St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral & The Tuttle House
Boise, Ada County
- Grants: 2017 (stained glass windows), 2022 (paint Tuttle House exterior)
Location: 518 North 8th Street, Boise, Idaho 83702
St. Michael’s Cathedral is a gorgeous example of Gothic Revival Architecture, dedicated in 1902 and built from Table Rock Quarry’s famous sandstone. It serves as the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho as well as a monument to the profound effect the Episcopal Church has had on the cultural heritage of Boise and the state as a whole. The Cathedral is built near the site of the original St. Michael’s Church, a wooden chapel opened in September of 1866, which was the first and only Episcopal Church at the time in the Mountain West. The church is named for Reverend St. Michael Fackler who agreed to relocate from Oregon to Boise on the condition that a church be built. He gave his first sermon in Boise in August of 1864, but sadly he would not live to see the completion of the church that would bear his name. The original St. Michaels was moved several times and now stands on Boise State University’s Campus as the rechristened Christ Chapel.
The Episcopal congregation of St. Michael’s was instrumental in the development of Boise from a rough and tumble frontier town to a bustling city in but a few short decades. The Women’s Auxiliary Board of Missions, later renamed the Episcopal Church Women, put on many social events, dances, galas, and concerts which provided entertainment outside of the typical taverns and gambling halls. The proceeds from these events provided a significant portion of the $25,000 construction cost for the Cathedral itself. Once construction was completed, future events put on by the Women’s Auxiliary would help support the tiny six-bed hospital that would later expand into St. Luke’s Hospital, one of the largest medical networks in the state. St. Michael’s parishioners also played a pivotal role in the establishment of St. Margaret’s Girls School and its nursing program, which would later evolve into Boise State University.
The cathedral itself has a long tradition of artistic significance, as well. The building was designed by renowned New York City church architect Henry Martyn Congdon and overseen by prominent Boise-based architect John E. Tourtellotte. The exquisite architecture is highlighted by twenty-nine impressive stained-glass windows, though one set is particularly noteworthy: a towering triptych depicting the nativity designed and manufactured by Louis C. Tiffany, one of three known Tiffany windows surviving in the Northwest. These gorgeous windows were installed in 1918, and the following year saw St. Michael’s resident organist, Eugene Farner, spearheaded the inaugural Music Week, which was the first non-commercially sponsored music festival in the United States.
The Tuttle House was designed by Wayland and Fennel and built in 1907. It was built five years after St Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral in the English Gothic style. The exterior is random rock faced Boise sandstone. Since its completion, the building has been in continuous use as a centerpiece of the parish and community.
For more information please contact St Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral at (208)342-5601 and at their website here.