Assay Office, Boise, Idaho

Designed by A. B. Mullett this building is now State Historical Society's Archaeology and Oral History Division, 210 Main Street. The U.S. Forest Service took possession of this building in 1933 after the U.S. Treasury no longer needed it for an Assay Office. Most of the gold mining diminished in that area so the Forest Service made the building its headquarters. There had been plans drawn in 1931 to remodel the interior for offices. Iron bars were removed from the windows, no longer needed to protect gold supplies. During the depression the price of gold increased and mining was revived so the Idaho Mining Association lobbied Congress to reconsider and reopen the Assay Office but the attempts failed completely in 1942. There had been plans by the Forest Service to expand the building with wings on either side and transform the exterior to make it look more like all the other Forest Service buildings. But probably lack of funding during the depression and the continued attempts of the local citizens of Idaho who wanted the building reopened as an Assay Office, helped save it from the planned transformation of the exterior. After World War II the Federal Courthouse and Office Building in Boise was planned and one site considered was that of the Old Assay Office. Another location was selected and the Federal Government no longer needed the building. The building, now under control jointly of GSA and the Forest Service turned the building over to the State and it became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The people of Idaho have always appreciated this little stone structure. It has been lovingly cared for and maintained. Although it is not big enough to be a true museum as bigger buildings have, such as the Carson City Mint, it is being used, every space, by caring people who appreciate this building.
More on the Architectural design of this building is in A. B. Mullett: His Relevance in American Architecture and Historic Preservation.

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