History Podcasts

Bonnersferry - History

Bonnersferry - History



Bonnersferry


Museum Musings: Origins of the County Fair By: Gini Woodward One of the oldest county events is replaying this week, the Boundary County Fair. True to the tradition, it is “Where We Gather,” and have for nearly one hundred

The story of the Tilly Mine is a favorite with the locals of Boundary County. Bernt William Tilly born May 24, 1906 in Farstorp, Sweden, had three brothers and three sisters. While his siblings, all married with children, remained in


Summer is here, which means Boundary County Parks and Rec has two more sports programs for area kids to particip.

Summer sports camps
Parks and Rec offers soccer and tennis programs

Summer is here, which means Boundary County Parks and Rec has two more sports programs for area kids to participate in.

Wrestling team brings home hardware, ready for nationals

State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling tournament held May 8 and 9, Bonners Ferry’s wrestling team brought home plenty of hardware.

Summer sports camps
Mirror Lake ladies league golf results

Mirror Lake ladies league golf results

Mirror Lake ladies league golf results

Mirror Lake ladies league golf results

All league student athletes

"Congratulations to the players and families on a job well done. It is great to see hard work and dedication pay off. Coaches, thank you for a great year an.

Badger baseball ends at state tournament

Badger baseball season came back strong after a year with no spring season in 2020 because of COVID-19 disruptions to high school sports. However, even after.

Boys, girls performed great at state, Henslee takes home hardware

Charles Henslee takes first place for the 1600-meter run at the 3A state championships, bringing back some hardware for the Badgers.

Bonners Ferry gun club news

The trap club is now open to all trap shooters at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. New, experienced, youth and the “over-the-hill gang” all are welcome and coaching is.

BRIEF: Pitching and basball lessons

BRIEF: Pitching and basball lessons

BFHS sports schedule 05/20 - 05/26

BFHS sports schedule 05/20 - 05/26

Girls golf makes history, becomes state champions

Girls golf team takes first place on both days of the state competition at Twin Lakes golf course, winning the 3A state championship and bringing home some h.


City of Bonners Ferry

The Adventures of Jon & Chad- Discover Boundary County and Bonners Ferry. This 12 minute video follows Jon and Chad as they discover what makes Boundary County and Bonners Ferry a desirable place to visit!

How to participate in City Council meetings:

Meetings on Tuesdays, Twice Monthly – 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

City Council Agenda and Minutes

City Maps

Billing Document Specialists

Welcome to the City of Bonners Ferry!

Bonners Ferry grew out of a river crossing for prospectors heading to gold discoveries in Canada in the 1860’s. It is the county seat of Boundary County, with a population of about 2,500 of Idaho’s friendliest people. The quaint downtown has been revitalized with pedestrian friendly street upgrades, improved parking, and a new visitors center. It is a city that respects its past and is proactive towards the future.

The county is bisected by the Kootenai River, a major tributary of the Columbia River. The river’s course between two great mountain ranges created the resource rich valley that was the ancestral home of the Kootenai Tribe. Today, this great floodplain is an agricultural gem, growing such diverse crops as hops, wheat, canola and nursery trees. Forested mountains lie beyond the river valley, giving our county its unique picturesque beauty. Lumber and related forest products have been the mainstay of the economy since the settlement of the area. The additional benefits from the National Forest lands include camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing and snowmobiling. The recreational opportunities in our county are limitless.

We look forward to seeing you in Bonners Ferry. Our home is your home and we hope you will stay awhile. If you have any questions, please call 208-267-3105.

We look forward to seeing you in Bonners Ferry. Our home is your home and we hope you will stay awhile. If you have any questions, please call 208-267-3105.


Contents

The Kootenai Reservation was first established in 1896. After subsequent land loss, the reservation was re-established in 1974. [5] The reservation is 2,695 acres (4.2 sq mi 10.9 km 2 ) in Boundary County, along U.S. Route 95. [1]

The tribe's headquarters is in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The tribe is governed by a democratically elected, nine-member tribal council. The current administration is as follows:

  • Chairman: Gary FX Aitken Jr. [6]
  • Jennifer Porter
  • Amethyst Aitken
  • Ronald Abraham
  • Diane David
  • Middle Row: Duane E. Saunders
  • Louie Abraham
  • Velma Bahe
  • Kim Cooper. [7]

Traditionally, Kootenai people have spoken the Kutenai language, a language isolate. It has a dictionary and grammar and is written in the Latin script. [2]

The Kootenai people lived along the Kootenai River in Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. They were hunter-gatherers, and salmon was an important staple to their diets. They have permanent winter villages of cone-shaped houses made from wooden poles and rush mats. [1]

In 1855 the tribe refused to sign a treaty with the US government that would require them to cede their aboriginal lands in Idaho and consolidate with several other smaller tribes in Montana. The Dawes Act broke up tribal land holdings into individual allotments. [1] Due to illegal land loss, the tribe was awarded $425,000 in a land claims settlement in 1960. [5]

On September 20, 1974, the 67 members of the Kootenai Tribe formally declared war on the United States, seeking federal recognition. [8] [9] [10] [11] Initial demands were for a 128,000-acre (200 sq mi 520 km 2 ) reservation and compensation for 1,600,000 acres (2,500 sq mi 6,470 km 2 ) of ancestral lands. [12] They did not engage in violence, and, by calling attention to their situation, the tribe was deeded 12.5 acres (5.1 ha) of federal land surrounding the former mission in Bonners Ferry. [1] [13] It was enacted by S. 634, signed by President Gerald Ford in October. [14]

Since 1986, the Kootenai Tribe has owned and operated the Kootenai River Inn in Bonners Ferry. It is now the Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa, also has the Springs Restaurant, Casino Deli, the Kootenai Day Spa, and gift shop. [1] [15]

Reservation industries include timber, tourism, and selling sand and gravel. The tribe also owns a sturgeon hatchery. [1]


Welcome To The Boundary County Historical Society

Small Towns, Big Dreams takes the reader on a journey to the towns created along the waterways, roadways, and . . .

When in downtown Bonners Ferry, visit the Museum to see original artifacts, period rooms, exhibits, and displays designed to present the history of North Idaho and the indigenous Kootenai people.

“The purpose of the Boundary County Historical Society shall be to bring together persons interested in the history of Boundary County to promote further interest in the heritage of this area to gather information, objects, and materials relative to its history and development and to carry on educational programs concerning this region.
The Society will manage and operate any real or personal property in the form of a public museum.”

Our Historical Society

The dream of having a historical soci­ety began in 1895 when historians col­lected the words of the old pioneers. Read More about “Boundary County Historical Society” &hellip

Education

Learn more about school tours, lesson plans and interactive experiences for history buffs of all ages. Read More about “Education Projects” &hellip

Experience

Experience Our Exhibits! – Once today becomes yesterday, it also becomes history Read More about “Experience Our Exhibits” &hellip

Get Involved

Get involved with your museum, Volunteering or donating are wonderful ways to support the community and the Museum. Read More about “Get Involved” &hellip

Events

Be sure and mark your calendar with these Events happening at the Boundary County Historical Museum. Read More about “Upcoming Events” &hellip

Research Library

The Historical Society welcomes the use of the archives room by researchers. Read More about “Research Library” &hellip

About Us

Find Us

Boundary County Historical Society & Museum

7229 Main Street
PO Box 808
Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805
208-267-7720 [email protected]

New Hours
Thursday—Saturday: 10:00AM–3:00PM

$2 per visitor or $5 per family
BCHS members and those 14 yrs old and under are free

Upcoming Event!

The regular monthly meeting of the Boundary County Historical Society Board of Trustees is scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum. Note that times, and dates may change.

Come on Down!

What are you waiting for? Come on down to the Museum and see what has changed! It is no longer the one room you remember, it is three rooms full of excitement! New things to see every day because once today becomes yesterday it also becomes history.

White Caribou Gift Shop

To help support our Museum
we maintain a small gift shop.

Click HERE to see our White Caribou Gift Shop Page and see some of what we have to offer!


Quick Links

Telephone | (208) 267-3141
Medical Records Fax | (208) 267-6352
Radiology Fax | (208) 267-7167
Laboratory Fax | (208) 267-4201
Rehabilitation Fax | (208) 267-1747
BC Clinic Fax | (208) 267-3757
Email | [email protected]

Visiting Hours
24 Hours a Day – 7 Days a Week
Visitor parking is on Kaniksu Street. Be sure to check in at the Nurse’s Station when you arrive and depart.

Careers at Boundary Community Hospital

Featured Department

Environmental Services

The Environmental Service team is the backbone of the hospital. They are responsible for ensuring all areas are clean and sanitized using regulated housekeeping and infection prevention methods. They serve the whole hospital and nursing home as well as our ancillary buildings. Without this team, we could not provide service to the community.

Featured Position

Housekeeper

The Housekeeper is responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing areas of the hospital. They are also responsible for the general appearance of their scheduled area.


A History of Idaho Logging

Logging arrived in America with the early settlers of Jamestown in 1607. It was an essential staple for life and survival in during this time, not only as a job, but as a way to build and heat homes.

By the end of the 18th century, New England was exporting 36 million feet of pine boards each year. And it wasn’t long after that, that Bangor, Maine, became the world’s biggest lumber shipping port (1830s). In the latter part of the 19th century, the Great Lakes region was the primary lumber market in the United States. However, logging company owners knew that the area would be cut out by the beginning of the new century, so they started looking to the south and the northwest. Some loggers believed they would deplete the woods in the southern United States in 25 years and have to move on to Northern Idaho. (This was not to be the case however, as tree stands in the south grew back faster than loggers could harvest. Many logging companies stayed in the south.)

Less than a hundred years later, the logging center of the United States shifted from the East Coast to the Northwest because forests were being depleted in the east. By 1910, Idaho was producing and distributing 745 million board feet annually.

The United States is still the leading producer of lumber in the world, although the lumber business has become more controversial. Logging is still considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

Lumberjacks go to World War I

The United States joined World War I in April 1917. Upon arriving in France, General John Pershing realized that troops had a need for timber and lumber in order to build barracks, railroads, make-shift hospitals, bunkers, and trench support. However, the military could not spare any of their troops to construct these essentials, and many of the troops they had had no knowledge of logging.

Because of this predicament, General Pershing decided to put together “a regiment of experienced loggers and sawmill men” this regiment would produce the lumber the military needed to perform effectively. The U.S. Forest Service went to work recruiting men for the 20th Engineer Regiment, which at its largest had 20,000 men working 107 sawmills across France.

Northern Idaho supplied a large portion of the men in the 20th Regiment. The response to newspaper ads was overwhelming. By June 1919, the men of the 20th regiment had returned home to resume work in the forests, including the men of Northern Idaho.

General Idaho Logging

At the turn of the 20th century, forest resources surpassed mining in economic importance, but Idaho’s timber statute made it difficult for companies to acquire land for logging farms. The statute had been created to help individuals acquire family-sized farms the general theory was that a family would have a 640-acre forest to harvest and process. These 640 acres were supposed to last a generation, with new growth for the next generation. But this didn’t pan out a stand of trees was harvested long before another stand could mature.

To solve this problem, some creative attorneys figured out a way to consolidate these farms in order to make a commercial forest products industry around Boise. The attorneys were successful, and large sawmill operations sprang up around Boise and Coeur d’Alene anticipating a demand for high quality white pine in millions of board feet. Unfortunately, when the Panama Canal opened, lumber on the Pacific Coast had easier transportation to the east, and North Idaho’s lumber potential was not easily realized. Pacific Coast lumber arrived on the east coast and traveled as far inland as Cleveland, leaving a small market for Idaho lumber.

Another hit for the Idaho logging market came with the establishment of the Boise National Forest (1906), which protected these forested lands from commercial logging. Personal use fuelwood permits can be purchased to cut wood in this area.

Boise Logging

The city of Boise was founded in 1863, one and half years later (December 1864) there were two sawmills operating near Boise. Sawmills were considered an economic asset to the Boise community, even before the end of the mining era (lumber was required for sluice boxes, flumes, and mine support).

One early sawmill was located across from the Old Penitentiary on Warm Springs Ave. It was operated under various owners from the early 1870s to 1924.

The mining towns around Boise supported a large lumber market, particularly in towns like Idaho City, Placerville, Centerville, Atlanta, etc, but the mountainous terrain, and lack of railroads made lumber transportation outside of the mountains difficult.

Lumber companies soon realized that commercial lumbering couldn’t develop in the Boise forests without adequate rail transportation. The Barber Mill, located six miles north of Boise, played a huge role in the development of a lumber railroad.

Intermountain Railway and Barber Mill

Frank Steunenberg, former Idaho governor started a project at the turn of the century to bring Wisconsin and Minnesota lumbermen over to Boise forests. Steunenberg attracted the attention of Barber Lumber Company (Wisconsin) bought 25,000 acres north of Boise, along Grime’s and More’s creeks, in 1902. Construction on Barber Dam and Sawmill began in 1904 and was completed in 1905. But only a year later, in 1906, Barber realized they would need a railroad to transport logs.

The company had originally intended to transport the logs with log drives down More’s and Grime’s creeks, but they soon realized the creeks would not support log drives. Silt from earlier upstream mining threatened to fill and clog the log pond during high water, the only practical time to have a log drive.

Another obstacle for the Barber Lumber Company came when the company attempted to buy more forest acreage to supplement the land they already owned. The State Land Board wouldn’t sell the land for less than $150,000 per 12,000 acres (an outrageous price at the time).

A combination of issues contributed to Barber Mill shutting its doors in 1908, but the Barber Lumber Company didn’t give up. They kept pushing for the construction of the Intermountain Railway and a lower price on the land they wanted to purchase.

Four years later, in 1912, the Barber litigation was solved, and the United States Reclamation Service started construction on a rail line (a third of the way to Centerville from Boise). Around the same time, the State Land Board offered to sell Barber the timber they wanted for $100,000 (but not the land). Further arguments took the case to the Idaho Supreme Court, where the sale of timber AND land was upheld, as long as the Barber Company would build a rail line, enhancing the value of the other state lands. Barber Mill reopened in 1912.

In 1914, plans to construct the Intermountain Railway began and the Barber Lumber Company merged with the Payette Lumber and Manufacturing Company becoming the Boise Payette Lumber Co.

The Intermountain Railway was built from just north of Boise to New Centerville, following the Boise River, Grime’s Creek, and More’s Creek. The total cost of construction was $1,037,499, equal to $24,725,261 today. During construction of the rail line, four logging spurs (dirt roads) were built to assist lumber companies in log transportation.

With the completion of the Intermountain Railway, the Boise Payette Company saw a huge boost in profits and remained profitable throughout the 1920s. However, early in the 1930s, as the market became depressed, the company started taking huge losses, which led to the closing of Barber Mill in 1934, it was never reopened. The Intermountain Railway service was suspended in the 30s as well and later was replaced by Highway 21 (Boise to Idaho City).

The Boise Payette company saw many ups and downs in the market and went through a series of mergers, becoming Boise-Cascade in 1957. Boise-Cascade is one of the largest lumber corporations in Idaho today.

Northern Idaho Logging

The history of logging in Northern Idaho stretches back to 1880, when Robert Weeks opened a general store. He had several other business ventures, one being a sawmill that failed financially. Around the same time (early 1880s), other small mills sprang up around Rathdrum, just north of Coeur d’Alene. In the next twenty years, the industry grew dramatically in the North, with 20 mills between Harrison and Bonners Ferry by the early 1900s.

Lumber production rose and fell during the early 20th century. At its highest point, in 1926, the ten counties of Northern Idaho produced 950,000,000 board feet of timber, dipping down to 200,000,000 in 1932.

Even today, many of the men working in the woods are following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers. In the first half of the 20th century, logging was one of the few ways to make a decent living in North Idaho.

Humbird Lumber Company

Humbird Lumber Company bought the Sandpoint Lumber Company on December 21, 1900. The North was plagued by enormous fires in the early 20th century, including one in 1907, that forced the Humbird Mill to close down for seven months. When it reopened, the mill employed 500 men and had a cutting capacity of 180,000 board feet every 24 hours. (A board foot is “a specialized unit of measure” referring to the “volume of a one foot length of board: one foot wide and one inch thick.” (Wikipedia))

Kootenai was also developed because of Humbird Lumber Company. The company bought a sawmill in Kootenai in 1903. This was the first year that the forest became known as “the greatest source of wealth” for the area (History of Bonner County) - the forest is still considered the greatest source of wealth in the area. The Kootenai and Sandpoint Mill were connected by railroad.

The Humbird Lumber Co. possessed 200,000 acres of timberland across Boundary and Kootenai counties. The company constructed railways up several creeks to transport logs into town. Rapid Lightning Road (Sandpoint) was one of the former railroad beds used by Humbird.

By 1925, Humbird employed an average of 1,300 men, providing a big chunk of employment for the area. However, the Sandpoint Mill was forced to close its doors in the early 30s due to the widespread depression.

Laclede and Dover Mills

In Laclede (1909), Albert C. White arrived from Michigan where the forests had been depleted. He bought the Laclede Mill from Andrew Christianson. The mill burned down in 1922, so White bought the Dover Lumber Co. Mill and moved the standing buildings from Laclede to the Dover Mill. The Dover Mill closed in 1928.

Sandpoint was known as the largest shipper of cedar poles and pilings in the Northwest, and North Idaho provided much of the central United States with lumber. Even with the major fires of 1910 and 1919 - which destroyed tons of timber acreage - there was still an abundant supply of timber to harvest and sell. (The 1910 fire was known as the largest conflagration in U.S. history.)

Visitors to Sandpoint could tell immediately that it was a timber town. Lumberjacks were picked out from the crowd by the way they dressed: wearing flannel over long underwear with logging jeans and suspenders. Logging trucks pulling two-wheel, single axle trailers loaded with logs drove through the town or stopped at the landing site where logs were loaded onto boxcars.

Coeur d’Alene

This region is very steep, so loggers had to cut down trees and transport logs up the hill to a log deck and load them onto some type of transporter: river/road/railway.

By the 1920s, there were more than 20 logging railroad systems in the mountains around Coeur d’Alene, the largest was Burnt Cabin Creek Railroad.

Coeur d’Alene was also a major site for flumes. There were 35 flume projects in the area adding up to 150 miles of transport.

The Clearwater Timber Company - now known as Potlatch Corporation - opened a mill in 1927. It was the largest white pine mill in the world.

The Clearwater River Log Drive began a year later and ran from 1928 to 1971. The Log Drive incorporated a 90 mile stretch from North Fork to Lewiston - where the Clearwater River joins the Snake River.

The Lewiston Mill received half of its timber through rail lines and half by river until 1971 when the Dworshak Dam was completed, cutting off access from North Fork to Lewiston.

The Clearwater Log Drives lasted around 21 days from the time the crew went to work chopping trees to the time the logs were unloaded in Lewiston. Drives usually took place in the early spring when melting snows began filling the rivers.

Rivermen followed the logs downstream un-snagging them from river banks and sandbars. The first year, men camped along river edges. After that year, the rivermen used cedar rafts with a cookhouse and bunkhouse on top to follow the logs down the river. Later still rubber pontoons were used to carry a cookhouse and two bunkhouses. These floating camps were called wanigans.

These workers would have to jump onto log jams to split them up. They used special shoes called caulk (“cork”) boots that had thick rubber soles and spikes called caulks that helped them keep their balance on the logs.

Each log drive had millions of board feet and workers worked 15 hours a day to keep logs flowing down the river. Twelve foot pike poles were used to prod and pull the logs out of snags and sometimes dynamite was used to break up jams.

Bateaus, river boats, were also used to carry men down the river to break up log jams. Motorized metal boats were later used as bateaus. Men on the boats were known as river pigs.

The St. Maries area was an important white pine logging area. Extensive settlement began in the 1880s with homesteading and sawmill building. The lumber industry is still an important part of this area.

Boundary County

Back in 1957, nearly 38 percent of the county workforce worked in the timber industry. Today, 15 to 20 percent of the county workforce is employed by sawmills and other forestry jobs.

Logging Equipment/Transportation

In the early days of the logging industry, trees were cut near waterways, so the logs could be transported downstream to the mill (log drives). For inland harvesting, horses and oxen were used to haul lumber, dragging logs through the woods. Chutes were particularly useful during the time of horse/oxen transportation. These were made by creating grooves in snow, ice or dirt logs were placed in the grooves for smoother transportation (especially helpful if at a slight decline).

Another method used to transport logs from the hills to the nearest waterway, were log flumes. These were water filled V-shaped troughs that relied on gravity and the swiftness of water to carry the logs from one place to another. Destination was often a river or pond but could also empty onto metal rollers that moved the logs to a loading platform for railroad cars.

A flume had three stations: the first required logging crew fed logs onto the flume, the second was at various stages along the flume where jams could occur (runners watched for jams), and the third stations required laborers to unload logs at the end of the flume. Jams on the flume could be very dangerous and costly to fix, especially if the flumes broke. One way to avoid jams was to open the flume dam (top of flume usually fed from a pond) and let water run through for half an hour at least.

The number one thing that caused problems with flumes was not having enough water or fast enough water running down. Logs that outran the water could cause overflows and severe jams.

Axes and handsaws were used to chop down trees, while wood or iron wedges were used to help guide the tree as it fell. Two man hand saws were used to cut down thick trees, often taking the loggers all day to saw through, fell, and split into transportable logs. They also had to look out for pitch seams on the tree pitch would dull the saw and slow down the felling process dramatically. Diesel or kerosene was used to dissolve the pitch on the saw.

Loggers had to be very aware of their surroundings to avoid getting smashed by a falling tree.

Logging technology advanced, giving way to chainsaws and harvesting machines that made the process go much faster. The first motorized saws entered the logging world in the 1940s but these machines were heavy and less efficient than the crosscut. The first one-man saw arrived in 1948, it weighed 60 pounds, whereas professional-size chainsaws today weigh between 15 and 25 pounds.

The invention of the feller-buncher sped up the process even more. A feller-buncher can reach into a stand, grip a tree and fell it in one motion. A forwarder cuts the tree down and de-limbs it right there.

Fun Flume Fact: There are accounts of fugitives using log flumes to outrun officials. These daredevils would either ride logs down the flume or try to hide beneath the rushing water to escape notice.

Lumbermen/Lumberjacks and the Industrial Workers of the World

Lumbermen, AKA Lumberjacks, were made up of a range of men (and women). There were orphaned teenage boys, married men, aging men without families, and a whole host of others. These men made the logging camps, sometimes called “rag camps,” their homes, and their fellow loggers became family. Even the loggers who had families spent Sunday night through Saturday evening at the camps from April to October.

These camps were often located along a river where logs could be transported by log drive. The lumber industry was thriving at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, but some men still needed to travel to find work - they would carry their bedrolls, called bindles, with them as they hopped freight trains between Northern Idaho and Spokane, Washington. It was a tough business traveling men would “buy” jobs from an employment agency and show up at a work camp with their job slip only to find that the same job had been sold to a handful of other men.

To help combat the issues individual workers faced, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union was formed in 1905. Its purpose was to organize workers into a big union by industry (ie. logging) instead of by specific craft or trade. The leather-bound booklet of the IWW was a ticket for loggers they could get a free meal in a hobo camp and a freight ride, as well as instant friendship with other members of the IWW. But management in the logging camps and companies weren’t fond of the union, and being a known member of the IWW could get a man blacklisted in a camp.

Members of the IWW were known as “wobblies”. They would organize meetings with other workers in the camps, listening to grievances and voting to elect representatives. Representatives would present the grievances to the bosses, and if they were ignored strikes would be organized. One of the biggest complaints was the bed-bug ridden bunks some strikes included burning of bedrolls to make a point. If a company was really terrible, workers would slow their work on site and ruin equipment.

Perspective on life in the logging camps: Lumbermen slept in crowded bunk houses often with three-tired “shot gun” beds, entered feet first. These were made with rough boards and no mattresses (workers had to supply their own bed rolls). Work days lasted for 10+ hours and workers were paid $3.25 for a 10-hour day. Workers had to pay $1.25 a day for board and $.50 for oil to douse bunks and bunk walls, in an attempt to get rid of lice, bed bugs, and other filth. Some camps had good food, but others gave people food poisoning and dysentery. Add this to a lack of bathing and laundry facilities and you can imagine how quickly disease spread.

The IWW played a large role in the logging industry of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington in the early 20th century. In the spring of 1917, the lumberjacks and millworkers in Northern Idaho, joined a strike of 50,000 Pacific Northwest woods-workers led by IWW. They demanded 8-hour work days, Sundays off, clean bunks and cook shacks, toilets and laundry rooms, medical care, and no blacklisting of union men. This strike paralyzed the timber industry for several months. Many who were involved in the strike got arrested and there was a movement to shut down the IWW. However, Idaho Senator Borah, a notable figure known for his oratorical skills and isolationist views, said, “You cannot destroy the organization . It is something you cannot get at. You cannot reach it. You do not know where it is. It is not in writing. It is not in anything else. It is a simple understanding between men.”

In 1919, one in every five workers nationwide went on strike. In 1922, Spokane police raided IWW halls and seized lists of all union members in Washington and Idaho (names of these lists became blacklisted). Only a year later, in May 1923, a committee in Northern Idaho rounded up 28 IWW members in Bonners Ferry and illegally deported them to Montana. Later that same month, 1800 lumbermen went on strike at Marble Creek.

Some demands were met in the Northern Idaho camps, but others were not. Pay was increased to $4.00 a day by 1928, but food quality was still poor and bed bugs were still a major issue in bunk houses.

In the spring of 1936, union members demanded $5.00 a day for lumberjacks, a $25.00 a month raise for all monthly men, time and a half for overtime, board not to exceed $1.20 a day, and a string of other reasonable accommodations for the logging camps. These demands raged through the Northern Idaho camps placed along the Coeur d’Alene River. These camps were pretty primitive with 25-30 men per bunkhouse.

Lumbermen worked six days a week, 10 to 15 hours a day until the 40-hour week became law in 1938 - Fair Labor Standards. There are no sources to say that the IWW affected the Fair Labor Standards, although it is probably safe to say the national strikes had some effect on the passing of these standards.

Women Lumberjacks: During World War II, the lumber industry had a dramatic decrease in workers (able-bodied men were shipped off to fight), so women started entering the industry. The Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union attempted to get women the same wages as men in the industry (equal wages for equal work), employers didn’t want to pay equal wages, but ended up complying. However, State Industrial guidelines forbade women from lifting more than 60 pounds on a job, which prevented women from earning higher pay (unequal work).


Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Percentage of residents living in poverty in 2019: 23.8%
(22.2% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 100.0% for Black residents, 23.5% for Hispanic or Latino residents, 30.0% for American Indian residents, 29.2% for other race residents)

    • 2,389 88.5% White alone
    • 162 6.0% Hispanic
    • 62 2.3% Black alone
    • 43 1.6% Two or more races
    • 24 0.9% American Indian alone
    • 11 0.4% Asian alone

    According to our research of Idaho and other state lists, there were 20 registered sex offenders living in Bonners Ferry, Idaho as of June 22, 2021.
    The ratio of all residents to sex offenders in Bonners Ferry is 127 to 1.

    The City-Data.com crime index weighs serious crimes and violent crimes more heavily. Higher means more crime, U.S. average is 270.6. It adjusts for the number of visitors and daily workers commuting into cities.

    Recent articles from our blog. Our writers, many of them Ph.D. graduates or candidates, create easy-to-read articles on a wide variety of topics.

    Latest news from Bonners Ferry, ID collected exclusively by city-data.com from local newspapers, TV, and radio stations

    Ancestries: American (25.4%), European (16.7%), German (14.4%), Irish (8.6%), English (5.9%), Norwegian (4.7%).

    Current Local Time: PST time zone

    Land area: 2.12 square miles.

    Population density: 1,244 people per square mile (low).

    183 residents are foreign born (2.8% North America, 2.0% Latin America, 1.5% Europe).

    Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2019: $1,296 (0.7%)
    Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2019: $916 (0.5%)

    Nearest city with pop. 50,000+: Spokane Valley, WA (82.3 miles , pop. 89,755).

    Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: East Seattle, WA (279.8 miles , pop. 480,100).

    Nearest city with pop. 1,000,000+: Los Angeles, CA (1015.8 miles , pop. 3,694,820).

    Latitude: 48.69 N, Longitude: 116.32 W

    Bonners Ferry tourist attractions:

    Unemployment in November 2020:

    • Educational services (12.0%)
    • Accommodation & food services (12.0%)
    • Public administration (8.8%)
    • Wood products (8.5%)
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (8.3%)
    • Health care (7.4%)
    • Food & beverage stores (3.5%)
    • Wood products (15.7%)
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (12.3%)
    • Educational services (7.5%)
    • Accommodation & food services (7.5%)
    • Public administration (7.1%)
    • Construction (5.2%)
    • Repair & maintenance (4.8%)
    • Educational services (16.8%)
    • Accommodation & food services (16.8%)
    • Health care (13.2%)
    • Public administration (10.7%)
    • Social assistance (7.0%)
    • Food & beverage stores (4.8%)
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (3.9%)
    • Cooks and food preparation workers (6.3%)
    • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (4.9%)
    • Other sales and related occupations, including supervisors (4.6%)
    • Cashiers (4.4%)
    • Laborers and material movers, hand (4.4%)
    • Other office and administrative support workers, including supervisors (3.9%)
    • Fishing, hunting, and forestry occupations (3.7%)
    • Laborers and material movers, hand (7.3%)
    • Fishing, hunting, and forestry occupations (7.1%)
    • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers (5.8%)
    • Woodworkers (5.4%)
    • Other sales and related occupations, including supervisors (4.6%)
    • Construction traders workers except carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers, and construction laborers (4.2%)
    • Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers (4.0%)
    • Cooks and food preparation workers (9.1%)
    • Other office and administrative support workers, including supervisors (7.3%)
    • Cashiers (7.0%)
    • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (6.4%)
    • Secretaries and administrative assistants (5.5%)
    • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (5.5%)
    • Information and record clerks, except customer service representatives (5.2%)

    Average climate in Bonners Ferry, Idaho

    Based on data reported by over 4,000 weather stations

    Earthquake activity:

    Bonners Ferry-area historical earthquake activity is significantly above Idaho state average. It is 740% greater than the overall U.S. average.

    On 8/18/1959 at 06:37:13, a magnitude 7.7 (7.7 UK, Class: Major, Intensity: VIII - XII) earthquake occurred 391.9 miles away from the city center, causing $26,000,000 total damage
    On 10/28/1983 at 14:06:06, a magnitude 7.3 (6.2 MB, 7.3 MS, 7.0 MW) earthquake occurred 341.0 miles away from Bonners Ferry center, causing 2 deaths (2 shaking deaths) and 3 injuries, causing $15,000,000 total damage
    On 4/13/1949 at 19:55:42, a magnitude 7.0 (7.0 UK) earthquake occurred 303.1 miles away from the city center, causing $80,000,000 total damage
    On 2/28/2001 at 18:54:32, a magnitude 6.8 (6.5 MB, 6.6 MS, 6.8 MW, Class: Strong, Intensity: VII - IX) earthquake occurred 310.8 miles away from the city center, causing $2,000,000,000 total damage and $305,000,000 insured losses
    On 2/28/2001 at 18:54:32, a magnitude 6.8 (6.8 MD, Depth: 32.2 mi) earthquake occurred 315.6 miles away from Bonners Ferry center
    On 4/29/1965 at 15:28:43, a magnitude 6.6 (6.6 UK) earthquake occurred 294.1 miles away from the city center, causing $28,000,000 total damage
    Magnitude types: body-wave magnitude (MB), duration magnitude (MD), surface-wave magnitude (MS), moment magnitude (MW)

    Natural disasters:

    The number of natural disasters in Boundary County (10) is smaller than the US average (15).
    Major Disasters (Presidential) Declared: 7
    Emergencies Declared: 1

    Causes of natural disasters: Floods: 5, Storms: 5, Fire: 1, Hurricane: 1, Landslide: 1, Mudslide: 1, Snow: 1, Volcanic Eruption: 1, Wind: 1, Other: 1 (Note: some incidents may be assigned to more than one category).

    Hospitals and medical centers in Bonners Ferry:

    • BOUNDARY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL (Voluntary non-profit - Other, provides emergency services, 6640 KANIKSU STREET)
    • BOUNDARY COUNTY NURSING HOME (6640 KANIKSU STREET)

    Airports located in Bonners Ferry:

      (Runways: 1, Air Taxi Ops: 600, Itinerant Ops: 12,500, Local Ops: 5,800, Military Ops: 125)

    Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Bonners Ferry:

    • North Idaho College (about 74 miles Coeur d'Alene, ID Full-time enrollment: 4,684)
    • Whitworth University (about 83 miles Spokane, WA FT enrollment: 2,689)
    • Spokane Community College (about 86 miles Spokane, WA FT enrollment: 6,482)
    • Gonzaga University (about 87 miles Spokane, WA FT enrollment: 6,780)
    • Spokane Falls Community College (about 88 miles Spokane, WA FT enrollment: 6,052)
    • Eastern Washington University (about 102 miles Cheney, WA FT enrollment: 11,643)
    • University of Idaho (about 140 miles Moscow, ID FT enrollment: 10,416)

    Public high school in Bonners Ferry:

    Private high schools in Bonners Ferry:

    • KOOTENAI VALLEY MENNONITE CHURCH (Students: 71, Location: 782 MOON SHADOW RD, Grades: 1-12)
    • BOULDER CREEK ACADEMY (Students: 53, Location: 378 EMERSON LN, Grades: 8-12)

    Public elementary/middle schools in Bonners Ferry:

      (Students: 376, Location: 6750 AUGUSTA STREET, Grades: PK-5) (Students: 357, Location: 6577 MAIN STREET #100, Grades: 6-8) (Students: 141, Location: 1275 HIGHWAY 1, Grades: KG-5)

    Private elementary/middle school in Bonners Ferry:

    • MOUNTAIN VIEW CHRISTIAN SCHOOL (Students: 67, Location: 510860 HIGHWAY 95, Grades: 1-8)

    Library in Bonners Ferry:

    • BOUNDARY COUNTY DISTRICT (Operating income: $274,620 Location: 6370 KOOTENAI 39,178 books 1,339 audio materials 1,853 video materials 1 local licensed databases 51 state licensed databases 184 print serial subscriptions)

    Points of interest:

    Notable locations in Bonners Ferry: Bonners Ferry Fire Department Station 2 (A) , Bonners Ferry Fire Department Station 1 (B) . Display/hide their locations on the map

    Tourist attractions: Boundary County Historical Society & Museum (7229 Main Street), International Selkirk Loop (6823 Eisenhower Street).

    Hotels: Log Inn of Bonners Ferry (Highway 95 North), Springs Restaurant (Kootenai River Plaza), Best Western Kootenai River Inn (7160 Plaza St), Kootenai Valley Motel (Highway 95 South), Feast Creek Lodge (195A Road 34), Carriage House Inn (6506 Main Street), Bear Creek Lodge (5952 Main).

    Court: Boundary County - District Court (Courthouse).

    Birthplace of: Mourning Dove (author) - Writer, Dick Arndt - Football player, Johnny James - Baseball player.

    Boundary County has a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter) - Highest Potential


    Bonnersferry - History

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