Locally owned. Supported by members.

Up in smoke: Downtown Boise’s oldest store (with a haunted reputation) closes up shop

Regence Blue Shield Idaho

In 1908, the corner of 11th St. and Main St. looked much different than it does today.

Dirt streets. Horses wandering around. A streetcar.

The historic Owyhee? Didn’t exist yet. Ditto the Boise Depot, Idaho Statehouse, Julia Davis Park… and the list goes on.

But that year, a cigar store moved into its brand new custom-built building at 11th and Main.

But now, after 111 years, Hannifin’s Cigar Store in Downtown Boise — appears closed for good.

- Story continues below ads -
IBL Events
Paddles Up Poke

A small going out of business sign hangs in the window of the dilapidated building. The store’s voicemail box is full. Several stops by Monday morning and afternoon showed nothing but a mostly-empty store.

Hannifin’s is the longest-running retail business in a single location in Boise. Idaho Candy Company started a few years earlier but didn’t move to its current location until 1909 – just a year after Hannifin’s set up shop on Main.

The land and building show a value of $810,600 according to the Ada County Assessor. A California trust controlled by Jarred Sumner of Lafayette, CA owns the property. The trust acquired the property in 2005. Attempts to reach Sumner were not successful.

[Two bodegas set for Downtown Boise]

We also tried to track down current Hannifin’s owner Stan Minder without success.

The going out of business sign hanging in the window signs off:

Thank you ❤️ Stan.

A haunted history?

“Hannifans (sic) Cigar Shop is a beautiful example of some of Boise’s finest architecture,” Preservation Idaho notes on its website. “Hannifans (sic) Cigar is a small cigar shop… in one of the most (historic) blocks in Boise. It was originally constructed in 1905, making Hannifans (sic) one of the oldest structures in downtown Boise.”

Hannifin's Boise mural
Hannifin’s Cigar Store mural. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

One of the building’s better-known features is a large mural along the 11th St. facade. A group of sign painters known as the International Letterheads came to Boise in 2000 and painted three murals. In addition to the Hannifin’s sign, the group painted the large Stearns Motorcar mural on the side of the Adelman Building at Capitol Blvd. and Main St. (The group also painted a mural near the Basque Block, which crews removed and replaced with a replica). The mural is showing signs of wear – with graffiti tags and uneven panels.

The building carries tales of ghost stories. Tara Morgan wrote about them for the Boise Weekly in 2008:

“One night I heard it,” (former owner Robert) Guerrero remembers. “I was in the back, in my office, and I heard the noise. The hair stood up on my body and I was like, ‘What was that?'” Many attribute the footsteps to the ghost of Raymond Allen Snowden. He was hanged at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary on October 17, 1957, for the brutal murder of Cora Dean. The night of the murder, Snowden was seen by store employee entering the Hannifin’s bathroom. In the days that followed, police searched Hannifin’s for clues and found the murder weapon in the gutter in front of the store. “With that evidence, they were able to convict the man of murder,” Guerrero says. “So we think maybe he comes back to revisit the fateful night that he visited Hannifin’s and left behind the evidence that, in the end, convicted him of murder.

(Thanks, Colby, for the tip).

Love our stories? Get them delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. Plus, support BoiseDev's independent journalism.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

Proposed tall downtown building gets reworked in face of neighbor concerns

Earlier this year, BoiseDev broke news of a new 16-story building slated for Downtown Boise. Now the project's developer...

Poke, burritos, gems, toys and more: new stores slated for Village at Meridian

Several new stores and restaurants will open soon at the Village at Meridian. Paddles Up Poké owner Dan Landucci...

New WinCo development in N. Meridian changes names, reworks some project elements

We told you earlier this month that the Linder Village project in North Meridian would finally start to move forward. Now,...

Apple changes course on Boise store, again

Apple Inc. will reopen its store in Boise, a major anchor of Boise Towne Square. The store,...

Popular

Popular Idaho mountain hot springs goes up for sale

If you're someone who has thought about purchasing a hot spring, now may be the time to do it. 

Proposed tall downtown building gets reworked in face of neighbor concerns

Earlier this year, BoiseDev broke news of a new 16-story building slated for Downtown Boise. Now the project's developer...

Motel goes through remodel & makes COVID-safe changes

Almost two years ago, Kyle Enzler bought the Scandia Inn Motel. It started out as a hand-built motel in McCall in the...

CenturyLink will change its name – but you may or may not see it

As the CenturyLink turns. We told you last week that the company would leave its Downtown Boise office space....

New WinCo development in N. Meridian changes names, reworks some project elements

We told you earlier this month that the Linder Village project in North Meridian would finally start to move forward. Now,...

Costco sets opening date for new Meridian store

The Treasure Valley will soon include three Costco Wholesale stores. Costco Meridian has an opening date. Just in time...

Related

New tenant set to move into historic Hannifin’s building

For 111 years, the small building at 1024 W. Main St. hosted a cigar shop. Now, after a few...
SERVPRO Certified

Latest

Proposed tall downtown building gets reworked in face of neighbor concerns

Earlier this year, BoiseDev broke news of a new 16-story building slated for Downtown Boise. Now the project's developer...

Popular Idaho mountain hot springs goes up for sale

If you're someone who has thought about purchasing a hot spring, now may be the time to do it. 

Report says Idaho construction booming during pandemic

The Idaho chapter of Associated General Contractors of America reported that around 54,200 Idahoans are working in construction. Despite the coronavirus pandemic,...

Motel goes through remodel & makes COVID-safe changes

Almost two years ago, Kyle Enzler bought the Scandia Inn Motel. It started out as a hand-built motel in McCall in the...

Idaho u-pick flower farm blossoms during pandemic

It's only the second season at Lovely Hollow Farm, and it's been a wild one. In 2019, flower...

Local home prices are rising fast. Median income is not

The gap between median home prices in Ada County and median income has widened to a gulf over the past decade.