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Alexander House, Boise, Idaho

Using a design based on plans published in the newspaper, local carpenters built the Alexander House at 304 West State Street in 1897 at a cost of $3,200. Moses Alexander, a successful merchant, was born in Bavaria in 1853 and emigrated to the United States at age fourteen. Alexander was a partner in a clothing store in Missouri before deciding to move his family to Alaska in 1891. Along the way, however, the family stopped in Boise. Impressed by the city’s business opportunities, Alexander and his family settled in Boise and opened a clothing store, which remained in business until the late 1980s. Also active in the community, Alexander was instrumental in organizing the first Jewish synagogue in Idaho, Congregation Beth Israel. Alexander served two terms as mayor of Boise and two terms as governor of Idaho; he was probably the first elected Jewish governor in the nation. The Alexander House is an L-shaped Queen Anne-style house with two and a half stories and a multigabled, pyramidal roof. It features a tower in the corner of the ell, first- and second-story porches, a first-story bay window, and an oriel window in the main gable facing State Street. Classical columns support the upper and lower porch roofs; the first-floor columns rest on stone piers. Other Queen Anne details include decorative shingling in the gable ends and decorative roof crests and finials. The State of Idaho purchased the house from Nathan Alexander, son of Moses and Helena Alexander, in 1977. Using state funds and grants from the National Park Service and Idaho Heritage Trust, the house was renovated in 2001. The state received an award for excellence in historic preservation from Preservation Idaho in 2002. The building is currently used for office space, official events, and receptions.

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