Friday, September 23, 2011

Land Trust house on National Register

1906 building recognized as historically significant

Express Staff Writer

The 1906 house that serves as the headquarters of the Hailey-based Wood River Land Trust has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Wood River Land Trust office in the core of old Hailey was already generally recognized as a historic building, but the 1906 residence has now been officially designated by the National Park Service.

The trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting and restoring land, was informed last week that its office on the corner of Bullion Street and Second Avenue has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lot was originally purchased in 1881, and the walls of the first log cabin built on the site still exist within the house currently on the property.

Restoring the turn-of-the-century building was "painstaking," said Scott Boettger, the trust's executive director. The process began in 2000, when the trust acquired the building and began peeling away layers of wallpaper, hunting down original fixtures and old photos that showed the house in its original state.

"We didn't have any money to do this, it was all volunteer," Boettger said. "[But] it was a great opportunity to show the spirit of the Land Trust, in conserving and restoring this building to prominence."

Trust volunteers managed to unearth the house's original windows and doors, reconstruct the building's front porch and even match the original paint colors for the exterior.

"It was kind of neat," Boettger said. "It was like puzzle pieces, putting it back together."

The office's listing on the National Register makes the corner of Bullion Street and Second Avenue in Hailey a historic crossroads, as all four buildings on each corner are officially designated historic structures. The Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Hailey Masonic Lodge, the Burke residence and the Land Trust building are all included on the register.

Boettger said the building is a great asset not only to the trust, but to the city of Hailey.

"Being an Easterner, when I came out West, I had this innate love for old buildings," he said. "I saw the loss of these old buildings as development progressed. I think [the designation] is a win-win for the city and the Land Trust."

Katherine Wutz:

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