Property Type: Residential
Neighborhood: North End  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Architectural Style: Folk Victorian
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This quaint abode, located at 1518 Bella Street, has stood for a century. However it has not always occupied Bella Street in North Boise. Built in 1910, this house was built to accommodate workers constructing Barber Dam which is located on the outskirts of East Boise. It was later moved to an empty lot on Bella Street in the early 1930s – one of the first homes to occupy Bella Street. The house is two stories high with an addition made after it was moved to the North End.
There were some additions made when moved to the North End. They added onto the house using a cantilever which is a beam supported at only one end. This allowed for overhanging structures without external bracing. This method was used by famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The neighbors, who lived across the street during the renovations, remember being skeptical of the addition as using a cantilever was a new building method. A new asphalt shingle roof was placed over the original wood shingle roof, effectively making a “roof over a roof.” The owner spoke of how one could go up to the top floor and find the old roof. The original foundation is made of sandstone blocks, an attribute of historic Boise homes; the foundation of the addition is made of concrete and one can observe the line at which the two foundations meet.
The house can be classified as Folk Victorian, which has some characteristics of a Queen Anne, but is less ornate. Folk Victorian homes were especially prominent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as homes for the working class. The Bella Street house fits into this classification as it has a symmetrical, relatively simple shape, gabled dormers, and recessed eves. The Red House has a cross gabled roof with two gables that intersect on the front side of the house. This is not characteristic of a Folk Victorian, as Folk Victorian homes typically have a front gabled roof. The front of the house has two symmetrical sash windows with white exterior shutters. Other windows on the house are classified as double hung windows. Pieces of old coal can be found around the perimeter of house. It has an old shed adjacent to the house that is original to house. The shed has a coal shoot door on the side facing the alley. A coal truck, driving down the alley, used to stop and leave coal in the shed, used as fuel to heat the house. Another interesting feature of the house is the cellar, only accessible from the outside. The house has wood clapboard siding, originally painted a dull grey color, is now a barn red color with white trim, making the house stand out on the street. The owners plan to repaint the house this summer, the same color. The house sits on .15 of an acre and has beautiful, mature trees and shrubs, characteristic of North Boise, that surround the house.
The Red House on Bella Street, although old-fashioned, has stood strong for a century. It is amazing to think that this home has seen both depression and prosperity. One could only hope this pleasant Boise home, with a wealth of history, will stand for a century more.