IMMANUEL METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH – TRICA
Boise’s North End is home to the first Methodist church in the city: Immanuel Methodist Episcopal Church. Built in 1904, this church is located on the corner of Eastman and 14th, in a primarily residential neighborhood. This church was designed by J.E. Tourtellote and Hummel, the same men who built the Idaho State Capitol building. Until the 80s the church was in continual operation offering services as well as housing for a few community members. Unfortunately, when it was sold to private owners the building was soon stripped of much of its value and left to suffer from the natural elements and meth users. After 30 years of deterioration, Jon Swarthout purchased the church with the hopes of restoring it, and making it the new home for TrICA, the Treasure Valley Institute for Children’s Arts; an organization working to provide local children with a place to express themselves in all sorts of artistic mediums, especially dance as that is Mr. Swarthout’s specialty.
The 106 year old church has suffered a great deal over the years since occupation. A great majority of the windows, including the wall sized stained glass piece in the front, are either boarded up or destroyed. The roof is full of holes which are now occupied by a large family of pigeons. Due to a great deal of storm water damage, asbestos contamination, and remnants of a meth lab the entire interior of the building requires renovation and replacement.
The main architectural style of this church is Gothic Revival (Baroque-Romanesque?). It is characterized by the large stained glass windows and “steep vaulted roofs” and “extravagant features”. Besides these prominent features, buildings of this style often have exposed beams and windows that come to a point at the top. The roof line is said to have “cross gables”. This can all be seen on the Immanuel church, except for a certain feature that looks rather out of place. I am speaking of the castle like stucco façade that was added to the front entrance. This part does not match the rest of the building at all, and seems to cheapen the whole effect of the once grand and domineering building. The current renovation is respecting this style, and is not changing anything more than is necessary to make it safe for inhabitants.
Oddly enough, this building that is trying to bring a community together through art has stirred quite a controversy from many of the neighbors. These people fear that when TrICA moves in a great deal of traffic, noise, and congestion will follow. To demonstrate their dislike for the movement many houses are decorated with hand painted (ironic as it discourages art, but the signs are hand painted) anti-TrICA signs. There also seemed to be a correlation between those who refused to talk to us and those who had these signs proudly displayed in their front yards.