The Idaho State Capitol, with its sandstone blocks and sprawling staircases, is a looker when it comes to buildings. But just as pretty—but much less renowned—was the Idaho Territorial Capitol, completed before statehood and demolished in 1919 to make way for the current Statehouse.
In the period between President Abraham Lincoln's creation of Idaho Territory in 1863, and before statehood in 1890, came 27 years of construction that left our state with numerous treasures—some of which still stand 150 years later.
Historians Dan Everhart, Tricia Canaday and Don Watts helped compile a database of the remaining territorial-era buildings for a lecture titled Building Towards Statehood: Idaho's Territorial Architecture. Everhart, Canaday and Watts are traveling across the state in May to deliver lectures about the project in Ketchum, Coeur d'Alene, Weiser, Idaho Falls and Boise.
Among those historic buildings in downtown Boise, just a few blocks from the bustle of Sixth and Main streets, stands the Old U.S. Assay Office, home to the offices of the Idaho State Historical Society—the same folks now helping to celebrate the Idaho territorial sesquicentennial.
Everhart's presentation will take place in the Hayes Auditorium at Boise Public Library's main branch on Thursday, May 9, beginning at 7 p.m. He'll walk visitors through the progression from Idaho's earliest, largely utilitarian, architecture through the rise of more ornate styles. While Boise is home to the Old Assay Office and the Jacobs-Uberuaga House, elsewhere, territorial buildings still stand in Silver City, Idaho City, Fort Sherman and beyond.