On October, 16, 1928 J.R. Black secured a building permit to construct a $6,000 house.
Black contracted with Boise builder J.O. Jordan and Son to both design and build the house.
Completed in 1929, the one-and-a-half story brick and half-timber residence displays Tudor
Revival elements in its steep intersecting gables, tall chimney stack, decorative brickwork, and
narrow multi-light windows. The style was relatively uncommon before World War I, but
exploded in popularity during the 1920s and 30s. New masonry techniques allowed builders to
mimic the exteriors of medieval models using stone, clinker brick, wood and stucco. Jordan and
Son used pattern-book plans as the basis for many of the houses they designed by transforming
the basic plans into a collection of Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival houses throughout the
The house was sympathetically remodeled in 1979 when the second floor attic was converted
into bedrooms. It’s likely that the exterior of the house was modified by changing the original
hip roof to a gable roof, adding windows and a dormer to the second floor, and bumping out
the central gable of the façade. The alterations compliment the original character of the house.
Little is known of the original owner, J.R. Black, but not long after it was built George and
Mina Buhn acquired the house. George was born in Wisconsin and trained as a jeweler in
Peoria, Illinois. He moved west first opening a store in Redlands, California, and later moving
to Bellingham, Washington. He moved to Boise in 1910 and opened a jewelry store on Main
Street marrying Mina Clark, a Boise resident, in 1911. The Buhns lived in the house until about
1932. William and Anna McBratney were the next residents and moved into the house in 1933.
William founded McBratney funeral home in 1916 in a store-front location on Idaho Street. In
1929 he moved into a building at Ninth and State streets – the first building in Idaho specifically built as a funeral chapel. He sold the business to Earl Alden in 1949. William and Anna raised their two children, Edward and Florence, in the house and lived there until William died in 1961.
*This home was featured on the 2014 Heritage Homes tour by Preservation Idaho. To learn more, click here.