BW Picks

Idaho State Historical Society's Brown Bag Lunch


Nov. 13

Back in 1944, Boise's John Fairchild got wind of a building technique employed around the world--from ancient China to Spain—and set his heart on using the process to build a home.

Nestled in the Foothills, the finished house has door jambs made of Owyhee rose stone, and it's said Fairchild lugged 135 stones away from the original Boise City Hall—as it was dismantled—to use in landscaping.

The result is a structure built without a single nail. The process is called rammed earth construction, a technique thousands of years old.

The method has undergone a modern revival thanks to the use of sand, clay and soil to create sustainable building materials and homes free of lumber and glue—and with lower heating and cooling costs.

The Fairchild home is also a home full of history. To unlock those details, TAG Historical Research and Consulting presents a free talk on the remarkable home—Underground Above the City: John and Marjorie Fairchild's Rammed Earth House—Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Idaho State Historical Museum.

The rammed earth process was a massive undertaking in the 1940s. Marjorie Fairchild is reported to have said hers was the most "complicated house in the world." It took the Fairchilds more than 20 years to finish the house as the city of Boise grew up around it.

TAG is comprised of researchers Barbara Perry Bauer and Elizabeth Jacox, who will lead the talk. The Brown Bag series encourages visitors to grab lunch, drop in, tune in and walk away full of new knowledge.