Property Type: Commercial
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Architectural Style: Greek Revival
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The R. Z. Johnson law office was built in 1885. It mainly follows the Greek Revival style, as seen by the style of the main building and by the pillars on the front. The building is in the shape of a large rectangle, with a cube shaped section on the back. This square section is split off from the rest of the building, and, unlike the main building, is two stories. There are also anti classical elements, which were popular during the time of its construction. An example of this style can be seen in the fake riveting along the pillars, which is an interesting mix of Greek revival and Anti-Classical styles. The cast iron railings also follow the anti classical style, and the sandstone “horse head” motif mounted as keystones on arches built into the walls above the front and left side windows in the main building, and the front door.

The front of the roof is a tympanum style, while the rest of the roof is gabled. The exception is the back addition, which has a flat roof. This roof is inset, and the side walls continue up past it for several feet. The roof is shingled with little architectural style other than the inset style of the square section. There is no chimney, which suggests that there was no fireplace.

There are a large number of windows on this building, most of which are topped by an arch. There are two windows on the front of the building on the porch. The right side of the building has only a few windows, which are located near the back of the building. The Left side has many more windows; there are a total of six windows on this side, which are spread out nearly evenly over the length of the building. The back of the building has a total of four windows, two on the bottom story and two on the second story.

There are a number of doors on this building, two on the main building and two on the back block. The front door is a typical wooden door, whose defining feature is the arch with the horse head above it. The side door on the main building is indented, with another arch with horse head above it. The rear cube has two barn style doors. The door on the right is a double door, which is now in ruin, while the door on the left looked like it once was double, but has been replaced with a window and a modern door.

Inside, the walls supported book shelves everywhere, many which have been covered up with a fake wall.   The old law books are mostly still there, tucked behind the wall!   In the back of the office, there is a rifle rack, perhaps because Johnson would have dealt in silver and gold at the office.   Also, the office has a large, thick floor safe that is inside a fortified bank type safe door.

Richard Z Johnson, the original owner of this building, was born in Akron, Ohio on May 21, 1837. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in law in 1859. He moved multiple times, practicing law along the way. Eventually, he ended up in Silver City, Idaho, and established a successful law firm there. Then, he moved to Boise and had this law office built. Richard Z. Johnson did many things besides having this building built. Once here, he had this building built as his law office. He also had the building at 524 Idaho Street built as his apartments. He also put five hundred dollars, along with nine other people, into Baxter’s Foundry. This foundry grew to be a major business in Boise. Later, on July 18, 1949 the building completely burned to the ground in a fire with flames that leapt 300 feet into the air. This fire also damaged the shop next door and the office past that. On the other side, it almost claimed the year old building, which was not specified.

Richard Z. Johnson was a very influential lawyer in Boise. His works were many and spread over many issues. One major accomplishment was the founding 11th territorial legislature. This created the Boise City Independent School District, the Ada County Courthouse, and the Ada County Jail along with 5 other lawyers. The school district immediately got to work, giving money for students. They also built a new school.

Richard Z Johnson worked in this law office. This office was built with a Greek revival style. However as the rivets in the pillars, the cast iron railings, and the stone horse head motifs show, it had hints of the anticlassical style that was popular at the time.