Hays Street Historic District

The Hays Street Historic District comprises almost twenty-two blocks in the northern half of the Original Boise Townsite. The district was originally a residential neighborhood developed most intensely at the turn of the 20th century. Half of the present buildings in the district were constructed prior to 1912.

Although originally primarily a residential neighborhood, the district currently contains a mix of land uses, and the base zoning districts allow for multi-family and office uses. Large and modest single-family homes, as well as apartments (earlier known as boarding homes), churches, and schools were historically built in the district. Over the years, many of these homes were converted to new uses as offices or demolished to make room for surface parking lots. This mix of land uses and the predominately residential scale of the district provide a transition from the more intensely commercial downtown and State Capitol Campus to the more single-family North End Historic District.

The district contains a wide range of architectural styles with a number of buildings designed by the architect J. E. Tourtellotte and the successor firm. The Queen Anne architectural style is the most common with 20 percent of the buildings. Also represented are Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and Minimal Traditional, among others.

Hays Street Historic District At-a-Glance

Historic Designations

  • 1980: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1999: Designated as a Conservation District
  • 2004: Designated as a local historic district by Boise City.

Period of Significance: 1900s - 1940s

  • 50% of buildings constructed prior to 1912

Prominent Architectural Styles

  • Queen Anne (20%), Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Minimal Traditional

Unique Characteristics

  • Transition area to the downtown, originally residential, now a mix of single-family, multi-family and office use.

Design Goals

  • New construction projects shall maintain the scale and residential character of the district while accommodating adaptive reuse of structures.
  • Protect significant properties from intrusive and non-compatible redevelopment.
  • The district should serve as a thriving, permeable buffer between the commercial downtown and the North End Historic District, which is predominately residential in nature.


  • Reserve the character of its streetscape and integrity of individual historic structures. In particular, encourage the preservation of the streetscape through adaptive re-use, including the variety of uses that range from single- to multi-family, commercial and office use. There should be a net decrease in surface parking areas in time as redevelopment encourages new building throughout the district.

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