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Dark Destinations > Locations - H > Hannifin's Cigar Store

Hannifin's Cigar Store Other destinations within a
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Availability: Open to the Public
Filed Under: Mythology/Folklore > Urban Legends
Paranormal Hot Spots
Added By: TheCabinet
Added On: October 18, 2010 - 11:27 PM UTC
Last Modified: October 23, 2010 - 12:40 AM UTC
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1024 W Main St, Boise, ID 83702, USA (Boise, Idaho)
Hannifin's Cigar Store
This shop has been a mainstay of the historic downtown of Boise, Idaho for over a century and has its stories of ghostly activity and underground tunnels to prove it. The building dates back to 1908, but the business actually goes back even further. The tobacco specialty shop was originally opened a few blocks over near the intersection of 8th and Bannock in 1904 and was owned by a French immigrant by the name of Edmund Salmon. Shortly before it moved to its current location, Salmon hired a young citizen of Boise by the name of John Hannifin. That boy would later buy the store from Salmon in 1921 and Hannifin's Cigar Store was born.

John Hannifin would run the store for many more years, working alongside his brother Lawrence. The duo maintained Salmon's tradition of stocking countless brands of cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobacco - estimated as high as 140 different brands. By the 1960s, they introduced a new element to the store, which would also become part of the tradition and lore of Hannifin's Cigar Store - adult magazines. According to some reports, the collection included other types of magazines and newspapers and was the largest assortment available in the state of Idaho, but it was the adult magazines that grew the reputation. The current owner, Robert Guerrero, decided to scrap the collection in 2006 because they were no longer profitable and introduced beverages and basic grocery needs, but has noted that people still stop by looking for them and express disappointment to find that they are no longer stocked there.

Guerrero is just the latest in an apparently long line of owners over its history. In fact, Guerrero bought the establishment from his brother, Jason, in 2006. Although the shop is no longer in the Hannifin family and has not been for some time, the name has become something of an institution for the citizens of Boise and is not going anywhere. Neither are its stories of underground tunnels and its ghostly resident.

The Underground Tunnels
Stories about tunnels underground the historic district of downtown Boise have existed since the early 1900s. At one point in its history, Boise was said to have the largest Chinatown outside of San Francisco due to its Chinese immigrants that came to work the mines. Word soon spread throughout the citizens of Boise that the Chinese had begun to dig underground tunnels throughout the old Chinatown district to smuggle merchandise between buildings, gamble, and create even a few opium dens. Even more nefarious were the rumors that the Chinese would come up through the manholes at night and rob passing citizens, only to escape undetected through the underground.

Although historians have long shot down rumors of underground tunnels in downtown Boise (see Egyptian Theatre, Boise, ID), the legend persists. Multiple buildings have even been named as potential entry-points into the underground world. Hannifin's Cigar Store is one such place. In fact, in a 2008 interview with Boise Weekly, Guerrero seemed to add credence to the rumors by saying, "If you go underneath this store, you can see parts of the foundation that have been bricked up, and it's not original. So you wonder if those are bricked-off entrances to these tunnels that exist under the city."

The Ghost of Raymond Snowden
The ghost story of Hannifin's Cigar Store actually begins on September 23, 1956. It was on that night that a man by the name of Raymond Snowden brutally murdered Cora Dean in Garden City, which is across the Boise River from the downtown area. Shortly after the murder, staff members of Hannifin's reported seeing Snowden rush into the shop and head to the bathroom. Snowden was later picked up for the crime after reportedly threatening to do to a former girlfriend what was done to Dean. Detectives soon arrived at Hannifin's to search for clues. They found what they were looking for in the form of a two-and-a-half-inch pocketknife they believed to be the murder weapon discarded in a gutter in front of the store. Armed with this evidence, Snowden was convicted and executed at the nearby Old Idaho Penitentiary (see Old Idaho Penitentiary). The savageness of the crime led one detective writer to dub Snowden, "Idaho's Jack the Ripper."

Staff and patrons of Hannifin's Cigar Store have reported hearing disembodied footsteps that cross the floor from the potbellied wood stove (once housed in the city's first courthouse but later moved to Hannifin's and became a fixture in the store) and head to the bathroom. Yet others have reported seeing a shadow in the shape of a man stalking through the store. The origins of this ghostly presence have been attributed to Snowden (who is also said to haunt the prison where he was hung) returning to the shop where he discarded the murder weapon at so many years ago.

In the same interview with Boise Weekly mentioned above, Guerrero discussed his own encounter: "I've experienced it once. So did my brother and others who have worked here. I was working late one night and heard footsteps walking between the stove and the bathroom, but there was no one there. I've never believed in those kind of things, but it was eerie. It made my hair stand on end."

The Store Today
Hannifin's Cigar Store still operates in downtown Boise to this day. The business is a popular tradition in the city and Guerrero has estimated that 80 to 85 percent of their customers are regulars and repeat customers. It seems as much as Hannifin's has embraced its role in downtown Boise, the city has embraced Hannifin's in return. The store does not have a Web site, but the store can be found at the corner of Main and 11th in the historic downtown district.
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Mural at Hannifin's Cigar Store
Photo of the mural on the side of Hannifin's Cigar Store in downtown Boise, Idaho in September 2010
From: TheCabinet
Front Entrance to Hannifin's Cigar Store
Photo of the front entrance of Hannifin's Cigar Store in downtown Boise, Idaho - September 2010.
From: TheCabinet
Old Idaho Penitentiary: Raymond Snowden
Mugshot of "Idaho's Jack the Ripper," Raymond Snowden, at Old Idaho State Penitentiary - 09/10.
From: TheCabinet
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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