Idaho has dozens of odd, unique, and artistic residential houses, but few are able to be enjoyed or appreciated up close and personal without the term “trespassing” being tossed around. But this radical, eclectic shop/home in Idaho City has been a landmark and tourist favorite for decades, and has a heartwarming story to go with it. Check it out!
Welcome to the Sluice Box.
Where that old saying about "another man's treasure" is actually the life's work of one couple with big dreams in small-town Idaho.
To quote a fellow writer, "It looks as though someone coated a normal two-story house in super glue, then dumped the contents of a well-stocked second-hand store on top of it. And then left it to rust and age for twenty years."
This second-hand and antique shop in Idaho City was hand-built by one man: Larry Carter.
Larry was the master builder and visionary. Wife Ruthie is the antiques expert.
The massive inventory of unique objects was collected partly through travels across the Northwest.
But this eclectic Idaho landmark also has quite the story to tell.
The store originally opened in the 1970s in downtown Idaho City, where it quickly gained popularity as a treasure trove for antique lovers. Ruthie and Larry Carter relocated the shop into a late 1800s building where it stayed until it was caught fire in 1996. From there, despite numerous health concerns, Larry rebuilt the store from the ground up and filled it to the brim with collectibles, trinkets, and funky decor.
Windmills, vintage signs, country decor...
And so much more.
The store consists of a maze of rooms and display cases all framed in genuine, reclaimed barn wood. There are custom built-ins, unique photos planted within the barn wood knotholes, and numerous other finds that you won't see anywhere else. inside there are also hidden rooms and stairways, balconies, screened porches, hallways and at least one 'official' bedroom amidst the rooms on top of the unique store below.
There is also a small, overgrown garden nearby where nature is reclaiming Larry's treasures in stunning feats of beauty, just the way he would have liked it.
Visitors often wonder if the massive shop, with its ever-evolving and winding interior, is haunted. Larry would say, "I hope so."
Before his passing, Larry built towering eves, curved stairways, false rooms and a wide array of windowed lookouts on top of his masterpiece. As a young man, Larry became interested in tales of ghosts and supernatural stories -- and while no reports of hauntings have been recorded, reportedly the tower that crowns the building maintained a permanent "open invitation" to any wandering, otherworldly souls.
Sadly, the store was recently sold in 2014.
But this beautifully rustic homage to one man's passion remains standing and at last report, will be reopening soon.
One of the wonderful things about Idaho is that our landscape and towns have such phenomenal history, made personal with stories such as this. You can see more photos of this quaint antique shop on the
Sluice Box’s Facebook page as well.