Tour Of Former Groceries In Boise's North End Gives Glimpse Into Bygone Era

Sep 9, 2016

Barbara Perry Bauer likes to use the line from the movie The Sixth Sense, “I see dead people.” But she doesn’t mean it literally. This local historian is obsessed with the people and places that shaped Boise. Lately, she’s been seeing a lot of ghosts of groceries past in the North End neighborhood.

The old Greenhouse Grocery on Pueblo and 10th Streets was built in 1902, and has living quarters above the store. It was run as a grocery through the 1970s.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

“Before we had refrigeration," says Perry Bauer, "before we had automobiles, people did a lot more walking and it was convenient for them to just go around the corner and pick up whatever they needed, and that’s why there’s such a large number of grocery stores in the North End.”

Perry Bauer owns Tag Historical Research and Consulting. She’s in her car plotting the course for a bike tour she’ll lead Saturday with Preservation Idaho. The tour will make stops at some of the 40 different groceries that once existed in the neighborhood.

The historian says one of her favorite old stores is the Greenhouse Grocery on Pueblo Street. It was built in 1902, and for a long time was run by a woman who was also the meat cutter – a job not usually held by women.

A medallion placed in front of the old Hollywood Market, now Hollywood Yoga.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The old Hollywood Market – now Hollywood Yoga on 8th Street – is another stop on the bike tour.

“And it’s iconic because I just think that a lot of people who live in the North End may have shopped there as kids. It is actually the longest running market in the North End.”

Besides being a convenient place to buy milk, bread and vegetables – Perry Bauer says the corner stores acted as little community centers where neighbors would meet and chat – kind of like coffee shops today.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio