Boise & Garden City

Morrison Foundation gives Velma’s ‘Camelot’ home in Boise to YMCA

Peek inside Velma Morrison's Boise home, hear the YMCA's plans

Treasure Valley YMCA CEO David Duro explains how the Morrison house known as "Camelot" on the Boise Bench was donated to the YMCA so the proceeds could be used to help the organization. He explains how selling the property will help build a Merid
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Treasure Valley YMCA CEO David Duro explains how the Morrison house known as "Camelot" on the Boise Bench was donated to the YMCA so the proceeds could be used to help the organization. He explains how selling the property will help build a Merid

The former home of longtime Boise community benefactress Velma V. Morrison has a new owner — at least for now.

The Harry W. Morrison Foundation gave the property to the Treasure Valley Family YMCA to benefit its capital campaign to build a new Y in South Meridian.

“It’s a significant step in the right direction,” said David Duro, the local YMCA’s president and CEO. “It’s a special house, and it’s going to need a special buyer.”

Velma Morrison was married to Harry Morrison, the co-founder of the engineering firm Morrison Knudsen Co. and one of the wealthiest and most influential men of his day. She built the house, known as “Camelot,” in 1992 on Crescent Rim along the northern edge of the Boise Bench. She named it for her favorite musical, Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot.”

After her death in 2013, her family donated, sold or auctioned off her art collections, furniture, jewelry and other belongings. They put the house on the market in 2014, but it did not sell. The 12,703-square-foot home sits on an acre above Ann Morrison Park, named for Harry Morrison’s first wife. At one point, the home was listed for $2.2 million.

Velma Morrison’s grandson Justin Wilkerson and the foundation board decided to donate the house to a cause that would benefit the greater Treasure Valley community. The YMCA is asking $1.99 million.

The home has four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a 12-car garage and an elevator.

In 2014, Velma Morrison’s family cleared out her home of her multiple collections and put everything up for auction and sale. In this video, her grandson Justin Wilkerson, who heads the Morrison Foundation Board, talks about some of Morrison’s bel

“We knew that donating the house towards the funding of the South Meridian Y project would have maximum impact,” Wilkerson said in a news release. “Whoever buys the house will not only get an incredible property at a good price, they will get the benefit of knowing that 100 percent of the purchase price will go towards funding this project.”

The South Meridian YMCA project would combine a YMCA, a swimming pool, a library, a city park and a West Ada School District elementary school. The project was announced in 2014 with a $4 million grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. YMCA officials are still fundraising for their $18 million portion and are hoping to break ground in the fall. Hillsdale Elementary School, which is part of the complex, is expected to open in August.

The Meridian Library District lost a bond election in 2015 to build a library at the South Y complex. The Western Ada Recreation District withdrew from the ballot a $16 million bond issue for a new pool at the complex shortly before the same election.

Statesman reporter Bill Roberts contributed.

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