Friday, August 28, 2009

Councilorís home a piece of history

The Eben S. and Elizabeth S. Chase House was owned by founder of Ketchum

Express Staff Writer

A home belonging to City Councilwoman Martha Burke has found a place on the National Register of Historic Places Photo by

The home of Hailey City Councilwoman Martha "Beaver" Burke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last week. The designation marks the first time an occupied home in Hailey has been placed on the register.

The Eben S. and Elizabeth S. Chase House, as it is known, is located at 203 E. Bullion St. in Old Hailey. The home sits across the street from the Hailey Masonic Lodge and catty-corner to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, both of which are also on the National Register of Historic Places.

"This is the Hailey Historic Preservation Commission at work," said Mayor Rick Davis when he announced the award at a Hailey City Council meeting Monday, Aug. 24.

Burke said she was "thrilled" by the news.

Hailey Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Rob Lonning began the selection process several years ago when 16 properties in the city were designated as potential candidates for the register.

"Martha Burke was gracious to allow the commission to move ahead with the application process," said Lonning, who hired a consultant with state funds to research the home's historical significance.

The property is associated with the establishment and development of Hailey during the late 19th-century lead and silver boom in the surrounding Wood River mines.

John Hailey formed the Hailey Town Co. with three other investors, including Boise resident and U.S. Marshal Eben S. Chase in 1881. Chase invested in mining in the Wood River Valley area, building the house around 1885, and lived there with his wife, Elizabeth. He was involved in suppressing the 1885 miners' strike at the nearby town of Broadford.

The Chase house was built with a combination of traditional and modern construction techniques. The two-story house followed the traditional gable-front and L-shaped wing form of construction, common for wealthier residents of early Idaho mining communities. The L-shaped wing underwent several alterations over the years. The house was constructed of adobe-brick masonry walls covered with pre-cut clapboard siding and milled wood trim.

After the silver bust, the Chases lost their home through a mortgage foreclosure to U.S Marshal Joseph Pinkham, who later deeded it to Isaac Lewis, an entrepreneur and one of the founders of nearby Ketchum.

The house changed hands several more times until Martha Burke purchased it in the 1970s.

Each year, Hailey gets about $3,500 per year to research potential properties for the National Register of Historic Places.

The register is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture.

A professional review board in each state considers each property proposed for listing and makes a recommendation on its eligibility.

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