Monday, November 3, 2014

Revisiting The Idanha Hotel

Idanha Flashback.

Picture to the right of the Idanha Hotel and Charles Siringo from Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas: "At times the spacious lobby (of the Idanha) didn’t seem large enough to contain all the gunslingers in the prosecution camp. One day, two of the deadliest-Charlie Siringo and Bob Meldrum-confronted each other by the mahogany bar. Hawley had imported Meldrum and his sidekick, Rudie Barthell, ostensibly under subpoena as prosecution witnesses, actually as insurance against federation 'thuggery' or other contingencies. Ten years before, as sheriff of Carbon County, Colorado, Meldrum had pursued a gang of horse thieves headed by 'Kid' Curry, while the Pinkerton's sent Siringo to infiltrate the bunch. Unaware of the desperado’s identity, Meldrum had almost killed Siringo. Now, as they eyed each other grimly, Meldrum's hand jumped toward his revolver pocket. 'I've felt worst about not getting you than any man I ever missed,' he growled. 'It's all right, Bob,' said Siringo. 'I call it all off.' Ultimately, they downed a whiskey together." (Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas, 1997).

Below are a couple of  recent postcard acquisitions. I have a couple of the first one but not with the notations you see on the right hand side regarding room rates.
Circa 1903-4. This postcard is pre-assassination (12/30/1905) and Frank stayed here from time to time when on business in Boise. ©JTR
As indicated on the postcard above, E. W. Schubert was then manager of the hotel. The Idanha had opened in January 1901 with John Cage as manager but he left a year later. Schubert, the assistant manager at the time, took over. Schubert would remain manager until 1908, including through that period when the Idanha played witness to many individuals and events related to Frank's assassination in 1905 and the trial of Bill Haywood in 1907. Schubert actually testified briefly at the Bill Haywood trial as to the accuracy of the Idanha's registration books showing Harry Orchard was in the hotel during the time of a failed attempt to blow up Frank (and the hotel & guests). Orchard had confessed as to this attempt and his total disregard for other patrons and employees at the hotel.

Circa 1908-1913. ©JTR
Anyone you know? Give a holler if you can ID any of these boys. ©JTR
I am assuming this is a basement storage area. It took a lot of supplies to run a large hotel and to feed the guests. In this photo Charles H. Grout is now manager. Shubert had remained manager until 1908 and Grout took over from 1908 until 1913. Hence, we can date this postcard as during that period of time.

Early RPPC from the same time period circa 1901-1906. Doesn't look like much in the way
of power poles & lines have yet been installed. ©JTR
Walter Johnson pitching at the Idanha?
With it sprinkling outside. Walter wound up and pitched a few down the 2nd floor hallway
 to his Weiser Kids catcher. Photo from The Idanha by Dick d'Easum

Of course this photo of the Idanha with a note from Justice Byron Johnson will always have an honored place in my collection.

Related links:
The Idanha: Guests and Ghosts of an Historic Idaho Inn  By Dick D'Easum

Saturday, March 1, 2008 (letter on Idanha letterhead).
Frank Steunenberg to son Julian - February 2, 1905

Saturday, January 17, 2009
Boise Idaho - Real Photo Postcards & Covers

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Shootout over Harry Orchard

Saturday, March 15, 2008
Would Trade a Mantle, Mays, Koufax or Robinson for a good Steunenberg, Orchard, Siringo or Meldrum

Saturday, October 6, 2012
Golden Arches

Sunday, September 20, 2015
Idanha Hotel Match Safe

I will take the $5.00 room 5th floor turret with a bath and claw foot tub. Hot water better be working.


Tara A. Rowe said...

The Idanha reminded me of something I've been meaning to ask you, but first, I didn't know that about Walter Johnson! How cool is that? My question: Are you familiar with the Dewey Palace/Hotel from early 20th century Nampa? I saw pics of it when I was looking for something else entirely in the photograph collection at the state archive. Reminded me a lot of the Idanha.

daniel yoshida said...

The Walter Johnson story surprised me and I have been reading all night about Big Train pitching in Idaho. However, that postcard is a bit misleading and makes it look like he was pitching for Weiser in the picture. Johnson seems older than 19 in the picture and that's a Washington Senators uniform. Also, Weiser surely didn't have had a second tier grandstand like Griffith Park.

John T. Richards Jr. said...

Thanks for the visit Daniel. I don't think the Idaho State Historical Society or Dick Easum (or me for that matter) were trying to deceive anyone. I used this photo and the caption from Easum's book about the Idanha. I do wish more photographs existed of Johnson in action with Weiser. Have you ever seen any? The only photo's I know of are in the following blog posts:

Comeback anytime,

daniel yoshida said...

i didn't mean to imply it was intentionally misleading, it just kind of seemed misleading anyway. to a familiar person, this would be obvious i guess. i do love Idaho and Boise history, particularly that of the Idanha. i recently moved here (to Boise and the Idanha) and really have appreciated all the history i can find about the place. so, thanks for your blog and happy to know Walter Johnson once warmed up on the same floor i live on!

John T. Richards Jr. said...

No problem Daniel. I understand. It would sure be nice if there were more photos of Johnson in Idaho or at the Idanha! Very cool that you live there. I was always thankful that the hotel was spared the wreaking ball of urban renewal as many other structures in Boise were not. The Parklane company saved the hotel by making it into apartments. It has been a few years since my last visit but I love walking those Idanha hallways. I remember one guy that let us come in and look around his apartment with one of the turret rooms. A lot of ghosts of the past walking those hallways!

Thanks for the visit and your comments.