Neighborhood in Transition

I have noticed here in Boise that many neighborhoods are in various stages of transition. Let me give you an example with a bit of history.

Boise’s Lower Highlands was developed by Richard B. Smith in the late 1950’s. The first few homes sat at the ends of dirt streets for years before the real building boom took place. For the longest time, the Lower Highlands was “the” Highlands until a few years later when Crane Creek Country Club opened in 1963. The classic ranch style home was the rage after

Example of a Boise Ranch style home
Example of a Boise Ranch style home – this particular home is in The Bench neighborhood

World War II and Boise’s Lower Highlands was no exception.  The Lower Highlands is made up of ranch style homes and the homes built north of Curling were larger custom homes. One quirk:  in 1961, the infamous Highlands Community Fallout Shelter was built, a place that is presently used for music rehearsal space. Go back in history and read more about the Boise Bomb Shelter  for fun!

In the beginning, many families moved to this area for a larger home than they had in the North End neighborhood. I suspect many may have moved just for the newest feature, a garage! Children grew up, couples stayed or moved away, more families moved in. It was a one of Boise’s special neighborhoods at the time.

Our neighborhood is in a transitional phase. Many retired couples have chosen to stay in their same home, single professionals have purchased homes for the quality of living in a unique and private neighborhood, families have “one more kid” going to college. The best part of this transition is the new young families moving in. We can hear babies crying and children squealing. We can watch kids playing ball with their parents at Highlands Elementary and kids walking their dogs or perhaps the dogs are walking the kids.  In the mornings, children are riding their Christmas bikes to Highlands Elementary. On the weekends, those bike rides involve entire families.

The eclectic mix of neighbors in the Lower Highlands is representative of what the rest of Boise is as well. All ages, across the spectrum, and everyone waves hello. Neighbors take a break from their yard duty and chat when we walk by. We get offers of vegetables from gardens and flowers in full bloom. Everyone wants to know the names of our three dogs. Many neighbors can tell us stories of the days gone by. Other neighbors tell us interesting stories of how they landed in Boise, Idaho. (I always ask since I am a Realtor and curious!)

But it isn’t just the Lower Highlands. It is everywhere in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star. We are all changing and getting to know each other again. I hope this trend continues. Perhaps you can be a trendsetter in your own neighborhood. If you don’t know your neighbors, get to know them!

#neighborhoods #neighbors #Boise #ranchstylehomes

One thought on “Neighborhood in Transition

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  1. From a friend who grew up in the Lower Highlands:

    Good perspective Laurie. My family was the 4th or 5th home (built circa 1956) in what was then called “Slaughterhouse Gulch,” named for an abandoned meat-rendering facility located there. There was also a brick factory on what is now the intersection of Parkhill Dr. & Highland view near the LuLu’s pizza joint. The original homes were built on Bogus Basin (rt side going uphill) because Crane Creek was an uncontained swamp that was roughly 50 yards wide where the condos north of LuLu’s are now. I recall wading through that swamp catching frogs, snakes and seeing a wide variety of wildlife from deer to coyotes/foxes. Richard B. Smith had purchased much of the land above my family’s home (we moved 100 yds away in 1960 to lower Highland View) and declared that it would be Boise’s first subdivision centered around a 50s’style country club. In order to develop the first phases of his plan, Smith literally sandbagged the length of Crane Cr. to contain it (early ’60s). We kids routinely tore open the sandbags to create dams and swimming holes. The lowest section near LuLus remained the last of the original Highlands to be developed, sometime in the late 70s/early 80s. Re the bomb shelter, that was designed by architect Glen Bitner, a family friend, and was donated to Highlands Elementary where I attended all 6 grades, for use as a bomb shelter. Because of the Cuban missile crisis and subsequent cold war, we Highlands’ kids had frequent air raid drills where we’d run across the street and gather in the shelter which was stocked with provisions and told that in the even of nuclear war, we might not see our parents again for “awhile.” Crazy memories, but those were the times. Public pressure from parents of kids in other schools ultimately caused Highlands Elementary to cease using the shelter for that purpose.


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