James Castle House

James Castle, b 1899- d 1977
5015 Eugene Street, Boise, ID 83703 - view on Google Maps
The James Castle House is a cultural center operated by the City of Boise, dedicated to continuing the legacy of self-taught artist James Castle. The historic home site, where Castle lived and worked for 46 years, invites visitors to explore Castle’s unique creative spaces through exhibitions, tours, a residency program, and ongoing conservation and preservation.


James Castle is one of the most unlikely and enigmatic American artists of the twentieth century. He was born in 1899 on a small farm in Garden Valley, Idaho, and lived there and in Star, Idaho during his youth, before moving to the property in Boise with his family in 1931. Castle was born deaf, and never became proficient in reading, writing, or a conventional means of communication. From an early age, he displayed a great love for drawing, spending countless hours on pencil representations of his surroundings. He continued to draw throughout his life, using it to explore and communicate the world around him, a daily practice that resulted in the creation of thousands of works of art.

The James Castle House and its two historic outbuildings play an important role in understanding the depth of James Castle’s artwork and his profound sense of place. It is where Castle spent the last 46 years of his life, living first in the historic shed and then the Cozy Cottage trailer his family purchased for him in 1962. These spaces gave Castle the privacy he needed to live and work, while allowing him to remain close to the family who cared for him throughout his life.

The site today offers visitors a unique experience of place, capturing evidence of Castle’s time on the property, along with the decades of change it has seen since. The Depression-era, American Western vernacular architecture on display in the main house and shed incorporates materials local to the time and place, and was likely built using family workmanship. While the house has been renovated since the Castle family’s time, the site retains some intact landscapes, views, and interiors, which have been rendered in thousands of Castle’s drawings and assemblages.

This is the property that became the centerpiece of Castle’s existence—a place of uninterrupted peace and solitude where he created much of the work that remains today.

Did you know...?

Castle’s favorite television show was The Red Skelton Show, a comedy program in the 1950s and 1960s known for highly physical comedy routines.


Artworks by the artist
Artifact collection