Located on Gekeler and old Saybrook, the Tate house rests as a grand colonial house surrounded by the Lakewood residential area, and Gekeler farms. Built by John P. Tate around the the time of the second world war, the house grand for it’s time. It was built in a colonial design, and was intended to be the living space for the Tate family. When the house was built, the area wasn’t the mass residential zone that it is today. Instead, where all the houses are there rested a large dairy field and from it dairy was shipped around Idaho. The along with the house, the land was owned by the Tate family. The entire land encompassed today what is Lakewood and Gekeler farms as well as Timberline High School. The property was used by them for a dairy farm called “Triangle Dairy” which had the best cows in the area. Yet eventually this land was sold to the city and used to build homes and suburban complexes (The Tate’s provided a large amount of Boise’s land over the years). And the house itself was sold to the Oppenheimer family in the early 80s. The Oppenheimers still own the house today. Since being sold, the house has undergone several expansions, adding more that half of the original size. A current expansion is being undergone which is adding a pool and facilities.
The house itself was originally constructed as a colonial home as evidenced by it’s simple choices in terms of color and design. The house favors simple square windows instead of arches or other fancy designs. Indeed the only real characteristics that stands out is the triangle frames atop the windows. The doors are square and flat, and simple. The roof is monochrome and sits very plainly with little dips or architectural flair drawing it out. The house is two stories tall, with the residence being primarily on the second floor. And while the porch on the front is unusual and uncommon for this style of house, it was an expansion onto the house done after it’s original construction, and fits seamlessly to the house, enhancing the facade and making the house look bigger and grander. The design is symmetrical, inspired by other such colonial houses which were in turn inspired by the Renaissance’s renewed interest in classical design and balance. The house’s two wings are also colonial in design, although only one floor, and still retain the symmetry present in colonial architecture. The building itself is constructed with wood, following the usual direction for colonial houses.
Colonial houses, while scattered throughout the treasure valley, are more rare in south-east Boise. The Tate house certainly grasps a point in Boise’s history, revealing it as a smaller farm town before it became the small metropolis that it is today. It shows the type of place that Boise was at the end of the modern era and the world wars. Even today, it stands out among the other houses that surround it as an older and more distinguished building. Even compared to a majority of Boise’s architectural past, which seems to be filled with Victorian, the Colonial style architecture stands out and looks more regal than its Victorian counterpart. It matches the farm, and the owners that lived in the building, the Tate’s being a prominent Idaho family for several generations. The house overall, is very unique, and it’s homely feel is an attractive characteristic that makes the design of the house more enjoyable to look at. It’s history also reveals much about the area it is located in, and the history surrounding Boise’s past, and it’s change over the years and growth from a small Idaho town, to a still small, but growing, Metropolis.