Property Type: Institutional
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
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The history of the Women’s and Children’s Alliance building is very long, and complex. The Women’s and Children’s Alliance building was originally built in 1939, by the architectural firm of Tourtellote and Hummel, to serve as the Boise headquarters of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), the female equivalent of the YMCA.
The use of the colonial revival style of architecture can be seen in the WCA in the use of multi-paned windows, prominent columns in the entrance, fanlights; semicircular windows, and a narrow overhang. From 1900 to 1950, colonial revival style was popularly used in other Boise buildings besides the WCA, which includes the Bench Colonial Revival house.
During the building’s early history, since it was considered improper at this time for a young single woman to live alone, the building functioned as a boarding house for thousands of single women coming into Boise from the surrounding rural areas. Also during this time the building functioned as place were women could take classes on various subjects, and as a place were young men and women could meet to dance the night away, allowing the YWCA to become a social spot for the youth of Boise during the 1940s and the 1950s. In 1957, the YWCA would gain a second floor and an expanded first floor, which would expand the building to approximately 24 feet wide by 20 feet deep. In the following years, the YWCA would become the home of a small restaurant that would serve food to go, and as well as the location of the first bagel shop in Idaho.