111 Year Old Boise Business Closing Up Shop
Monday's going-out-of-business sale came as a surprise to generations of patrons that visited the shop. By Wednesday, Hannifin's Cigar Store will close for good.
According to the Idaho Statesman, the business, which has operated at the corner of 11th and Main since 1908 is closing due to rising rent. Current owner, Stan Minder, tells the newspaper that he just can't afford the rent California based Sumner Trust of Lafayette is asking him for.
The cigar store has been known for far more than just a place where generations of people shopped for unique cigars and tobacco products. It's also one of the rumored entrance points to the network of "Chinese tunnels" that some people believe are hidden beneath Downtown Boise. Boise used to have a booming Chinese population in the 1870s, most of which were men. According to a post on The Blue Review, that's because federal laws prevented Chinese women from entering the county. The Gem state's anti-miscengenation law also kept them from marrying caucasian women and having children with them. Needless to say, Boise wasn't quite so welcoming to the Chinese in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
That's why the rumors of tunnels beneath Boise's Old Chinatown grew so rampant. People believed that the Chinese moved around under the city and used the tunnels as opium dens, a way to smuggle merchandise or a place to gamble.
According to a post by admin Bryan Lee McKee of the "Boise & The Treasure Valley History" Facebook group, the tunnels when from the Hannifin's to the Ada Theatre. When he spoke to the owner in 2015, he said he told him about a police officer that would walk through the tunnels during his shift back in the 1940s. Part of his beat was making sure that no one was down in the tunnels and he would often bring the owner a bag of popcorn from the Ada Theatre (now known as The Egyptian.)
Some people (like my husband) like to believe the tunnels don't exist. I believe they do. I'd venture to guess that Stan Minder might too.
Our friend Don at Boise Dev, who originally reported Hannifin's going-out-of-business sale, also shared some ghost stories connected to the 111 year old business.
We're sad to see such a historic business close its doors for good. Thank you Stan for keeping Hannifin's charm alive for the eleven years you were at the helm.