Kershisnik Law, located in Boise’s North End at 620 West Hays Street, is a prime example of Art Deco architecture in Idaho. Originally built as medical practitioner’s office for Dr. Bruce Budge in 1948, the building has since been changed to a law firm owned by Frank Stoppello. Renovations were completed both in 1963 and the early 1970’s; however, the structure still retains many of its original design elements as mostly the interior was remodeled.
The original opening of the building as a doctor’s office made big news as it was one of the first new, modern Art Deco buildings in Boise. The interior was a functioning, traditional medical office space with a waiting room and reception desk following the front entrance; examination rooms lined the west side of the building. Around 30 years later, remodels updated light fixtures and windows as well as changing the interior’s structure. The examination rooms were modified into offices, and an additional hallway was created laterally through the middle of the building. Mr. Stoppello’s office lies in the most southwest room, with the original walls pushed back towards the reception area (which is still a waiting room today). Little change has been made other than the interior, light fixture, and window updates.
The exterior of the building had been virtually untouched since the original construction, with most of the key design elements and ornamentation still in place. Organic Art Nouveau styles accompany industrial, modern aspects which came to be known as Art Deco. Popular in the 1930’s and 40’s, the somewhat eclectic style molds industrial motifs and materials with geometric, streamlined shapes and ornamentation.
Kershisnik Law exhibits several key Art Deco components that were popular during the time period. The roof remains flat except for above the entryway; vertical lines adorn areas below the windows and near the front entrance to create a tall, almost aerodynamic feeling in accordance to the modern goals of Art Deco. Column-like structures between the front doors emphasize the vertical pillar illusions. The entryway also contains a hanging fixture with chains, similar to the hanging signboards on the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise. The southwest and southeast exteriors interrupt the double-brick walls with translucent glass blocks arranged in a curved shape, again helping the building perpetuate a modern, aerodynamic aesthetic.
The original plans for the building were drawn by David DeCover while employed by the Boise Payette Lumber Company early in 1948. Architect H. C. Hulbe and the Boise Payette Lumber Co. worked together in order to build the building by the end of 1948. On of the more significant remodels of the building, in 1972, took place a few short years before the building came under the possession of Frank Stoppello. Dr. Nobel who owned the building contracted architect Nat J. Adams to help with remodel some of the interior of the building. Nat Adams is a particularly interesting individual who fought during World War II. Adams has been credited with saving former President George H. W. Bush’s life during the war. At one point during the war in the Pacific, Bush’s plane was shot down and the former president landed in the ocean. Nat Adams and a few other pilots prevented Japanese troops from sailing out and capturing Bush. Nat Adams returned from the war as a hero and completed numerous architectural jobs in the Northwestern region of the United States, including the remodel of 620 W. Hays Street during 1972.
The Boise Payette Lumber Company which played a large role in the construction of the original building was founded in 1913 due to the merger between Payette Lumber & Manufacturing Company and Barber Lumber. I was a large company that greatly influenced Idaho towns of Cascade, where the company was based, and Payette, the destination of logs which were sent downstream. 620 W. Hays St. was one of the last buildings that the Boise Payette Lumber Company was specifically involved in. This is because less than a decade after the construction of the building, in 1957, the Boise Payette Lumber Company and the Cascade Lumber Company would merger to become the Boise Cascade Corporation.
Most of the remodelings of the building had to do with its transition from a Doctor’s office to a Law Firm. One of the major issues Mr. Stoppello faced was the need for a meeting room in the building. The hallway, which originally cut through the middle of the building in a straight path, was then moved in order to go around the new meeting room that was placed in the western side of the building. The original windows of the building were taken out and replaced without altering the window frames of the building. Corner offices which were originally separated by a wall were originally part of the building to separate the doctor’s office from the patients. However, these wall were removed as the building was transitioned to a Law Firm.
Kershisnik Law is an excellent example of the Art Deco architectural style found in Boise, Idaho. It certain demonstrates the vertical movement that is essential to almost every Art Deco building. The main entrance has a 1920’s theatre appearance, and the rounded corners and flat roof are just more characteristics of the Art Deco style.
Many interesting people have been involved in the building’s creation and remodelings. Architects like H.C. Hulbe and David DeCover played major roles with help from the Boise Payette Lumber Company. War Hero Nat J. Adams can also be tied to this building, a man who helped save the life of President H. W. Bush during World War II. The building has been a place of business for both doctors and lawyers, and its interior design reflects this. The building has a very rich history full of interesting people and architectural techniques, making it one of the most unique buildings throughout the city of Boise.