the house to not be completely symmetrical, while not being lopsided at the same time. Another factor of the house that displays the craftsman style is beneath the overhangs of the ceilings and the roofline. There are little wood cross sections that are a typical craftsman technique.
The porch is another important indicator of the style, specifically the columns. The columns are symmetrical and large, and each contained three materials used on the exterior of the house-stone, wood, and stucco. Also, gates that lead to the house are stylish and made of the same stone on the house. This also contributes to the craftsman style. The hint of prairie comes mainly from the overhangs of the roof, but the house is principally a craftsman style.
This house is one of the older houses in southeast Boise. At a century old, it stands as a landmark to Boise’s’ history. Not only does it have a rich history, it also exemplifies one of the earlier examples of architectural brilliance. Many homes built in its time were built solely for function. This house was not only built for function but also for fashion and architectural prestige as well.
Unfortunately, the house today is lacking in both of these categories, due only to neglect. In essence, however, the house is very significant not only architecturally because of its rich style, but also historically because it is so old and a part of early Boise culture.