Boiseans were able to make local telephone calls by 1884 and long-distance calls by 1899 thanks to the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company.
The growing company needed a Boise office for workers and equipment. It bought a block on Main Street near 6th.
Rocky Mountain razed an existing building on the site, the law office of Territorial Secretary E.J. Curtis, and built the impressive structure that stands today.
Historian Arthur Hart called the telephone building a "small gem in the Romanesque Revival style," with thick walls, carved columns and massive, arched windows.
Note the "rusticated" sandstone used at the building's street level. The building's facade is remarkably well-preserved, even though it's more than a century old. Check the detail on the acanthus leaves that crown the columns. It's like they were carved yesterday. The word "telephone" is still prominent in sharp letters into the building's top story.
Here's something to think about when you drop into the Main Street Bistro, the telephone building's current occupant: The first floor was where Boiseans came to make their long-distance calls from special toll booths. The operators and switchboards were on the second floor.
Anna Webb: 377-6431