Swing Westward

Binder1

Join the swing the Westview.
Image from Advertisement. Idaho Statesman 8 Apr. 1973.

The ad for this Broadmoor Home, located  in Westview, was found in an April 1973 edition of the Idaho Statesman. This ad was clustered among dozens of other open house advertisements, all highlighting the perks of these new and used houses. Most of these ads  open with  the houses desirable physical attributes. “Spacious kitchen, large living room, double car garage,” are  highlighted  to entice perspective homeowners to attend the houses showing. Other ads emphasize the change in lifestyle that will come with owning your “dream” home, often including sale pitches like “stop dreaming and start living.”  A selling point that is mentioned   throughout nearly every ad is the location of this new “dream” home, and the benefits of living in this new community. This aspect is what stands out so much about this Broadmoor home ad. 

The ad begins with “Join the swing to Westview,” an effort to promote perspective residents to become a part of this new “casual elegant community” that symbolizes the style of the greater northwest region.  According to the ad, the buyer is not only buying a new home, they are renovating their lives by attaching themselves to a larger more progressive movement to the cities periphery. In looking at a much broader scale, you could easily substitute Westview for Westward, and apply it to the city of Boise during the early 70’s. During this period, many Boisians began relocating not only to this subdivision, but the cities entire western side.

Subdivisions like Westview were built throughout Boise’s west end in the early 1970’s and marked the initial steps of the city’s westward suburbanization. As more people did in fact join this swing, dozens of new subdivisions soon formed, developing the areas farmlands and dividing up its historic agriculturally based large lots. This trend was apparent throughout Boise’s entire west side, however the focus of this blog will only be on the changes to an area now known as the West Valley Neighborhood.

The advertisement mentions Westview as “Boise’s newest, most creative and imaginative new community.”  In viewing the map it becomes apparent of how the advertisement can make such a boastful claim.The subdivided land prior to 1973 is represented by the light green, and the Westview Subdivision is shown in dark blue. As you can see the area is dominated by large lots and undeveloped land.

1Pre1973

Westview subdivision compare the to area existing subdivisions in 1973.
Image created in ArcMap 10.1. Data collected from Ada County Assessor.

Though the Westview style of community was not necessarily a unique design, it could  be seen as one of the trailblazers for this type development in the general region, and definitely with in its immediate area. The trailblazing role is displayed more vividly when compared to the rapid development that has since followed.

The video below shows the West Valley Subdivision growth from 1967-2009. (Watch the full screen version of the video to see the years more clearly represented.)

In viewing the time generated animation, note that new subdivision activity was relatively stagnant from around 1915 until roughly 5 years before the Westview subdivision. For information regarding the area’s developments during this time, view From Ustick to West Valley.  Around 1967 the the West Valley region started seeing new subdivisions scattered throughout the area, dividing small portions of the larger lots into sparsely distributed new lots. Then, after 1973, the area explodes, rapidly carving up the remaining open areas into new suburban style communities. Compare the two Arial images below to see that the swing westward has definitely been realized.

WEVAll 1964


West Valley Neighborhood 1964
Image from gis.cityofboise.org

WesVal 2013

West Valley Neighborhood 2013
Image retrieved from gis.cityofboise.org

The change demonstrated in these images raises the question of to what effect did massive westward migration have on the original sense of place in this area? The Broadmoor house ad emphasizes having a FARM KITCHEN, a feature that as you can see was undoubtedly  characteristic of the area when the house was built. However, it is now difficult to say if this area still has a strong remaining tie to its agricultural past. The ad at the top of the blog displays the slogan for the Wedgewood real estate company- “The Wedgewood way of life.” Has the widespread implementation of  separate subdivisions each proclaiming to have their own “way of life,” effectively disassociated residents with the actual place? What price has the West Valley paid for this swing westward?

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