Property Type: Commercial
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Public  |  Year Built: 1902  |  Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
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We did our project on the Gem Building in downtown Boise. This building is now under construction, being renovated by Gary Christensen and company, whom we later received an interview from. We chose this building, primarily because of its interesting architecture and antique uniqueness, and secondary because we know the man doing the remodeling project.

The architectural style of the Gem Building is Romanesque. With the top of the Gem, in a castle-like formation, the turrets are consistent over the entire roof. The archway over one of the doors is curved, very much resembling Romanesque style also. One interesting detail about the Gem is the parallel lines flowing back and forth. They are spaced evenly throughout the whole face, and give it a graceful, yet symmetrical feeling.

This structure was built in 1902. During this time in Idaho’s great history, all kinds of construction was going up downtown Boise, such as the Central Fire Station, also built in 1902. Tourtellotte and Co. supervised construction of the brick and sandstone Gem Block at Tenth and Main. This was a three-way project for Sigmund Falk, Gibbons and Knight, and John Noble. The Noble Block of 1904 on Main would complete the structure with its round turret at the corner. Due to buildings like this, they called the Boise downtown “Athens” of the west during this period.