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The Pioneer Cemeteries of Idaho City and Grimes »« The Gold-Rush Town of Idaho City

The Craziest House in Idaho

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We enjoyed our self-guided walking tour of historic Idaho City immensely, but our favorite house didn’t appear anywhere in the brochure. We decided to just call it the Crazy House, because it’s among the most eccentric structures we’ve seen anywhere in the States.

Strangest House In Idaho

It looks as though someone coated a normal two-story house in super glue, then dumped the contents of a well-stocked second-hand store on top of it. And then left it to rust and age for twenty years. It’s all been shuttered up, and peering through the windows, it’s clear that nobody has been inside for quite awhile. What did this building used to be? A crazy person’s home? An antique store? Who knows? The only thing not in doubt, is that this was the strangest and coolest house we had yet seen in Idaho, and we spent a long time admiring it from every angle. Enjoy our pics of this Idahoan curiosity — and if you know anything about it, please share!

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September 12, 2012 at 2:32 am
2 comments »
  • October 1, 2012 at 10:20 pmKate

    I may not have this story 100% correct, but it’s at least pretty much the truth:

    It used to be an antique/junk shop — very piled up, disorganized, hard to navigate — but a few years ago, there was a fire inside that damaged a lot of the “merchandise” and the building. (There have been quite a few shop fires in Idaho City in the past decade; I think the heating systems in old building are to blame?) The owner boarded it up, leaving it as-is — if you look in the windows, you can see that it’s still full of dusty junk — and apparently just abandoned it. My family speculates that the owner just didn’t want to have to deal with it any more and walked, and that one day it’s going to be a real big mess for whoever has to handle the estate…. Still, very intriguing to look at, and quite eccentric!

  • February 14, 2013 at 6:11 pmCharlie Swearingen

    In the early 1970s I lived on that corner in a small miner’s shotgun shack.  You could walk in the front porch door straight into the living room, move through the kitchen, then through the bedroom and out the backdoor.  Thus, it was called a shotgun house.  It had a nice lawn with a picket fence and quakies, and the garage contained a 1932 Ford pickup that still ran.  In those days I paid $25/mo rent.  The house was constructed with 2x4s laid flat so the walls were about 2 inches thick.  There was no insulation in the walls, and I had an Alaskan wood stove to heat the entire house.  Once the fire went out, the house became cold in about ten minutes.  Many times there was frost on the inside walls/windows in the winter.  The water in the kitchen froze all the time and you had to leave it running to prevent freezing.One spring during snow melt a small hole appeared in the back yard and upon checking it, I discovered an old Chinese tunnel.  There were Chinese dishes, opium bottles & tins and numerous other antiques down there.  Today some of those Chinese antiques are on display at Diamond Lil’s Saloon in idaho City. When I moved out of the house, Ruth and Larry Carter bought it.  They opened an antique store in it called the “Sluice Box.”  They added to it every year, and when they ran out of space, they started building up. They built up two stories with a third-story widow’s walk on top.  It finally burned down, and to my surprise, Ruth & Larry rebuilt it again.  During the rebuild, the Chinese tunnel was filled in because the ground was sinking.  Ruth still owns it, but for health reasons, it’s no longer open to the public.  It’s an oddity and a great place to visit. 

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