BOISE -- Preservation Idaho wants to save two historic homes scheduled for auction in Boise's downtown Central Addition.
The non-profit group hopes to raise nearly $500,000 and purchase both the George Stewart House and Mary Wood House.
Both homes were built on South 5th Street in the 1890s. The homes have a rich history and feature architectural elements not commonly seen in Boise.
Dan Everhart is a Preservation Idaho volunteer who's worked with the group for a decade.
Everhart says the George Stewart house was completed in 1893 for an Idaho Supreme Court Justice by the same name.
"It has all the details you'd expect a Queen Anne House to have," said Everhart, describing the building's architectural style.
Everhart says the nearby Mary Wood house was also completed in the 1890s, when this neighborhood -- once surrounded by orchards -- was thriving.
"It has an interesting mix of architecture and history," said Everhart.
Both homes have aged over time, and the surrounding city has changed, too.
"Now you have a freeway basically on either side of the neighborhood," said Everhart.
Everhart added that high traffic makes the property more valuable for commercial use than family living at this point.
UP FOR AUCTION
Now, both the George Stewart House and Mary Wood house are in danger of being demolished.
The homes are currently in foreclosure, and preservationists say the entire lot is scheduled to be sold at auction this Friday.
According to a public notice, the sale will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the Pioneer Title Company office on West Rifleman Street in Boise.
The notice of default is for $497,610.
"In this particular instance, this particular property would allow the preservation community to take some control in a neighborhood that we've had no control in," said Everhart.
That's why Preservation Idaho volunteers are seeking donations to try and make a competitive bid on the property and save the two historic homes.
That means they'll need to come up with about $500,000. Donations are tax deductible and Preservation Idaho is willing to refund donors if they so choose if enough money isn't raised to make the bid.
Everhart admits it's a big task.
"It will take a significant investment and there's lots of things that need to be done to the Stewart House," added Everhart. And he's talking about repairs that need to be made after winning the auction.
For example, costs to refurbish the George Stewart home could reach $100,000.
If Preservation Idaho can't get the money it needs to bid on the lot, volunteers hope someone will see the beauty and history in the two homes off 5th and Myrtle and refurbish the existing properties.
"Keeping them where they are, preserving them in place and hopefully renovating them here to speak to their own history and the architecture of the neighborhood as well as just the viability of that," said Everhart.
He added that even if the lot is purchased by someone else, there is still the possibility the homes could be moved and preserved, but that takes a lot of time, planning and money. Everhart told us in all honesty, the chances are slim.
It's unclear what will happen to the people renting rooms inside the two historic homes. Preservations said it depends on who places the winning bid at auction.
For information about the history of the George Stewart and Mary Wood homes as well as the Central Addition neighborhood, click here.
You can learn more about Preservation Idaho's push to raise money for a competitive bid on the lot by visiting their website.