Oral Interviews

Long-time Vista Neighborhood residents provide the following “snapshots” of life in Vista back when . . .


“…When we bought our ground at Shoshone and Nez Perce, it was a wheat field…”

– Conversation with Pauline (Wittlake) Hartman – May 1996.


“…They were delivering mail twice a day when I came to Boise in 1943…”

– Conversation with Jean Hartman – May 1996.


“…John Jordan was the motorman on the Boise Rapid Transit Streetcar line. The line came out Nez Perce and went on over to where Nez Perce hits the Rim on old Highway 30 (now Federal Way), then it dropped down the hill into South Boise. John talked about how, when they’d get to the hill, they’d turn it loose and let it fly down the hill….”

– Conversation with Gordon Hartman – May 1996.


“…In 1890, when Grandmother Masoner came to Boise, she got off the train there in about a foot of dust…. the City of Boise then built another depot downtown at 10th and Front, then in 1925 they raised $250,000 to build the present train depot….”

– A conversation between Gordon Hartman and his daughter, Sandy Dickerson – May 1996.


“…The social thing was to get together to fix food to share and to help someone out. Everyone had a garden. They were never bored; they were always busy…”

– Conversation with Verona Vargason – May 1996. Note: Verona has lived on Vista Avenue since

July 1937.


“…There were no telephones in houses, but there was one at the grocery store. We didn’t get a phone until after the war…”

– Conversation with Verona Vargason – May 1996.


“…They used to have what they called ”half houses.” They would build a house, haul it out here, and sit it on a lot. The roof would go one way to a peak. Then later you could get the other half and put it alongside it…”

– Conversation with Gordon Hartman – May 1996.


“…The fire station for the Whitney Township used to be located at the northeast corner of Nez Perce and Vista….”

– Conversation with Gordon Hartman, May 1996.


“…In 1940 we bought a house at 1800 Hervey (on the corner of Nez Perce and Hervey). We paid $1,000 for the lot and the house. It had a tarpaper roof on it . . . it had a pretty nice little kitchen in it with white cabinets and a sink with running water. You’d even have hot water if you built a fire in the stove. There was no bathroom—we had a privy out in the back…”

– Conversation with Gordon Hartman – May 1996.


“…Back in those years, if we wanted to call anybody, we had to go downtown and get into a phone booth and have a bunch of change with you…”

– Conversation with Gordon Hartman – May 1996.


“…In the 1930’s, you could always hear someone driving nails, building something. Vista was a dirt road—there wasn’t much traffic on it, and it didn’t go out very far. Gowen Field wasn’t out there; it wasn’t built up until during the war. The war was something. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, we were putting siding on the north side of our house—our neighbor came over and told us. The traffic on Vista really started then. Vehicles went up and down the road to Gowen Field day and night….

– Unattributed – May 1996

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