This house was built in 1893 for Joseph Straughan. Straughan was appointed surveyor general of Idaho by President Cleveland in 1885 and in 1890 partnered with two other developers to subdivide the Central Addition where he constructed his home.
More information about the Central Addition:
The original Boise town site was first platted in 1863 and then expanded in 1867. Until Arnold’s Addition north of Fort Street in 1878, the original town site remained unchanged. This initial attempt to expand the city was at first unsuccessful, and it was twelve more years before the city really needed additional room to grow. Three additional subdivisions were platted in the North End in 1890 along with Central Addition and the Davis Addition both south of Front Street.
Prior to the subdivision of Central Addition in 1890, the property had been owned by Lafayette Cartee. Cartee, who lived at 4th and Grove, had moved to Idaho from Oregon where he had been Speaker of the House in that state’s legislature. The smaller portion of the neighborhood as it now stands was owned by Thomas Jefferson Davis and his wife Julia. Their home was at 7th Street (Capitol Blvd.) and Myrtle and they owned most of the land to the river including what is now Julia Davis Park. They subdivided part of that land to form the Davis Addition. The only part of the present neighborhood included in the Davis Addition is the block west of 5th Street.
Unlike the subdivisions in the North End that were much larger, Central Addition was built out quite early. It was full by 1912. Even during its initial development, it had a mix of both high income and low income housing and occupants. This was one of the most prominent neighborhoods in 1895 as well as one of the most affordable areas for Boise’s working class. Grove Street, previously the most highly sought address, was on the decline and it looked like Central Addition might be the next fashionable place to live—until the railroad.
Originally, the mainline of the railroad bypassed Boise in 1883. Following public outcry from the territorial capital, a spur line was built in 1887 that serviced the Bench. By 1894, a depot had been built on Front Street, and by 1903 the railroad extended east to the Barber Valley. Almost overnight this neighborhood was altered from idyllic and surrounded by orchards on the river to one block from the railroad line.
The neighborhood’s social decline was almost immediate, and soon it was solely a working-class neighborhood. Originally the neighborhood was home to lawyers, politicians, judges and jewelers as well as masons, carpenters, teachers, miners and blacksmiths. Eventually it was a working class neighborhood of machinists, meat cutters, Basque sheepherders, salesmen, and laborers.
Because the neighborhood has been neglected for so long, it retains a majority of its architectural integrity and individuality.
*Information courtesy of Preservation Idaho. For complete information and reference, visit here .