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


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.

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).

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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