John E. Tourtellotte – the first Idaho Capitol Architect
John E. Tourtellotte, architect of the Capitol, arrived in Idaho two months after statehood was achieved. A native of Connecticut, at the age of 21 he had already worked for four years in the construction business, and he had some training in architectural drawing as well. At first, Tourtellotte worked in Boise as a contracting architect, not only designing structures, but also superintending their construction. By 1894, he had decided to concentrate on design, and nine years later he and Charles Hummel—who had been an employee of Tourtellotte’s—became partners in an architectural firm. Hummel was formally trained as an architect in Germany, and it is likely that he was the chief force behind building designs while Tourtellotte was the chief promoter of the firm’s work. By the time of the competition to design the capitol, Tourtellotte and his firm had designed dozens of structures—primarily homes, businesses, and churches—across southern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. After Tourtellotte’s death in Portland and Hummel’s in Boise in 1939, the firm continued as Hummel Architects.