The Idanha stands in Boise, Idaho, but the building's history sounds straight out of Hollywood. Since its 1901 opening, the Idanha has seen its share of soap opera-style drama, including an assassination attempt and the occasional report of a ghost sighting.
Architecturally, the Idanha features an elegant French-chateau look, with high-pitched roofs, cone-shaped turrets, and brick exteriors. The six-story property, originally built as a hotel but now converted into apartments, also boasted the state's first working elevator. During the Boise landmark's heyday, luminaries such as President Theodore Roosevelt, cowboy Will Rogers, actress Ethel Barrymore, and famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow graced its now-historic halls.
But it was the attempted assassination of a state governor that gave the Idanha its notoriety. According to The Idanha: Guests and Ghosts of a Historic Idaho Inn by Dick D'Easum, an assassin rigged a bomb under the bed of Frank Steunenberg, an Idaho governor who was staying at the hotel during its early days in 1901. The bomb never went off, but Steunenberg, who governed the state at the turn of the century, died shortly after the assassination attempt.
Today, the Idanha houses an art gallery, a barbershop, a restaurant, and a bar downstairs, with apartments on the building's top floors. Now managed by Boise-based Parklane Management Co., the Idanha was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
–Abby Garcia Telleria is a freelance writer in Costa Mesa, Calif.