Christina and Lane Ward wanted to wait and buy a new home in a few years, but when their dream home appeared overnight outside their window they had to act.
A year ago, the empty lot across the alley from their small East End home changed in an instant when a 1914-era craftsman home moved onto the Bannock Street lot in the middle of the night. The home, previously owned by Boise-based Caldera Capital, is one of eight historic homes construction crews moved off of St. Luke’s Health System property in 2018 to make way for the hospital’s expansion.
Now, after years of work from Caldera Capital to rehabilitate and move some of the homes, the Wards proudly own a newly renovated house that almost went straight to the wrecking ball. This is the first of the homes moved off of St. Luke’s property to be purchased by a private buyer, but Caldera Capital has three more projects in the works.
Christina Ward, a real estate agent, has seen her fair share of homes in and around Boise. But, she said once she stepped inside the house during an extensive renovation in 2020, she felt an intense emotional attachment. She envisioned it as the home where she would raise her two children.
To help convince her husband to get on board with the purchase, she created a Powerpoint presentation. The first slide read “I’ve sold real estate for sixteen years and I’ve never loved a house this much.”
“I could see the children as teenagers in the basement,” she said, sitting in the home’s living room days after they moved in. “It was really cool.”
Years in the making
For years, St. Luke’s owned several historic homes near its hospital campus on the eastern edge of downtown Boise for a variety of uses. But, when it was time to expand, the health system cleared the once residential neighborhood to make way. The hospital system preserved and relocated two of the homes for its own use, but it sold the other six to Caldera Capital and moved them to a storage lot along Warm Springs Avenue.
Two of the six were found to be too far gone to save in the fall of 2019, but Caldera Capital owners Kerry and Steve Calverley have been working to find buyers and permanent homes for the other four. They originally purchased the homes under the company Reclaimed Structures, but have since transferred all of the property to Caldera Capital.
In 2018, they were able to relocate a duplex to a lot on the Boise Bench off of Kootenai Street and are still in the process of renovating it into a triplex.
The Ward’s home, the former St. Luke’s Women’s Life Center, had a long journey before it became someone’s house again. After crews delicately moved it in January 2020, it took a year to renovate. Caldera Capital poured a new basement for the home, modernized the interior, and restored the original hardwood floors and the trademark dark interior woodwork common in craftsman style homes.
When Caldera Capital bought the home, it still had all of the dated decorations put in by St. Luke’s to serve the hospital, including a buffet in the kitchen area, aging carpets, dated wallpaper, and a couch dating back to the 1980s. Kerry Calverley said she remembered sitting on that very couch after she had her own child at the hospital years ago.
Christina Ward said since the news of her purchase of the house circulated on social media, mothers from around the Treasure Valley reached out to share their memories of receiving services there with their newborns.
“It’s been a special couple of weeks to have moms reach out to me and say they’ve been here,” she said.
Not an easy journey
Finding a final resting place for the houses has not been easy.
It costs tens of thousands of dollars to move the homes each time, and they can only move so far. To find a place for the homes, the Calverley’s searched all over the East End in search of empty lots with owners willing to sell that the homes could fit on. Getting them there is also a challenge, requiring them to map routes without too many low hanging trees, power lines or other obstructions to make sure the home could come to rest easily.
“Every quarter mile you move the house it’s another expense,” Kerry Calverley said.
Two more homes still sitting on blocks along Warm Springs Ave. will eventually make the lots a permanent home. Crews will pour foundations, renovate the inside and make repairs to the outside – adding two more places for families to live.
Now that the craftsman is sited on Bannock Street and the Wards settled in, the Calverley’s will turn their attention to getting foundations dug and the new homes renovated and ready for new owners.
Steve Calverley credited their success to finding final lots for the four homes with help from people who believed in their mission of saving the historic buildings from demolition. He said every step of the long process the couple was overwhelmed with support from Boiseans to save some of the city’s oldest dwellings, no matter the cost.
“We needed a lot of help from the community as we tried to do something that is much harder than just building a house,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story used the former name of the entity the Calverley’s used to purchase the six homes. It has been corrected to reflect that the homes are now owned by Boise-based Caldera Capital LLC.