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Boise’s Historic Neighborhoods: A Blast From the Past

Posted by Lisa Kohl on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 5:02pm.

Boise Historic Neighborhoods & Districts

Did you know Boise boasts six beautiful residential neighborhoods on the historical register?

Some of the most sought-after locations for homebuyers, many of the historic districts in Boise are near downtown, offering short commutes, high walkability, desirable amenities and local flair. Whether you are looking for Queen Anne cottage, a Craftsman bungalow, or the perfect Colonial Revival style home, you’ll see a wide array of gorgeous examples in Boise's historic neighborhoods.

Many, such as Harrison Boulevard, are also a vibrant part of the Boise community. On Halloween, you’ll notice Harrison blocked off to allow lines of trick-or-treaters to visit the historic houses. The Christmas lights every year on Warm Springs Avenue are a delight to drive by, and the North End is a popular spot for local races and events.

East End Historic District

East End Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of We Know Boise listing

For locals, the cabin on Fort Street is a familiar sight. It’s the O’Farrell cabin, built in 1862, and used to be the easternmost portion of the original Boise City townsite, a booming gold rush town. The scattered tents, adobe homes, and board-and-batten structures of 1862 were the beginnings of the East End, Boise neighborhood.

Today, the East End features spectacular homes in the architectural styles of the 1900s to 1940s, and beyond. The Foursquare, Craftsman bungalows and Stick style houses built by working families are a lovely sight in the older part of the neighborhood, while the more contemporary California-style architecture from the 50s and 60s can be found throughout the district. The East End is a vibrant community with a thriving neighborhood association, a walkable distance from downtown favorites and has a stunning view of the nearby foothills.

The East End is ideal for the outdoor lover who’s ready to jump on a bike after work and head out for a trail ride. The foothills are in the East End’s backyard and the beloved Boise River Greenbelt snakes its way through the shaded neighborhoods along the river.

Home to several of the city’s best outdoor recreation sites and parks—such as Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park, the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, and the expansive Marianne Williams Park—this neighborhood is begging to be explored. On hot summer days, the historic Natatorium Pool and Hydrotube is within walking distance of many East End residences.

North End Historic District

North End Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of Lisa Kohl

Walter E. Pierce was Boise’s first real estate man, and his vision for the area lives on today in the neighborhood developments of the North End. Pierce laid out Harrison Boulevard and established the residential addition to Boise City later known as the North End.

Boise's North End is an eclectic, well-loved district with charming historic homes, a walkable and friendly vibe, and easy access to downtown or the foothills. Locals can stroll to visit haunts like Camel’s Back Park and Hyde Park. The foothills are right out North End residents’ back doors, making this area ideal for active families. The North End even boasts the city’s highest bike-to-car ratio, with many residents commuting by bicycle to their downtown offices.

The North End is a highly desirable neighborhood near downtown, the freeway, outdoor recreation, and the shopping district on State Street. Boise’s North End neighborhood contains many of the city’s oldest homes, from early Queen Annes to 50s-style bungalows with charming character.

With its prime location in the heart of North Boise, residents can experience high desert hiking, sandy beaches, swimming, fine dining, shopping, and a micro-short commute all in one place. It's no surprise why many choose to call the North End home.

Harrison Boulevard Historic District

Harrison Boulevard Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of Lisa Kohl

Harrison Boulevard is well-known as one of the most idyllic and charming streets on Boise’s North End. It’s named after the president who made Idaho a state in 1890, Benjamin Harrison, and features historic homes built by some of Boise’s most prominent families in the 20th century.

The magnificent homes span a variety of architectural styles and are always well-appointed with excellent lawns and decor. The residents of this picturesque neighborhood take their ownership of Boise’s history seriously, and their curb appeal and tasteful updates reflect that. Harrison Boulevard’s ennobled homes are steeped in a history that’s hard to miss even by the most casual observer, and it’s a treat just to drive down the tree-lined street. In the spring, the pear trees throw petals along the median, while the street shines in autumn with blazing colors.

Harrison Boulevard is the neighborhood for you if you’re looking to put down roots and grow in the heart of a vibrant local community. Homes on Harrison Boulevard and the surrounding streets don’t come up for sale often, and when they do, they sell quickly. Many of the homes have been tastefully remodeled to reflect their historic beauty. The opportunity to live in one of these gorgeous houses is not to be missed.

Hays Street Historic District

Hays Street Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia by Jon Roanhaus

The Hays Street Historic District was developed mostly at the turn of the century and was initially a residential area. More than half of the houses on Hays Street were constructed before 1912 and showcase a plethora of architectural styles. Many of the homes are meticulously maintained and painted with historically-accurate colors, providing excellent examples of Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Minimal Traditional, and the most common, Queen Anne architectural style.

Today, the Hays Street District is home to many Boise businesses and serves as a transitional bridge between the busy commercial downtown and the single-family houses of the North End.

If you’re looking to live in the heart of downtown Boise and experience everything it has to offer, Hays Street may be the perfect neighborhood for you. If you work downtown, you can’t get a better commute than Hays Street. You’ll enjoy high walkability and might just forego your car in favor of biking or walking for all your shopping and dining.

Hyde Park Historic District

Hyde Park Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of Lisa Kohl

The Hyde Park retail area is a unique addition to the Boise historical register. The hub of retail for the North End, Boise's Hyde Park bustles with activity and shines small-town friendliness. Hyde Park sits at the base of Hill Road and serves as the Treasure Valley’s cycling and mountain touring center, complete with bike shops and easy access to choice mountain biking trails. Whether you’re looking for a quality cup of local coffee, a classic book, or a haircut, you can find it with a hefty dose of historic charm in Hyde Park.

The surrounding residential streets are a desirable part of the North End neighborhood, full of single-family homes and old-growth trees. Some of the city’s first apartments and cottages are near Hyde Park, offering more affordable housing in one of Boise’s most-loved areas. For the foodie who’s looking to live, eat, work, and play within walking distance of home, the Hyde Park neighborhood is ideal.

Warm Springs Avenue Historic District

Warm Springs Avenue Historic District Boise, ID
Photograph courtesy of For The Love Of Old Houses/FB

The Warm Springs Avenue neighborhood is one of the oldest and most beloved in Boise, tracing its roots to the late 1800s. Warm Springs Avenue was named for the Kelly Hot Springs, which were tapped early on to provide water for Boise’s fire hydrants system.

The homes on Warm Springs Avenue were among the first in the world to use geothermal sources for heat when water line owners built their houses along the street. The naturally-heated water from Table Rock served the original residents of Warm Springs Avenue and is still part of the landscape of the East End.

The homes on Warm Springs are stately, grand, and designed in many architectural styles from Cape Cod to Colonial. One of the earliest settlers in Boise, George Whitfield Russell, hauled pine over Bogus Mountain to build one of the first houses in the area which still stands today at 1035 Warm Springs Avenue.

Warm Springs Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood is a pocket of the East End and highly desirable. Residents on Warm Springs enjoy an unparalleled view of Table Rock, easy access to downtown, and proximity to Boise staples like the Natatorium Pool and Hydrotube and Idaho Botanical Garden.

On warm summer nights, you could take a bike ride down Warm Springs and arrive at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in time for a show, complete with your basket of cheese and wine. Residents on Warm Springs enjoy an easy 45-minute drive to Idaho’s south-central mountains and a secluded feel that belies the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown.

From biking to shopping, hiking to dining, casual to formal, nightlife to day trips—Boise’s historic neighborhoods have it all. Whatever your lifestyle or preference, there’s a historic neighborhood in Boise for you.

Boise Real Estate Agent Lisa KohlLisa Kohl

Lisa is an Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. She helps each client just as she would a member of her own family, and cherishes the friendships she’s created. From Southeast Boise to The North End, up to Eagle and West to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals. Email Lisa

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