CSHQA Past to Future – Part 1: Past

Dec 31, 2019

Medieval cathedrals were built by a master mason, or the architect of the impossible. CSHQA isn’t from medieval times or designing the impossible, but we do date back to the 1890s practicing architecture. Drawings are a part of the design process and were historically done on vellum with ink. Changes to the design took time as an entire drawing had to be redrawn, even for minor changes.

One element of early architecture practice is the “art” of drawing. Floor plans, elevations, sections and details all were drawn with the understanding that the line quality resembled a built element and text needed to be precise and exactly 1/8” tall. Before I drafted a single line that would resemble a building, I spent a week writing text on velum with a lead holder and sharpener. Luckily, I took the time and made each letter precise, saving myself the agony of doing another 8.5”x11” velum all over again.

This art is evident in CSHQA’s work in the 20th Century. From William S. Campbell founding the firm in 1889 to the Idaho Statesman Building in 1910, and Glen Cline, the “C” in CSHQA, joining in 1955, projects were design and documented through hand drafting. These skills helped create many historic buildings in the Boise skyline. As the firm grew, so did the number of projects and the skill set of our firm.

Featured Past Projects

The Grandest Hotel in Idaho

The Grandest Hotel in Idaho opened January 1, 1901. Designed by CSHQA’s founder William S. Campbell in the French-chateau architectural style, the hotel hosted many renowned public figures.  They include: Clarence Darrow, defense attorney, and William Borah, prosecutor and future Idaho governor, as they prosecuted the Big Bill Haywood trial in 1907; Teddy Roosevelt on a tour of the western US, and Roger Miller, who is said to have written ‘King of the Road’ in an Idanha suite.  Still a beloved Boise icon, the Idanha is on the historic register of places and is an apartment building with street level restaurants.

Central Fire Station Past Present
Central Fire Station throughout the years

Boise’s Central Fire Station is located in the heart of downtown and was completed in 1903 by Campbell and Wayland and is recognized as one of their most noted landmarks. Over time it was converted to commercial uses and the tower was removed. 80+ years later CSHQA bought the building, had the tower rebuilt based on original drawings, then used it for office space for about 10 years.

Today the Central Fire Station is on the National Historic Register and is one of Boise’s significant historical buildings.  CSHQA purchased the building and renovated it in compliance with the Department of Interior Standards using our original construction documents.  The exterior renovation included repairing and rebuilding the exterior brickwork and reconstructing the bell tower which was removed in the 1960s.  We moved our office to the renamed ‘Central Station’ and stayed there until 1999.  In 1987 CSHQA received an Orchid Award from the Idaho Historic Preservation Council for our restoration.

Click to learn more about our history


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