Boise’s newest cultural site, the Erma Hayman House, will open to the public later this month.
The 900-square-foot house is the last single-family home in Boise’s River Street Neighborhood. It was built in 1907 on the corner of Ash and River streets.
As the name suggests, the house was the longtime home of Erma Hayman. Hayman was born in 1907 in Nampa, Idaho, and was the twelfth of 13 children. Her family was one of the few Black families living in Nampa at the time.
According to Boise’s Department of Arts and History, Hayman moved to Boise in 1927 and married her first husband, Navy Madry, shortly after. The couple had three children. After Madry died of Leukemia, Hayman eventually remarried Lawrence Hayman in 1943. The couple bought the modest home on Ash Street in 1948 after racial discrimination prevented them from buying elsewhere in the City of Boise.
Hayman was actively involved in the community where she lived. The River Street Neighborhood was home to many immigrants and the majority of the city’s Black residents. Hayman served on the River Street Neighborhood Council and was the chairwoman from 1973 to 1974. During her time on the council, Hayman fought to have a crosswalk and stoplight installed at the heavily trafficked intersection of 13th and River streets. Hayman lived at the house until her death in 2009. She was 102 years old.
Because most structures in the early days of the River Street neighborhood have been lost, the City of Boise acquired the house in 2018 to preserve it and Hayman’s story. The cultural site opens Thursday, September 22.