Histories are not available for every property on the tour, but here are the details I was able to gather prior to the event:
The Rogers building was a bold statement made by one of Idaho Falls’ first millionaires, B.M. “Brunt” Rogers. Built in 1937 at the height of the Great Depression, the building boasted 100 “beautifully furnished rooms with baths for $2 and up.” Legend has it that Rogers himself would often stand on the opposite corner and gaze adoringly upon his legacy. The hotel drew guests like President Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bing Crosby, and Roy Rogers.
Today the building is undergoing a massive renovation. The third floor is complete with a dozen condos available for rent. The second floor is commercial and mostly complete, but customizing spaces is still an option. The main level is a work in progress, and with original features like Art Deco handrails, colorful floor tiles, and plaster crown molding, it’s sure to set the right tone for clients hoping to set up shop in a ritzy, upscale space.
888 S. Higbee (written by owner Alan Walker):
When I purchased the home in 2018, I found this old plan, I presume is from when the house was originally built and landscaped in 1938. I believe Elmer C. Rigby was the original owner.
Here is a link to the condition of the house when I purchased it in 2018.
When I purchased the home I refurbished the home. I wasn’t able to save much of he original wall paper, it was in poor condition and gave the house an “old house” smell. I did save small amounts of it in the closets.
I purchased the house from Alice Pike. The house was well cared for my many owners before myself.
The upper two floors remain in the original position, with all the existing smooth plaster walls, doors, crown moulding and wood trim and metal windows. There are many fun historic features to the home including phone niches, laundry chute, built in ironing boards, a sewing room (now my office) and a cold pantry. The cold pantry begins in the basement with a potato/root vegetable closet and with no electricity—but a belvedere on the roof which draws cool air up through the pantry. The pantry is refrigerator cool in the summer and freezer cool in the winter, all without electricity.
There is something wonderfully romantic about the house, and you always feel at home here.
I added an outside stair to the basement on the West side of the house; it accesses a new apartment in the basement (not included on the home tour). Many people think the addition is a sunroom and it always existed. Currently my daughter and her husband and my first grandchild live in the apartment while my son in law is doing his rotations for medical school. My oldest son also has a suite in the basement while he attends ISU. I have two other daughters that live in Utah. My eldest daughter lives in Salt Lake City and the youngest daughter lives in Provo at BYU where she is in the final semester of her bachelor’s degree.
The home was built in 1943, and for at least 50 years of its lifetime, it has been used as a rental. It is being fixed up now and will be listed on AirBNB in the future.
302 11th Street:
Lots of houses exude a sense of romance, but few come with their own love story.
John Collette grew up in Idaho Falls but came from the wrong side of town. When he met Iris Bagley he wasn’t deterred by the fact that he was four years her senior or that she lived near the Idaho Falls temple — then one of the most respected parts of the city.
But Iris’s parents were skeptical of Collette — after all, their daughter was only 16 when the two met. Her parents sent her to Arizona, hoping when Collette was out of sight, he’d be out of Iris’s mind, too.
Twelve years passed, and in the meantime Iris came back to Idaho Falls. And Collette found her.
In 1935 he built a two-story red brick house on 11th St. as Iris’s wedding gift. The home was extra large for its time, but he had plans for the space. “He wanted a big house, and he wanted to fill it with children,” the Collettes’ daughter Sonja Schanz said.
Schanz and her husband Don purchased the house from Iris in 1991, not just to keep the home in the family but because the place really is charming. Although “aethetically you don’t realize why it’s so appealing,” Sonja said a closer look reveals repeated arches throughout, from the keystone arch in the front-door frame to the soaring vaulted front-room ceiling— a space that could have been an upstairs playroom, but Iris opted to make a dramatic statement instead.
The Schanzes have put their own touches on the house, stripping carpet to reveal hardwood floors and removing 14 layers of wallpaper. “As we took them off it was like going through history,” Sonja said.
The wallpaper excavation revealed the original deep red wallpaper, which complemented the home’s original and unexpected Southwest style and reflected Yellowstone’s influence on Collette, who owned a West Yellowstone business.
Original doorknobs and bedroom lights remain in the home, but the kitchen renovation is something Iris regretted — and so do the Schanzes. The original workmanship featured cabinets reaching to the ceiling, but following the modernist trend of the 1970s Iris replaced them with fabricated ones, Sonja said. A kitchen redo is on the family’s to-do list.
Sonja, who brought her family from California when she and her husband purchased the home, said after the move she used to bike or walk around the neighborhood, looking at other historic houses but falling in love all over again with the one she’s known all her life. “When I’d get back (home), I’d say, ‘I like this one best,’” she said.
374 E. 13th Street (written by owner Liz Yasaitis):
The home was built in 1939 by a family named Neal. The home was built by Ren Grimment. They raised their granddaughter in the home. The Neal family lived in the home for 3 or 4 years before Lloyd & Marie Holden moved into the home. The Holden family then swapped this 13th Street home with the Dave Sweeney family for the Red Brick home the Watkins family lives in on Boulevard. The Sweeney family sold the home to the Steele Family. The Holdens granddaughter (Courtney Morgan) bought the home and lived in it for 13 years. I bought the home in September of 2020 and spent 6 months remodeling. The home is in original condition to how it was built. No walls have been moved or rooms opened up. The kitchen had a complete renovation – keeping the original layout.
655 E. 49th South:
The home was built in 1923 and was a true farmhouse situated on three or more acres. The home was recently remodeled by Jason and Courtney Parmenter. Original features include hardwood floors, windows, trim, siding, and chimney. The kitchen island is built from original cabinetry.
999 S. Lee:
John and Florence Bybee built this home in 1935 by and raised their children there. John was a local dentist, and the couple selected the house plans from Good Housekeeping.
This three-story stone home was built in 1893. It is currently owned by Desiree Follett and her family. The house was previously owned by Desiree’s grandparents, who can be seen in a photograph in the entryway. This home’s renovation is a true labor of love, and the Folletts are striving to save as many original features as possible.