Frank Eld has made saving historic buildings his life’s work; he started after college in 1969. The historian and preservationist founded the Long Valley Preservation Society, a non-profit group that has saved much of the tiny town of Roseberry in Valley County.
If all goes according to plan, Eld will get to watch a house in Boise's Central Addition move from downtown to an empty lot on the East End Tuesday at midnight.
“Moving houses is not unusual for me,” says Eld.
The Boise home is called the Jones House, named after the Boise attorney who built the home for his family in 1893. The Victorian style building has three bedrooms, one bathroom, a dining room, parlor and a kitchen. It's the first of four old homes in the Central Addition that will be put on wheels and relocated by truck.
Eld plans to move into the house with his wife, but they'll need to do a lot of restoration to make it livable. The house has seen a lot of wear and tear, and Eld plans to invest up to $65,000 in the restoration.
The house's winding wooden stairway is one part of the architecture that especially captured Eld's imagination when he first saw it. It still has its original decorative features.
“And then I have my acorn newel posts and newel bottoms," he says. "This stairway made me fall in love with this house and I just said, ‘I have got to have it.’ And that’s before I knew that the stars were going to line up. And there were a lot of stars that needed to line up to make this happen.”
Local Construct owns the Jones House, but is giving it to Eld to restore. The development company is paying about $40,000 to cover the move for it and the equally historic Fowler House, which is being given to another Boise couple. Eld says he’s thankful the company sees the historic value in the houses. He calls the Jones House his "bucket house" because it's likely the last one he'll restore.
After the four structures being saved are relocated, Local Construct will turn the block where they stood into a 7-story modern apartment building. The company hopes to break ground on that project in mid-August.
Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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