There is an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or earlier, demonstrating the popularity of preserving these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come at a cost: many old homes come with asbestos, lead pipes, knot-and-tube wiring, and other outdated architectural styles that can come with a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized antebellum homes hitting the market, usually just outside the bustling downtown subways, investing in real estate that has stood the test of time is an attractive prospect.
Stacker has compiled a list of Idaho counties with the oldest homes using data from the US Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to the 5-year estimates for 2020. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.
The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once shrewdly noted, “the pain home is alive in all of us,” a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.
Modest or regal, there is no shortage of notable homes in the U.S. Log cabins built by industrious pioneers have scattered the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes dubbed “Robber Barons” by the so-called “Robber Barons” in the late 1800s gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.
The ravages of time have spared neither the opulent nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively expensive to maintain in modern times, were often neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural conservation experts and local historical societies saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inscription on the National Register of Historic Places and keeping them safe for generations to come.
Keep reading to learn about which counties in Idaho have the oldest homes.