Marie Galyean: Idaho City tour features unique mountain homes

September 8, 2013 

Closer to Heaven is what the Isaiah Foundation calls its tour of historic and unforgettable homes and buildings in beautiful Idaho City. Jennifer Alban, the executive director of the nondenominational faith-based foundation, lived in Nampa for 26 years before buying a home in Idaho City.

Her husband, Jack, taught an adult Sunday School class at Nampa First Church of the Nazarene until his death in 2007, and she told me she has organized and kept the class going since then, with usually more than 60 people there each Sunday.

Jennifer says the Idaho City community, assisted by many Nampa First Church volunteers, has come together to create a summer camp to help kids. Besides more than 40 church folks donating cookies, muffins and baked goodies, several Nampa women volunteered as counselors at this year’s camp, including Anita Townson, Donna Schmelzenbach, Florence Brumbaugh and Marcia Yiapan.

“This year, 72 kids came to the camp for free, and we had over 100 volunteers,” Jennifer said. The Idaho City boys and girls, between 6 and 11 years of age, enjoyed a week of fun outdoor activities in June.

Next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to the second annual fundraising home tour. The pre-sale cost per person is $10. Tickets are available at, Nampa and Meridian Bronco Shops and the Idaho City Visitors Center. Tickets are $15 at the door on the day of the event. Tour Headquarters are at the Idaho City Senior Center, 102 Bear Run Road, which is just off Main Street.

There will be signs pointing the way, and the Idaho City football team will direct traffic.

Surrounded by tall trees and mountain meadows, the self-guided driving tour will include seven unique homes and two buildings owned by the Idaho City Historic Foundation. None of the homes are for sale, and meeting the homeowners and hearing their stories is a highlight, as well as seeing the distinctive houses and their stunning views.

The roads are well maintained, and the tour is not appropriate for very young children or pets.

At the Senior Center, a potato bar lunch will be served for $5, and desserts of peach or apple crisp with ice cream will be $3. There will also be a silent auction of artwork and other items.

Idaho City is a beautiful drive about an hour and 15 minutes from Nampa, with some fall colors already showing.

Take I-84 to the Gowen Road/Idaho City exit; then follow Idaho 21 the rest of the way. Since the town is about 4,000 feet in the mountains, it might be wise to bring a sweater.

To preview these homes, see:


With the theme “Winter Wonderland” for the 2013 Canyon County Festival of Trees,” co-directors Linda Clemenger and Pamela Knighton are hard at work with their board of directors, seeking sponsors for the Nampa Civic Center event and arranging a new feature, Classy Christmas Crafts.

Vendors with quality, handcrafted items are asked to call Linda at 459-0439, and she will send entry forms. She can also give information about donating a tree.

To contribute a silent auction item, call Roxie Tracy at 880-4225.

Set-up day for the festival will be Nov. 27. The affair begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 2. The Gala Banquet and Auction will be Tuesday, Dec. 3.

All proceeds go to the Nampa and Caldwell Meals on Wheels programs.

Marie D. Galyean is a journalist and freelance writer who has lived in Canyon County for more than 38 years. Do you have any news about West Treasure Valley people, events and other subjects of interest? Email your ideas and stories to:

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