Pend Oreille River - Old Town, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 11.139 W 117° 01.832
11U E 497730 N 5336935
Quick Description: In Rotary Park on the Right Bank of the Pend Oreille River in Old Town, ID are two kiosks containing no less than ten historrical markers. This one tells of the Pend Oreille River, which passes by not 100 feet from the sign.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 3/25/2015 1:57:47 PM
Waymark Code: WMNJXZ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member muddawber
Views: 1

Long Description:
Passageway Into The Wilderness

The Pend Oreille River dates back more than 20,000 years ago to the last Ice Age when enormous glaciers pushed their way through northern Idaho. As the climate warmed, the glaciers receded and backfilled the U-shaped carved valleys with melt water creating the Pend Oreille River we see today.

Aboriginal. peoples, the Lower Pend d'Oreilles Indians known today as the Kalispel, were the first to discover the Pend Oreille. The Indians not only depended upon the river for food, the river also served as a passageway. Traveling by canoes, the Indians paddled the Pend Oreille to distant hunting grounds in search of prized buffalo.

One of the first white men to discover and travel the Pend Oreille was Canadian Explorer David Thompson. Seeking a water passage to the Columbia River, Thompson canoed the Pend Oreille to explore and map northern Idaho. Not long after, the Kalispel Indians found themselves sharing the river with fur trappers, traders, and early settlers coming into northern Idaho seeking new fortunes.

During the late 1880s, the Pend Oreille River became a passageway into the wilderness. At that time, Idaho's northern forests held enormous timber wealth. Lumber towns sprang up seemingly overnight transforming the Pend Oreille into a two-lane highway. The river quickly became a vital economic engine. Steam-powered sternwheelers hauled passengers and freight as tugboats towing floating log brails steamed past heading to local sawmills.

Ferryboats ushered in the next generation of river traffic. As towns sprang up seemingly overnight, access to both sides of the river became necessary. Ferryboats provided the only cost-effective answer to bridges. One of the most prominent ferries along the river was the Newport Ferry, which began service in 1893 directly across from where you are now standing. Operating a ferry was a fulltime business. A ferryboat would average four river crossings per hour, and two at night. Although a typical crossing was only a quarter-mile long, a ferry operated all year long, logging more than 12,000 miles per year.

River travel on the Pend Oreille continued into the 1900s even though wagon roads were slowly replacing riverboats. Eventually, river travel gave way entirely as the Great Northern Railroad replaced slow moving sternwheelers and horse drawn wagons. The passageway's final chapter came to a close in 1927 with the completion of the first highway bridge across the Pend Oreille. Although the Pend Oreille today provides unlimited recreation, its legacy continues as Idaho's waterway passage that opened the Inland Northwest to settlement.
From the History Marker

Photo goes Here

Marker Name: Historic Pend Oreille River

Marker Type: City

Marker Text:
See Above

County: Bonner

City: Old Town

Date Dedicated: 2008

Group Responsible for Placement: The Rotarians

Web link(s) for additional information:

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
In your log, please say if you learned something new, and if you took any extra time to explore the area once you stopped at the historic marker waymark. If possible please post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Idaho history please include that in your log.

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