Home histories for tour 2019

996 S. Emerson Avenue—the Sweeney House

History—from the National Register of Historic Places:

“The Historical District contains a concentration of relatively unaltered homes with residential styles popular in southeastern Idaho in the early 20th century. [The 996 South Emerson home was] “built by Daniel J. Sweeney for his own residence in 1939.” It is “the only example of Art Moderne style in the District: …a two-story stucco house with a flat roof and a ledge at the roof line, horizontal grooves, and wrought-iron balustrade along the second-floor deck. The floor of the deck forms a rounded entry above the main door. Most of the windows are double-hung sash with six lights in each sash.” Sweeney’s house “is a paragon of the style.”  

“Dan Sweeney, a native of Ireland, was the contractor for the first Idaho Falls Public Library (1916), the Trinity Methodist Church (1917), and the O. E. Bell Junior High (1928, 1935).”

Dan Sweeney was a confirmed bachelor in his 50’s and reportedly built this house for his new bride. But she did not approve. So Dan sold his masterpiece to George and Edith Marler – pioneer homesteaders. Later, their daughter, also named Edith, married Richard (Dick) Stanger. By 1951 Dick and Edith Stanger were living in the Sweeney house and raising horses on the family’s Double Arrow Ranch near Bone. Ranch hands were served breakfast in the kitchen nook then ferried to and from the ranch in the bed of a pickup. One young ranch hand, Roy Reynolds, often slept over in the house. He would later attend art school in California, do album covers for singer Carol King, then return to Idaho Falls to do commercial art projects for INEL. The former Double Arrow Ranch horse wrangler is a famous local artist (Horse Thief Studios).

While living in this house, Dick and Edith Stanger established the largest registered herd of Appaloosa horsesin the world.  But climbing the stairs eventually became too much for Mr.  Stanger, and the family house was sold in 1989. And sold again. But the current owners, Robyn & Jay, had their eye on the place. When this architectural treasure came on the market in 1998, they snapped it up. Imagine their surprise when Robyn & Jay learned that their old friend, Roy Reynolds, knew more about the house than they did. They asked Roy: “What was the purpose of that floor to ceiling, vented wall cabinet in the master bedroom?” Roy’s answer: “For Mr. & Mrs. Stanger’s ranch boots.”

Edith Stanger visited her old home several times before her demise in 2018. Many of Roy’s Reynolds’ paintings now hang in Jay & Robyn’s Art Moderne residence at 996 South Emerson. As far as they are concerned, it will always be the Stanger House.  

Original Features

The Downstairs Back Hall: After entering the house through the front door, go the back of the house through the dining room, which we call “The Hall of Many Doors” and includes a small hall with 5  doorways to the kitchen, stairs to the unfinished cellar (don’t even think about going down there),  back porch mud room, guest bathroom, and the living room.

Long ago to enable the hallway to connect to the back of the house from the kitchen to the living room, the bathroom was shrunk, thus The Hall of Many Doors.”

When we had children visiting in the house they enjoyed opening all the hall doors to make a small maze, so we took one hall door and the door connecting to the kitchen.

Breakfast Nook: A long time ago, just off the kitchen, a breakfast nook was added and built out with a step up from the kitchen.  We were also told that the breakfast nook was extended into the back mudroom making the mudroom slightly smaller. 

Looking back outside toward the wall of the nook there is what appears to be a coal bin door.  You can kind of imagine the coal truck coming into the yard to deliver coal.  From the inside cellar side of there is a spooky covered hole in that location.  The room appears to have been an old coal bin (Not on the tour)

Clothes Chute: At the top of the stairs to the 2nd floor hallway is a little door near the floor, where dirty clothes can be thrown down to the laundry room basket.  A similar little door is in the coat closet on the main floor of the house to use for first floor linens. Visiting children can pass the time putting things down the shoot and shouting messages from floor to floor.  Sometimes large numbers of linen plug up the shoot and are freed by poking a broom stick down the shoot.  We usually notice this when we run out certain clothes and find them stuck in the shoot.

Upstairs Door to the Front Balcony: (Not open to the public during the tour).  This door leads directly from the upstairs hall to the front balcony that meets the deck at the corner of the house, and it is convenient for guests to be able to go from the bedrooms, or directly through the upstairs hall to the front balcony.  It is also good spot to put a chair near the front balcony to watch what’s going on at the park across the street.

Master Bedroom: As you walk into to the master bedroom (notice Hawaiian Décor), directly across the room is a set of two vented cupboard doors on the wall.  These were added by the previous owners, the Stangers, who owned a large ranch outside of Idaho Falls, where they raised Appaloosa horses, and lived in this house.  They built this closed shelving in which to store their cowboy boots.

Upstairs Bathroom: The fixtures in the bathroom were all mint green.  It is unknown if they are original to the period, however the toilet bowl which was huge with a big tank began to leak.  The plumber searched for a green one with no luck, and a black and white one replaced it. The other fixtures remain bright mint green.

The floor was covered by old white wool carpet.  We saw that the under tile was in good condition, so the floor was scraped and clean and the pattern itself is gorgeous. We know of no other bathroom with mint greet fixtures and a pristine yellow, cream and black tile.

5462 E. Rockwood in Iona

The home was built in two parts due to low funds the basement was built first. The basement was built in 1951. The upper level was started in 1953, and completed in 1954. The home is around 1762 sf. The home was built by John B. Elliott Jr. he and his wife Barbara lived there over 72 years. They raised four boys in this home.

Upon their death their youngest son Gary purchased the home with his wife Larie. We started the renovation which took over two years. We completed the upper level first, and moved into the home. We have completed the lower level while living in the home. We are thrilled to be able to retain so many parts of the home that my father originally used to construct the home. We have loved restoring Gary’s childhood home.

224 12th Street

Year Built- 1908
House style – Queen Ann
On the National Register of Historic Places Listed as: The Smith House

Original Features:
Door and window trims
Several original doors remaining including back door
Hard wood floors
Front porch ceiling original bead board

420 10th Street

Developing a Developer (Delbert V. Groberg)

By Mary Jane Fritzen, a daughter

Delbert V. Groberg, a Realtor, developed the Linden Park area of Idaho Falls. He built his business from scratch to support his wife and growing family. Delbert was born in Idaho Falls on Feb. 14, 1906. His mother, Maude Brunt Groberg, had come with her parents to Eagle Rock when she was a small child. Dad’s father was born of Swedish parents. Dad’s mother died when he was 3 years old and his father died the next year, so Dad and his brother were reared by his aunt and uncle on a farm in Weber County, Utah. With family here, he often visited Idaho Falls.

While living on the farm, Delbert entered his best potatoes in the county fair. When the winners were announced, to his disappointment there was no award on them. Holding back his tears, he thought, “I’ll take them home and we’ll eat them.” But an official patiently suggested that they submit his entry to the state fair, so he did. In about two weeks he received a letter containing a blue ribbon and a check for first prize in that category. He learned not to be discouraged by intermediate judgments—it’s the final that counts.

After high school, Dad served an LDS mission in the Eastern States, then attended BYU, where he met Jennie Holbrook. In 1929, he moved to Idaho Falls to work at his uncle’s dairy and Jennie taught school at Ammon. They were married in 1930 in the Salt Lake Temple, and made their home in Idaho Falls. Their first home was the duplex of his Grandma Brunt, who had died in 1929. Their first child, Mary Jane, was born there.

Dad recalled, “I didn’t have any resources. Now I was on my own. Jennie was helpful in encouraging me to do the things I really wanted to do and I admired how well she did everything—piano, organ, readings. I really respected her.”

Dad’s political career began about this time. He had accepted the nomination to run for Justice of the Peace in the Republican primaries. The opponent won. Another friend urged him to put his name on the Democrat ticket for the final election. He did and won over the one who had defeated him in the primaries. For two more two-­‐year terms he was elected Justice of the Peace.

Those were depression years. He was friendly and gifted in business. He recorded: “We got a new 1930 Chev sedan and it cost $650. That was 18 months at $35 a month. Before we got it paid for, we went to the garage to ask them to take it back—we owed $250. They said No, they had too many they’d taken back. When we got it all paid out, we traded it on a house. That was our start in the real estate business. I had been in the insurance business. We traded the car for down payment on a house (420-­‐6th St.) and got an old car to boot. Julia was born while we lived there.

“Then we built the house on 10thStreet, where John was born. Adolf Johnson drew a sketch of the plans, and promised Mom she could have all the cabinets she wanted. It was a three-­‐bedroom home, full basement, garage, fireplace. The price would be $3390including lots of cabinets.” Four more sons were born there—David, Dick, Dee and Joe.

“When John was about ten years old we moved to the house on 12thStreet during the second World War. We lived there almost 25 years. Before we moved out we remodeled the kitchen. That cost more than we paid for the house.” Beth, Lewis, Gloria and George were born while the family lived there. At that time John left on his mission and Julia was married to Bob Blair.

Thus began the next generation, who live in many regions. Mom and Dad lived all their married lives in Idaho Falls. Both died in 2004. Their posterity was about 300. Three sons—Richard, Joseph, and George—and one daughter, Mary Jane, and some of their families live in Idaho Falls.

2000 W. Broadway

The main structure was built in 1898.  It was owned by the Lundren family.   The original structure was  2 story, had wood siding and had a parlor/living room, small “dining” area, kitchen, and most likely 3 bedrooms.  It also had a full height basement with lava rock foundation walls and a built in root cellar. ( For the most part, this footprint is still recognizable today.)

It was situated approximately 3 miles from the town of Idaho Falls and totally surrounded by a very large tract of active farmland.   The farm was actively worked well into the 1940s.    The acreage was roughly bordered by Skyline Drive on the East, Grandview on the North, Coachman Lane on the West and W. Broadway on the South.  Slowly, land was sold off/annexed to the City of Idaho Falls for the creation of the Evans Addition which is now a large residential area on the Westside

In the 1918 photo, you can see the entire front facade was changed sometime between 1902 and 1918 to include a covered front porch.  That footprint can still be seen although the covered porch is no more.   At that time, the home was owned by the Myers family.

The footprint of the house changed significantly sometime between 1918 and 1935 as it was enlarged almost 1,000 square feet with a 2 story addition to the North side plus a 2 car garage to the east.  The Evans family owned the home in 1935 as evidenced by the photo compilation but it is not known for certain if they were responsible for the addition.    Its current footprint is 84 years old as evidenced by the 1935 photo.  

The home changed ownership at least 3 more times between the 1935 photo and our purchasing the property in 1994.  One owner was  Dr. Nielson and his wife Rose.   As the story goes, their contribution to the property was to create the circular driveway on the East creating the middle island as depicted on the right in the 2001 photo.  During their ownership, this island was home to a huge rose garden.   I do not know how long the Nielsen’s lived here but I have been told that they later developed/moved to a new residential area on the east side of Idaho Falls.  That housing area still exists and is the Rose Nielson Addition.

Another family who lived in the home was the Ed Browning Family.   I believe they were here for 20- 25 years in the late 1960s/early 1970s – early 1990s.  Anyone associated with aviation recognizes the name Ed Browning as he was well known in airplane racing and owned the Red Baron Hangar (which is on the Idaho Historical Society Register) and the fixed based airport operator for private aviation for years at the IF airport .  His race airplane dubbed the “Red Baron” used to be displayed suspended over the island in the circular drive way when he was not racing.  That metal bracing still exists today (if you can find it among the now 50+ year old pines he planted!!!)

The Brownings sold the property to the Haderlie family of Ririe in approximately 1991.  They never lived in the house, however.   Mrs. Haderlie had a dream of renovating the entire property and creating a boutique Bed and Breakfast.  Unfortunately, that dream was never realized.  The property sat vacant and fell into significant disrepair over 3 long years.

My husband Mark and I (Sherree) purchased the property in 1994 as we felt it was the answer to our prayers.  We wanted a great place with lots of room to raise our family, build a drool worthy shop for him and expand our business.  From July 1994 – June 1995 contractors worked to repair, modernize and create our dream come true.  It’s been our family residence since July 1995.

The Healing Sanctuary, 187 E. 13th Street

The building was originally built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints during the depression and was dedicated by Heber J. Grant in 1937. Some of the building funds were obtained by the saints holding fundraisers and dinners. It was known as the Third Ward Building. 

The building was purchased in the spring of 2016. The following winter took a major toll on the exterior of the building causing the building contractor and architect to often comment that the building would not have been able to hold up much longer structurally and on the exterior due to the building neglect and water damage caused by nature’s elements. They believed the extreme deterioration would have cause imminent need for demolition.

EXTERIOR OF BUILDING = The exterior concrete designs were all repaired and many new ones made to match existing broken ones. The exterior of the building was kept intact, brick work cleaned and the old glass front doors were removed and new doors custom made to match original doors found in pictures taken at the building dedication in 1937. New side doors, in the courtyard on the east and west wing, were also made to match original doors.  All windows in the building are new, the colored stain glass window floral design matches the original ones that were originally done in a variety of all white glass.

To adhere to building ADA requirements an elevator was required. This was added to the back of the building and framed in a pleasing manner different from the historic existing building so one would know what was original and what was added.

In creating the back fencing, for the patios and ADA sidewalk ramps, a design to match the curvature of the floral stain glass windows was implemented. We wanted to create a flow between the building and the exterior and implement current building designs into new ones. 

ENTRANCE HALL – The entrance hall stone work on the floor and lower stairs matches the original pattern. The banister pillars match the originals but were made taller, along with taller stair railings, to adhere to current ADA rules. In areas, where possible, the texture on the walls were kept the same as the original texture. Notice the ceiling curvature from the walls to the ceiling,this was an original element and this element was kept throughout the main areas. All floors and ceilings in main areas were redone due to ceilings and floors sagging and the many structural problems. The current reception bathrooms were original classrooms or offices. Later they were opened up and used as coat closets but at the time of building purchase they were storage rooms now remodeled and made into bathrooms. A wall separating the entry was removed where the columns currently are in the reception area. This area was originally divided into two rooms one for the bishop and one for the clerks. The current children’s play area use to be a closet in the clerk’s office used for storage. In the place of the current columns, a fireplace was present, this fireplace was removed from the basement up to the third floor. The current columns were created to house many pipes for HVAC, plumbing and in-house vacuum system. The 2 pew bench seats in the reception entry area were made from original pews from the chapel.

INSIDE BUILDING = The current Obstetrics/Gynecology wing use to be the chapel. The interior walls of the chapel were kept intact throughout. Again, notice the curvature where walls and ceilings meet. Ceilings were repaired due to leakage and water damage. The exam rooms were placed in the center so to keep the exterior of the building walls as original. A sky light was added to create lighting and was necessary due to structural ceiling and truss work damage due to building neglect. The chapel (now OB/GYN wing) originally had a slanted floor downward toward the South side, this floor was entirely removed and leveled. The rostrum area was removed and made into an office. 

Many heating grills were used for the venting of the original coal heating.The design of these grills were replicated to match the original and new vents made for the venting of the new HVAC for the building. The same design of these vents are replicated throughout many of the building design elements , for example, in the light fixtures of the OB/GYN area, the exam room lighting, the stone work on walls of reception area bathrooms and building room signage. All HVAC coal elements were removed and heating units were installed behind the wainscoting which was added to the exterior walls of the building.

All the interior doors in the building are originals or new ones replicated to match original doors of the building. All stairways, hallways, and doorways in hallways match the original layout of the building.

Many of the wall textures, where possible, were kept to match the original where feasible. 

The interior area of the OB/GYN wing, where the current exam rooms are, is all new. This area was built with a more modern look to distinguish new areas from existing areas, the mezzanine is accessed by a circular floating staircase and area will be available for future growth of the business. 

CULTURAL HALL NOW CALLED THE BALLROOM = The Ballroom and the stage are the only areas where the wood flooring is the original flooring. When purchased the Ballroom had extensive floor and ceiling damage due to ceiling holes; thus water damage caused the original flooring to raise up, in a bubble like fashion, a good 10 inches. Once ceiling was repaired floors were able to dry and be repaired to keep original wood. At some time a wall and upper projection booth was created on the north wall of the ballroom enclosing the staircase and north arched windows. The projection booth was removed, staircase brought out into a curve and ceilings repaired on the north end to match the original look of ceiling by the stage.  Notice the sconces in the ballroom also have a similar design to the vent design, mimicking the original look. This look is consistent throughout the building design.

UP THE BALLROOM STAIRS TO THE THIRD FLOOR =  A lot of work was done on this floor to repair structural ceiling and floor damage. This floor houses our current IV suite. The large arched window of the IV room is a new window matching the original design and the original window was restored with all original glass and placed in the wall of the hallway. Originally the IV suite was used as the primary room. Inside the IV room the same ceiling to wall curvature was implemented to match the original and side wall indentions for scones were kept to match original.


The custom made apothecary in the lower hallway was created and built from the original pew benches in the Chapel Sanctuary area. To the right of the apothecary is the original classrooms area and library. The dutch double door of the original library are still there but again all doors have been restored and are original. All doors locations are original and are currently used as exam rooms, lab, restrooms, and ultrasound suite.

To the left of the apothecary you will find the kitchen. The kitchen is in its original place but has been updated with the most updated and beautiful fixtures and appliance. The open pass through is an original element. The kitchen when complete (a few minor things still need to be finished) will be able to be certified as a  commercial kitchen. To the left of the kitchen was originally a gym with basketball standards and was used for classrooms divided by curtains. This room is now a cafeteria on the north side and a medical research facility, Clinical Research Prime on the south end of the wing. 

Originally behind the apothecary, and on the south wall of the hallway, were 2 shower rooms (men and women) for gym use. These were made into one room and is currently a laundry and break room. Also, 2 original bathrooms are here (still currently under construction). The pattern of the stone work on these bathroom floors were duplicated to match the tile pattern from the original bathroom floors.

Below the lower apothecary hallway, dirt was removed, cement walls poured and foundation stabilized to create a new mechanical room. The remaining lower level, (where original coal equipment needs were stored), remains unfinished for future medical use and business growth.

Much of the work done throughout the building one will never see. Much of the work was done structurally, on the roof and above ceilings and in flooring areas, because all of the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing work was redone as none of the original could be salvaged, 100% new work was needed to update to get the building to pass current building and ADA codes. But in restoring the building the owners kept much of the flow of the building as the original layout. •