Preserving Boise

The question of whether to preserve any specific structure is an interesting one. Preservation has to be balanced against many factors, such as site usage, cost of preservation/renovation, and its cultural and historical importance. As with some of the Basque sites in the downtown area these factors can vary with time. While many sites which are now on the Basque block might have been historically important, it was not until recently, about the 1980s, that they became culturally important. Their cultural importance–rather than there historical–is what sets these buildings apart. For whatever reason it was not until the 1980s that the Basque community in Boise began to coalesque around a physical area in the city. This began when the old boarding house next to the museum was purchased. It became a rallying point for other Basque cultural institutions-such as the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Bar Gernica, the Basque community center, and a few other resturants and stores. The success of the Basque cultural preservation (or it might better be termed cultural renovation) has lead to the non-Basque owners of other Basque sites (such as former chapels and boarding houses) to associate their building with the Basque community. The Boise Basque’s are an example of successful grass roots preservation efforts–as opposed to relying on the more formal structures described in our text. They show the importance of not only preserving buildings, but of connecting them with a vibrant culture.

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