Property Type: Commercial
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Public  |  Architectural Style: Art Deco
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First established in 1938 as a place to house the offices of Ada County during the reconstruction of the courthouse, this building is one of the older structures in downtown Boise. It was sold to the city of Boise in 1948 for use as the City Hall and police station. By 1976, the prestigious law firm of Givens Pursley LLP had moved in. The firm’s name derives from the cofounders of Raymond D. Givens and Kenneth L. Pursley, commemorating them for their service. Their specialties are in the areas of Agriculture, Business and Finance, Health Care, and Litigation.

In regards to the structure itself, there was a rear addition on the 6th street side in 1984 replacing the police station; the third floor wasn’t constructed until 1991 after the business had grown. At first, only the second and third floors were occupied by the law firm while the first floor was rented out for other companies. But six years ago the first floor was incorporated into ownership and now the entire structure belongs to the Givens Pursley LLP.

When facing the front entrance from the Bannock Street side, it feels as though one is about to walk through a majestic doorway considering the intricate designs on the framing. The doorway was redone five years ago to add more elegance to the exterior. The building was split into two distinct halves: the jail and City Hall. The Capitol Building is located across the street and the old Ada County courthouse was and still is located to the East of it. There is a basement that still exists between the old jail and the Courthouse. This passageway was once used for transporting prisoners to the jail. In fact, while the jail side was still under renovation, there were poetry and handprints engraved on the sides of the walls.

Some of the pillars on the first floor were made of pure concrete which is 18 inches thick. One can see the old metal ventilation system on the ceilings. The current building incorporates modern furniture and designs while still maintaining traditional themes from old Boise.

The address changed from N. 6th Street to W. Bannock Street upon completion of the new doorway on the Bannock Street side. Traffic in this area can be congested depending on the time of the day. There are ghost stories of sorts involving a friendly presence that merely haunts clients down the hallways and stairs. The worst noted event was the replacing of a large stack of documents from a desk to an employee’s seat. A not so friendly story however, was of one of the first secretaries to work for Givens Pursley as she was accidentally hit by a car along Bannock Street. This freak accident is the worst of the stories we heard and put a stunned look on both of our faces.

Nevertheless, the building invites clientele to a warm atmosphere marked by a large sky lit staircase, cozy red chairs, and sufficient office space. The offices themselves varied in size and structure as the upper scale rooms are located more on the top floor. This left the second and bottom floors for more of the traditional cubical designs.

We were also able to set up an interview with one of the employees of the law firm who knew some basic information about the building’s history and significance as he was working on a project about the building. However, we also interviewed former senator James A. McClure’s son, Kenneth R. McClure, who was more familiar with the immediate history as he had worked there much longer.The architectural style of this WPA building is predominantly art-deco; granted there are a few glimpses of international style present in the shape of the staircase, bookcase, and windows.

The Art-Deco style is most popular among commercial buildings such as banks, movies, and courthouses. It originated in Europe around the late 19th century and uses key elements of staircases, glass and silver ware, and stucco materials. Some of the key features to note are the streamlined classical columns, the stuccoed brick construction, and the rosettes framing the entry. We asked one of the employees of the building across the street if we could take photos from their rooftop. Thankfully we were granted permission and took some of our best pictures from atop the Capitol Park Plaza. This building at one point was the location of the Idaho Statesman newspaper. It provides a great scenic view of the Capitol Building and some parts of downtown Boise.There are large conference rooms with all of the necessary ammonites.

Employees enjoy a modern business environment supplemented by home-like features of couches, paintings, and fine carpet. One can be comforted with a glass of water from the receptionist upon request. The employees maintain a friendly attitude by feeding off the energy of the building. If I had the opportunity to work here, I would because the coworkers are helpful and create an ideal business-like atmosphere. It’s location across from the Capitol adds to its pristine aura, yet it still maintains a mysterious characteristic with the back alleyway behind its frame. Overall it was a unique building supported by its rich history.