In 1927, Boise business man, C.C. Anderson began work on a new project, a department building, placed on a corner lot on 10th and Idaho Street. It was designed by the popular national firm Tourtellotte & Hummel, and more specifically, locally renowned head architect, Pietro Belluschi. Belluschi led the modern movement in Boise and also designed the First National Bank of Idaho. Called Anderson’s Golden Rule Department Store, the building was characterized by it’s Mission Style of white stucco walls and red tiled roofs. The Mission Style was very popular in Boise during the 30’s, making Anderson’s building one of the first to showcase it. Though the later remodels of the Anderson building removed the mission style, other examples of the mission style from the same era still exist around Boise today, most notably the Train Depot.
The Anderson Building in particular featured many corporate era architecture qualities. Though many small aesthetic efforts were made, the department store was essentially made for business, therefore prioritizing function over taste. However, for it’s time the building was designed with pedestrian activity and consumerism in mind. While there was enough room for pedestrians to walk in front of it, the layout was also meant to catch their eye through the products in the windows. An example of aesthetic plea can be seen through the arched frames over three of the many windows facing Idaho Street. Furthermore, while the building has always had five stories, the top floor was used for storage and seamstress work and was not well known. In the original planning the red tiled roof hung down over the top floor, as to conceal it. The main focal point of the building was the surrounding two story store front windows, pulled together with individual cloth awnings on the first floor and crown molding on the second.
Throughout the remainder of the 20th century, many architectural changes have been made to the building. In present day, the remains of the Mission Style architecture have been completely removed. Aside from earlier additions of sprinkler systems and air conditioners, majority of the renovations made to the Anderson building were made during the 50’s, when it was owned by the Bon Marche Department Store. During the 50’s the exterior was remodeled, creating the current pink tile store front, as well adding the continuous and horizontal awning. The building exterior is composed of brick on a layer of cement which is wrapped around the building’s wooden skeleton. However, the layer atop the cement is an actuality tile made to look like bricks. Furthermore, the coloring of the tile is much lighter on the outer sides of the building; the back wall of the building, facing the parking garage has a much darker tone. Changes were made to the interior during the 50’s as well. For example, it was the first building in Boise to add escalators. In addition, with the construction of the parking garage behind the building, a skybridge was built, connecting the department store to the garage. Still, in modern times the historical building looks short and at times dingy, in comparison to it’s new neighbors. As time passes, the architecture surrounding the C.C. Anderson building becomes much more aesthetically pleasing, making it difficult for the department store to compete.
Throughout the years, not only has the architecture of the Golden Rule Store changed, but the building’s purpose and owners as well. In 1937 the building was bought from C.C. Anderson by Allied Stores, a national corporation, who turned it into the Bon Marche, a National Department Store. For the remainder of the 20th century, it remained a local department store for the Bon, but in 2003 a national business deal with Macy’s turned the building into a Bon-Macy’s. In 2004 it became solely known as Macy’s. In 2010, as part of budget cuts, Macy’s closed five locations, including Boise’s downtown Macy’s. Following the Macy’s closing the building was bought by the Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp. who plan on renovating the building to accommodate apartments on the upper four floors. However, the 120,000 Sq. Feet building has five floors, leaving the first floor’s future occupation a mystery.
Working with a budget of 7 million dollars and a possible completion date aimed for 2014, there are many people involved with the future of the C.C. Anderson Building. The total building is under 50 feet tall, with a 17 foot first floor and increasingly smaller top 5 floors. Apartments would range in size from 518 to 1,000 square feet and would rent for $540 to $1,040 per month. For example, the third floor will contain 29 apartment units. Part of necessary project completion involves digging up the alley between the building and parking garage to fully renovate the outdated air conditioning, heating, sewer, water and electricity services. The base floor will be divided into two sections for future business leasing.Furthermore, the exterior of the building will undergo extensive renovation involving removal of the tile to create a more tasteful color scheme and removal of the continuous awning on the first floor.
The C.C. Anderson is a perfect example and depiction of what can become of a historical building. Nearly 100 years later, the building is based around the same original architectural plans, yet altered to give it a completely different appearance and purpose.
Reichert, R. “The Golden Rule Store.” Boise Arts and History. Boise City Department of Arts & History, 20 Oct. 11. Web. 28 May 2012. <http://www.boiseartsandhistory.org/blog/2011/10/20/the-golden-rule-store/>.
Interviewee: David Wali, Investment Brokerage Services: Colliers International