Hannifans Cigar Shop is a beautiful example of some of Boise’s finest architecture. Hannifans Cigar is a small cigar shop located at 1024 W. Main Street, in one of the most historical blocks in Boise. It was originally constructed in 1905, making Hannifans one of the oldest structures in downtown Boise. The original building is constructed from worn brick, supported internally by a wooden frame. Originally, Hannifans has a basic rectangular shape, but after remodeling in 1953 several extra feet were added to the top of the building, as well as a staggered roof feature which gave the building a slightly more unique look. With few exceptions this building is functional rather than stylistic.
The unobtrusive position and size of Hannifans make it one of the less distinctive buildings in downtown Boise. The redeeming asset of Hannifans is its impressive age of 105. One interesting aspect of Hannifans’ style is a Romanesque arched window that the owners have (predictably) boarded up. This contributes to the unkempt aura that Hannifans exudes. A decorative pillar in the front of the structure adds a stylistic flair. The bricks in the pillar are so worn that one wonders if the structural integrity of Hannifans might be compromised. The staggered roofing is another feeble attempt to add architectural style to this uninspired building. By far the most distinctive feature of this building is the decorative sign that occupies the side of the building that is facing 11th street in downtown Boise. The colorful sign is an example of urban renewal in downtown Boise.
Noel Weber, founder of the Classic Design Studio, is responsible for designing the Hannifans sign. Noel Weber brought the Letterheads, an international group of sign painters, to Boise in 2000. They created three landmark murals that are unique to Boise. These include the Basque mural on Capitol Boulevard, Stearns Motor Car on Idaho Street, and of course Hannifans Cigar. These murals add character to otherwise lifeless walls. Urban renewal is often criticized for ruining significant historical architecture, but in this case and many others, urban renewal has helped to make a rather ordinary façade more appealing and unique.
Hannifans plays an important role in daily life in Boise because it’s the city’s oldest and most reputable smoking establishment. Famous for providing quality products at an honest price, Hannifans is the place to satisfy all your smoking needs. Hannifans also conducts business with integrity, never allowing minors on the premises, as any local youngster would be able to tell you. These ethical business practices are what have allowed Hannifans to stay in the tobacco business for so long, despite many of their products being linked to cancer, and death.