912 North 8th Street was built in 1917 and has since been the location of a grocery store, a bakery, and a salon. Currently, it houses the Elliott Law Firm. It is two thousand eight hundred square feet on a narrow and misshapen lot. The current owner, Kathleen Elliott, has many fascinating stories regarding the building, which she discovered was built and renovated without any permits.
The building was constructed during the middle of World War One, and was a part of the Andoza Subdivision. The entrance is typical of a commercial building with an indented entrance to allow more people to move in and out of the store. The front area of the building was designed to be the commercial area, while the back was built to as a residential quarter. It currently faces the Boise Co-op, and is in between the Walker Apartments and Bairds Dry Cleaners. The parking lot of Bairds used to house a massive shantytown, which Elliot discovered abandoned when she moved in. She had to remove four truckloads of trash from this previous homeless hideout.
When the owner purchased the building in 2001 to make it the law firm it is today, it desperately needed to be renovated. Elliott chose to break through some of the walls to open up the space to make it better suited to its modern commercial purpose. As they punched through some of these walls, they discovered original doorframes and headers that proved doors used to exist where they were planning on placing them. Kathleen Elliot spoke to a few Boiseans when she purchased the home. She was told it was originally a green grocery store with living quarters in the back. This story was confirmed when she discovered what seemed to be a few strawberry crates in the crawlspace of the building. In addition, landscape work revealed old toys buried in the backyard.
A woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s both stated that in the 1940s and 1950s the building was made a bakery, and the living quarters maintained. In the 1960s, it was made into a hair salon. This would be typical of the 1960s and its stereotypes. When Elliott’s mother was cleaning out the vents in the building after she had purchased it, hair tufts frequently puffed out of the vents into her face. The walls were bright orange and heavily textured. On the exterior the original stucco has been mostly maintained, except for in one area where what appears to be a doorframe was covered over. There have been few structural issues with the building, beyond a minor sinkhole in the front of the crawlspace.
The Elliott Law Firm is a beautiful modern building that is a great addition to the North End’s edgy feel. Objects discovered in the building such as strawberry crates, toys, and human hair back up its history. This building has had many different purposes, but it clearly has adapted well to all its uses.