BOISE -- It almost seems like every time you blink your eye, another new building is popping up in Boise.
But as new development sprouts, it's important we nurture our city's history and keep its unique character intact. A shining example: the historic Jones House.
What a sight two years ago when historic homes in Boise's Central Addition were hauled across town to new lives. Developers were about to revamp the area, so the houses had to be uprooted. Builders pitched in and partnered with Preservation Idaho to save the buildings from demolition.
A year and a half later, the Jones House is renewed and standing in a new spot on Reserve Street.
Idaho native and preservationist Frank Eld says the second he walked into the home, he knew it had to be saved. He could tell the old-turn-of-the-century Victorian building was a treasure - one he and Preservation Idaho had to protect.
"I love this house, I love this house! That's all I could say," Eld told KTVB as he stood in the entry of the home at the foot of the stairs. "It's just too beautiful and I hadn't even got past this!"
A staircase stole his heart and the simple elegance of the old Victorian sealed the deal.
The Jones House was built for prominent Boise attorney Thomas Jones and his wife, Winifred, in 1893.
It wasn't in the best of shape when Preservation Idaho and Eld decided to come to the rescue.
"It looked good and felt good but when you started to peel [the plaster], it literally started to fall, plaster was just coming off so we had to gut the house clear down to the bones," Eld said.
Developers looking to revamp the historic, once prominent Central Addition did something pretty unprecedented at the time. They couldn't keep the houses in their roots, but didn't want to demolish them. So they bought the old buildings, helped find new owners and pitched in with moving costs, keeping the homes a part of the city's soul with help from city agencies.
"When a city grows its historic resources are under a lot of pressure," member and former president of Preservation Idaho, John Bertram, said. "By being thoughtful they were able to negotiate with new owners and its a win-win."
"Boise's heritage is its buildings," Eld added. "There's a message there for other developers: to work together."
It was moved to a lot on Reserve Street near Fort Boise that Eld purchased.
For a year and a half, he and his family worked to restore it. Today, his home - now the Jones-Eld house - is complete.
"Kind of gives you the feel of stepping back a hundred some years," Eld told KTVB. "The house really told me told me what it was like."
High Victorian wallpaper coats the walls from top to bottom. Beautiful artwork, pictures and prints line the walls. Family heirlooms and antiques mostly from Idaho are set perfectly in place almost as if they were there 120 years ago.
"We feel like it's really not only our house, it belongs to the city and everybody here because the history. And we have these pieces of history that connect this with the history of Boise," Eld added.
Stories of our city live on through preservation and restoration with the character of Boise tangible in places like the Jones House.
"Gradually buildings just disappear... We're not going to save every building. We want to save the best of Boise, of different periods too," Bertram said.
"What we have left - which is a really small part - we do need to preserve that," Eld added.
That's obviously the mission of Preservation Idaho as our state continues to boom.
"That's where there's a characteristic. And I think that's helping Boise grow. People come here, they spend some time downtown and they go 'what a great city.' So let's not ruin our city by building so rapidly that we lose the things that make it so special," Bertram said. "Be smart about how we grow."
There are other historic buildings under threat right now that Preservation Idaho is working to save from demolition. They say developers should be thoughtful and communicate early on.
"I'd like to encourage all developers if they're dealing with an historic structure to turn to Preservation Idaho and ask for some historical assistance," Bertram said.
It's partnerships with builders, city leaders and neighborhoods that preservationists say will help the City of Trees "grow well."