There are parts of Boise that are notable for their unique and distinct styles of architecture. Warm Springs, in the northeast sector of the city, is one such area, and the Queen Anne house at 615 Warm Springs Avenue is a prime example of the iconic homes that border the historic street. The home was originally built in 1894 for Robert Fraser, a wealthy businessman who was looking to settle on the outskirts of the developing city.
The appeal of Warm Springs was undeniable as it offered large lots that stretched all the way to the Boise River and access to the geothermal heating from which the street derives its name. After Fraser sold the home just a few years subsequent to building it, the home was occupied by two Idaho governors, a Boise mayor, and the child of one of the city’s wealthiest businessmen. It is still a privately owned home and an official entry in the National Register of Historic Places. However, its current owners have taken to affectionately calling the home “Gertrude,” a name proudly displayed on a plaque just inside the entry way.
At the time of Gertrude’s original construction, the property owner was an exceedingly wealthy man and the effort to showcase that wealth led to the home’s intricate style and ornamentation. The building is officially documented as a Queen Anne, a subset of the broader Victorian styles. The detailed scalloped shingles, gables, and truncated hipped roof are characteristics of the style that can be found on Gertrude. The use of stained glass in the transoms and two-story bay window also follow the archetype of a Queen Anne home. There also used to be a turret on the west edge of the home, until a 1940s remodeling job when it was removed due to complications with the plumbing. Other than that and a few minor elements, the owners have successfully protected and retained most of Gertrude’s original design.
As mentioned earlier, a number of prominent people in the Boise community lived at 615 Warm Springs Avenue, especially in the early 20th century. Most notably Governor Frank Gooding inhabited the address in 1907, during one of the most contentious court cases in Idaho history. That year Governor Steunenberg had been assassinated and the search for the killer and his trial were intense and heated. It is speculated that some of the most confidential and sensitive conversations dealing with the trial took place in Gooding?s dining room. This story only adds to the intrigue of Gertrude, one of Boise’s most architecturally and historically impressive homes.
A special thanks to the owners of the home for welcoming the BAP