The Depot Bench Neighborhood: A Boise Original
Posted by Lisa Kohl on Monday, November 5th, 2018 at 4:11pm
Meandering tree-lined streets, stunning sunset views of the Treasure Valley, contemporary and historic homes, and a short commute to downtown Boise—these are just some of the reasons residents love living in the Depot Bench neighborhood.
In 1925, the Union Pacific Railroad blazed its way through Boise, bringing more industry to a rapidly-growing city. Over the previous 25 years, the city had boomed from a population of around 5,000 to over 20,000.
The railroad built a depot on a hill above the bustling post-gold rush city of Boise, and with it brought the adjoining neighborhoods into city limits. This was the beginning of Boise’s Depot Bench neighborhood, so named for the iconic and historic site of the Boise Depot which still towers over downtown.
The Boise Depot
Today, the Depot Bench neighborhood is one of the oldest and most desirable in the city, featuring a mix of new and historic houses and properties from million-dollar estates to charming starter homes.
Bordered by Crescent Rim Drive, Federal Way, Overland Road and Roosevelt Street, this coveted area exemplifies the best of the City of Trees with a vibrant neighborhood association, nearby shopping and dining, loads of natural beauty, and the cozy feel of a community that works, plays, and goes to school together.
Why People Move to the Depot Bench
Completed in 1929, the Edwin and Henrietta Peasley house was the first home built on Crescent Rim Drive
Set high above downtown on a natural hill—dubbed “The Bench” by locals—the Depot Bench neighborhood is uniquely situated. The views from parts of the area are incomparable. Mature-growth trees and tucked-away cul-de-sacs are home to some of the best displays of mid-century modern houses in the city.
The diversity of architecture tells the community’s story plainly: many early homes were ranches or small ranchettes before post-WWII families began building craftsman-style bungalows in the 1950s and 60s.
It’s not uncommon to find families in the Depot Bench neighborhood who’ve been in the area for decades and have watched the community grow up around them with their children. Homes sell quickly because of the area’s desirable amenities.
Short commutes: It’s hard to beat the Depot Bench for centrality. Its closeness to main thoroughfares like Federal Way, Overland Rd, and Vista Avenue make it uniquely connected to shopping, business centers, restaurants, and downtown offices. Many residents choose the Bench because they’d like to live in a quiet neighborhood without being far away from the center of the action.
Walkability and urban forest feel: Families can walk their kids to local schools, while dog owners can enjoy shaded jogs to dog parks. The mature canopy of trees in this area practically beg you to walk to your destination instead of drive, or simply go on a leisurely stroll.
A growing restaurant and shopping scene: The Depot Bench neighborhood is growing considerably and has been over the past decade, filling up with local hot spots of cuisine and culture.
Neighborhood parks and pool: Five of Boise’s parks call the Depot Bench neighborhood home, including the Morris Hill Dog Park, Morris Hill Park, Bowden Park, and Terry Day Park. The local municipal pool, South Pool, is a Boise Bench staple and favorite gathering spot with classic mid-century charm.
Schools: Many families choose the Bench because of the schools in the area. The small neighborhood schools of the Depot Bench community can be a friendly place to learn and grow.
Depot Bench Real Estate
This classic home was built in 1925, the same year as the Depot
Desirable homes that range from enormous, historically-significant estates to new condominiums populate the Depot Bench neighborhood. In 2018, Boise Depot Bench homes sold quickly with an average sale price of $364,280. With a median of 5 days on the market and little to no price reduction, these houses fly fast and are highly sought-after.
Emerald Street, Crescent Rim Drive, Alpine Street, and Roosevelt Street: One of the most coveted areas of all the Bench, features elegant 1950s and 60s homes, many with attractive mid-century style. Many of the homes here have mature landscaping and towering trees.
Crescent Rim Drive: There are few views in Boise neighborhoods that can be compared to the homes on Crescent Rim Drive. The unobstructed view of downtown and the foothills from these homes is astounding, and the mixed-style homes and large lots give a charming feel to this area. This area is home to million dollar estates, including one which belonged to Velma Morrison, a well-known Idaho philanthropist and patron of the arts.
Owyhee to Shoshone Street Corridor: The area from Rose Hill Street to Overland Road is incredibly sought-after for its storybook appeal and quiet, tucked-away feel. Many craftsman-style houses line these shaded streets with well-kept gardens and lawns.
Latah Street, Kootenai Street, and Owyhee Street: Some of the best examples of mid-century architecture in Boise populate the area in and around Latah and Owyhee Streets, north of Kootenai.
Crescent Rim Condos: Hotel-like amenities, classic and contemporary luxury, and a sophisticated feel define the Crescent Rim Condos. One of Boise’s newest condo developments, Crescent Rim condos are considered among the most exclusive and high-end outside of downtown.
Popular Depot Bench Shops & Restaurants
Sarah Kornfield and David Kelly's French bistro-inspired Petite 4
Vista Village: One of Idaho’s oldest shopping centers, Vista Village has been a Depot Bench staple since 1949. Residents visit Vista Village for everything from a quick bite to a prescription fill, and the area is known as a “gateway” to Boise because of its proximity to the Boise Airport and freeway.
Petite 4: One of my personal favorites, French-bistro inspired fare and an inventive menu, make Petite 4 an exciting option for dinner.
Cucina de Paolo: Classic Italian and American comfort food combine at Cucina de Paolo for a delicious experience. This Bench favorite is home to Betty the Washerwoman, the mechanized sign that used to advertise a Maytag store in the 1950s and is still lovingly cared for by the owners of Cucina de Paolo.
Red Bench Pizza: Red Bench Pizza offers Neapolitan pies with a Boise local flare. Craft pizza, wings, wine, cocktails, and beer are all on the menu at this popular lunch and dinner spot.
Frog’s Fix Coffee Parlor: A Depot Bench favorite, serving coffee, teas and pastries. On Cycle Over Sunday, patrons receive a 10% discount for arriving by bicycle.
BBQ4LIFE: If you haven't heard of the this Boise original, you soon will. Specializing in both BBQ and vegan (including the popular smoked tempeh sandwich), BBQ4LIFE was stared as a food truck in 2013 before moving to the Vista Village the following year.
Depot Bench at a Glance
- Distance from Downtown Boise: 6 minutes
- Walk Score: 58
- Bike Score: 82
- Median Home Value: $315,000
- Average Rent: $1,385
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.
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