That’s why an article in the March-April 1953 edition of Scenic Idaho magazine caught my attention. Titled “Boise Takes to the Heights,” it led off with these paragraphs:
“The Boise Chamber of Commerce has a motto: Building a Better Boise—But if the present trek of its population continues to elevated home sites, this might well be changed to: “Building a Higher Boise.”
Nor are the regular residents the only ones lifting their eyes to the hills… Newcomers from California’s crowded population centers, from the Midwest and the East have found the city’s clime to their liking… Many of these seek “elbowroom” and gratify their need for it by constructing homes on hill and bench that are not altogether California or western ranch-house or modernistic—but which architects say may become the forerunner of a strictly “Idaho Home.”
Imagine, people moving to Idaho from California, of all places!
Among the realtors hawking homes in J.R. Simplot’s Boise Heights development (excellent homesites from $1,000) was Day Realty, run by Ernie Day. Day built his own home there. Today, with sensibilities about the foothills turned about 180 degrees from those of 1953, one might be tempted to grumble about entrepreneurs such as Ernie Day building homes where homes, perhaps, should never have been built. But I think Ernie can be given a bit of a pass on this one. He became an outspoken champion of Idaho’s special places and would play a key role in saving the Whiteclouds from mining in the early 70s.
The article ended with a sentence that would get many Boisean’s blood boiling today:
“Thus, Boise takes to the heights, and for a city continuing to increase in population, the surrounding hills and benches have provided a natural setting, and an outlet of new beauty without loss in utility.”
The photo is from the magazine article, which noted large windows set to provide a panoramic view to the southwest.