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Who saved historic buildings? Who didn’t? Preservation Idaho gives its Orchids and Onions

Frank Eld House

Idaho native Frank Eld spent most of his career restoring Roseberry, a historic Idaho townsite in Valley County. Luckily for Boise lovers of history and old houses, Eld and his wife Kathy Eld stepped in to save an 1893 Boise house slated for demol
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Idaho native Frank Eld spent most of his career restoring Roseberry, a historic Idaho townsite in Valley County. Luckily for Boise lovers of history and old houses, Eld and his wife Kathy Eld stepped in to save an 1893 Boise house slated for demol

Preservation Idaho, the statewide organization that promotes the preservation of Idaho’s significant architecture and history, has been giving its Orchids and Onions awards since 1977.

The aim is to celebrate the best (the Orchids) and the worse (the Onions) in historic preservation. This year, the group is not awarding any Onions, but, for the first time, will give a special award for craftsmanship. Find a list of all of the winners and losers over the past 40 years on Preservation Idaho’s website, preservationidaho.org.

This year’s ceremony will be 2:30-5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 at The Community Library in Ketchum, 415 Spruce Ave. North. Tickets are $20 for Preservation Idaho members, $25 for non-members. Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are available on the Preservation Idaho website. The event includes a reception with drinks and light appetizers, as well as the chance to view the library’s Hemingway Collection. The awards presentation takes place at 3:30 p.m.

This year’s Orchid winners include two historic Boise houses and their owners profiled in the Idaho Statesman’s Treasure Magazine: Frank Eld, who restored the Jones House, and Rita Sturiale, who restored the Wood House. Their houses were moved from Boise’s Central Addition neighborhood north of Julia Davis Park.

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Frank Eld is pictured outside of his house in Boise, Idaho. Frank Eld has restored the 1893 Jones House originally built in Boise’s Central Addition neighborhood down to its last Victorian detail. Saving old houses, living in them, is his mission. Eld is among those receiving Orchid awards this year from Preservation Idaho at the upcoming ceremony. Kyle Green kgreen@idahostatesman.com

The Nature Conservancy of Idaho will receive a Heritage Stewardship Award for its preservation, maintenance and protection of the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House in Ketchum.

An inaugural award honoring the late Scott Chandler, a friend of preservation and longtime Boise historic preservation commissioner, will be presented to Greg Marsters for his excellence in craftsmanship. Among other projects, Marsters recreated historically accurate cast-iron pier lights used in the restoration of the Capitol Boulevard Bridge built in the 1930s as a memorial to Oregon Trail pioneers.

Belinda Davis is recognized as a distinguished preservationist because of her 30-year service with the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office/State Historical Society. Boise journalist and College of Idaho instructor Alan Minskoff is recognized as a Friend of Preservation for years of active preservation, rehabilitation and advocacy around the state.

Other award winners include: The Vault (former Bank of Meridian) for contribution to historic preservation; The Garage Café, Notus, for cultural heritage preservation with emphasis on roadside architecture; Fremont County Courthouse, St. Anthony, for excellence in historic preservation; and Judge Keith M. Walker, St. Anthony, as a friend of preservation.

Preservation Idaho is spotlighting the saving of the Fremont County Courthouse, said Paula Benson from Preservation Idaho. “We hope this recognition is an inspiration to other counties as to what can be done and why. We could start a category just for county courthouses that need to be saved,” said Benson.

The organization debated several possible Onions, said spokeswoman Jamee Fiore, but instead is doing an “In Memoriam” to note buildings like the Civic Theater in Lewiston, threatened with demolition, and the demolition of the 1938 Jefferson County Courthouse in Rigby in 2016.

Tickets to the awards ceremony also are good for a private tour of the Sun Valley Museum of History, including areas not usually open to the public, at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Register for times at the Preservation Idaho website.

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