Constructed in 1911, this house on Harrison Blvd is just one of many houses on the prominent North End street that was home to a governor, a wealthy stock broker, and and a department store owner. Nearly a century of history, the Spanish mission style house on the corner of Harrison Boulevard and Ridenbaugh Street is full of beautiful Spanish-inspired architecture that is unique and picturesque.
The first residents of this house were a retired couple, Mr. And Mrs. G.W. Bond. Mrs. Bond was accredited with dreaming up the Spanish style home that proved to be one of the first Hispanic influenced homes in the Boise area. Considered a mansion even before its construction, the Bond Mansion was estimated at costing approximately $20,000 when all of the amenities were installed, but in actuality, the house was constructed for $17,000.
The Spanish Mission style was inspired by the Bond’s past residence in San Diego, California where Mr. G.W. Bond was an upper-class business man before moving to Boise where the Bond family chose to retire. Just before moving to Boise, the San Francisco earthquake struck in 1906 destroying many buildings that were once considered structurally strong, and the Bonds took the fear from the earthquake into their own Boise home. The house was constructed with concrete walls that were twelve inches thick in order to protect the house from the devastation that was caused during the San Francisco earth quake. Designed by Tourtellotte and Hummel, the Spanish mission style mansion was considered a masterpiece and was quickly recognized throughout Boise.
Within the mansion, Mrs. Bond had a basement pool built with a retractable cover to be put over it in order to create a dance floor for parties. The three-story house was considered extremely modern with its clay and Spanish red tile as opposed to the typical wood work that was used in building the majority of Boise houses during the early 20th century. The pillars used to support the roof around the front porch create a colonial atmosphere amidst the Spanish red tile roof and romantic half balcony. Stucco was used to create the adobe style look of the mansion, and the added texture of the house was another unique aspect.
It wasn’t until later in the 20th century that the stone lions appeared in front of the mansion’s stairs. In the late 20th century all the way to the millennium, the lions were decorated for each holiday, and while their costumes may not have added to the architectural significance of the original Bond mansion, the Halloween costumes, Christmas wreaths, and Easter baskets gave the Harrison Boulevard home a greater sense of originality. Once home to G.W. Bond and Governor David W. Davis, the “Lion House” is considered a Boise tradition, and its Spanish Mission style continues to be a trademark characteristic.