The building you see before you is the Idaho Building. This was one of the six buildings during the early 1900s that Idaho approved a “skyscraper” type structure within its city. The city predicted that Boise would become a booming city within the next few years and decided they needed a large, commercial building to bring in more business and a skyscraper to show the citizens that Boise was emerging as a “modern” and “rapidly growing city.”
The building was built in 1910 and was intended for office space. The Idaho Building is a six-story structure built buy entrepreneur Walter Edger Pierce and designed by Chicago architect Henry John Schlacks. The design that Schlacks had in mind is that the skyscraper would have a series of functions. There was “a basement for mechanical services, a first and second floor for stores and shops, and the remaining floors for identical offices.”
During prohibition in the 1920s, most of the businesses were financial, investments, trusts, and clothiers. The clothing company was of German descent , as was Pierce. This being the case, after 1916 when World War I was going on, the company went out of business and Pierce was in need of more financial help. The identical offices on the remaining floors were used for employees to board and there are documents that show this might have been boarding women as well during the prohibition years.
Smith, M. a. (2010). The Idaho Building. Retrieved from Preservation Idaho: http://www.preservationidaho.org/