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Boise County Courthouse, Northeast corner, Main & Wall Streets, Idaho City, Boise County, ID

Boise County Courthouse, Northeast corner, Main & Wall Streets, Idaho City, Boise County, ID



Significance: As an excellent example of fire prevention measure, the "brick" was built to be fireproof in 1873 following Idaho City's most destructive fires in 1865, 1867, 1868 and 1871. It is also the most formal and best crafted institutional building in Idaho City. / Two disastrous fires, the first on May 18, 1865 and the second on May 17, 1867, destroyed almost all of Idaho City's earliest buildings. After each fire residents chose to construct more of their commercial buildings in brick. Merchants advertised "fire proof bricks" in the "Idaho World." The clay for the bricks came from across Elk Creek and was reputedly low-fired because of its fragility. Of the remaining half-dozen early "bricks" built between 1865 and 1873, none were greeted with more fanfare than the Reverend C.S. Kingsley's new brick store on the corner of Main and Wall. Kingsley, a Methodist minister and merchant, allegedly instigated the vigilante movement in Idaho City. Completed in the autumn of 1873, the opening of this new general store was a major social event. A "Mechanic's Ball" held in the first week of October, lasted until three o'clock in the morning. Kinsgley sold out in 1880, and the building became a hardware store. John Kennally, the new owner, was a miner, a tinsmith, and a merchant. He sold hardware, glassware, and harvesting machinery. Kennally rented the store to Alex and Mary Orchard in the 1890's, and they remodeled it into a hotel. Boise County purchased the hotel from Mary Orchard for $1,000 in 1909 and changed it into a courtroom and offices. The County Courthouse is the most recent, most formal, and best crafted of the remaining "bricks" in Idaho City. Original metal doors, boardwalks, and porches, both recent additions, enhance the exterior. The building still functions as a courthouse. Simple and appealing, it is one of Idaho's most important historic structures and best examples of adaptive use.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-5
Survey number: HABS ID-11
Building/structure dates: 1873 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1909 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: after. 1890- before. 1899 Subsequent Work



Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Wallace, John
Keys, G T
Fox, James
Kingsley, C S
Orchard, Alex
Orchard, Mary


Idaho City (Idaho)43.82843, -115.83370
Google Map of 43.8284281, -115.8336954


Library of Congress

Copyright info

No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html