History of Clark Fork, and Hope, Idaho

The Hope/Clark Fork area stretches along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille from the Pack River to the mouth of the Clark Fork River, the major waterways that feed mighty Pend Oreille. Lake Pend Oreille is one of the West’s largest freshwater bodies of water with several islands near the Clark Fork estuary, including the islands off Hope and the Hope Peninsula, Warren, Cottage, Pearl, Eagle, and Memaloose Islands, as well as the Islands at the end of the Clark Fork River, called the Clark Fork Flats, which includes Derr Island. There are three major peninsulas that thrust into the lake: Sunnyside, the Hope Peninsula, and Sagle. Sagle is actually more like an area the lake wraps around, but nonetheless is a major abutting feature of Lake Pend Oreille.

It is important to note that the histories of the two communities are closely tied to one and other. They have a shared past of railroads, mining, and logging, and sportsman activities. More recently, both Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River have been a draw for tourists seeking the mountain/lake lifestyle. In recent years the area has attracted national public attention, being featured on several broadcasts, in articles, and by developers 먹튀검증. The most famous golf course in this part of North Idaho, Hidden Lakes, was purchased by Jack Nicklaus, and is slated to open in 2009 as the Idaho Club. However, with the federal and state owning over 70% of the land, growth has been measured.

The most prominent feature of Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho is Lake Pend Oreille. With 111 mile of coastline and 148 square miles, it is one of North America’s prominent lakes, and the nation’s fifth deepest. Formed by cataclysmic floods when the mile high Ice Age ice dam broke time after time, the features of the land and lakes of Bonner County and Western Montana all the way to the coast in Oregon were formed by these monumental floods. Just one of these deluges was ten times the combined volume of all the rivers on earth, with walls of water moving at super highway speeds. To learn more about the Ice Age Floods visit Ice Age Floods Institute.org

Centuries before white man discovered the region, the Kalispell and other Indian tribes, such as the Flatheads, inhabited North Idaho. Visit North Idaho History The first white men to trade in North Idaho were the intrepid adventurers “Big Finan” McDonald and explorer and “land geographer” David Thompson, who established the first permanent wooden structure in 1809 on the Hope Peninsula, taking advantage of Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River. This trading post, Kullyspell House, is still standing as a stone building on the shores of the lake. Kullyspell House still stands on the Peninsula, Idaho’s most historic home. It sits at the end of Kullyspell Road. As you turn right on David Thompson Road, you will pass several white houses on the left. This grouping of summer homes is the family retreat of the Kienholz family. Ed Kienholz is easily one of our nation’s most famous artists.

The first true transportation the region enjoyed were the steamboats of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, which brought its first engine and hardware from Portland, building the 108-foot Mary Moody in 1866.

As the railroads came into the area, Northern Pacific Railroad built the 150-foot Henry Villard in 1883 to supply the men laying the rails. Steamboats continued to be an integral part of transportation around Lake Pend Oreille until the 1930s. Later in the era, steamboats became popular excursions, much as Pend Oreille Cruises is today, and dignitaries staying at Hotel Hope and other resorts would spend days on the water.

In 1864 Congress granted the Northern Pacific Railroad a charter to build a line from Lake Superior to Puget Sound on a route north of the 45 parallel. In 1872, the Clark Fork Pend Oreille route was chosen. With the railroad came the people who established the towns of Clark Fork and Hope.

Railroads came to prominence in the 1880s, as local construction began on the northern transcontinental line in 1881. Trestle Creek, at more than a mile long, became the line’s longest structure. It was at this time that Hope became the center of railroad activities and the largest city in the county. Along with Chinese Coolies, over 4,000 rough and ready railroad workers lived in a tent city along the Clark Fork River. Railroads brought people, and the lumber industry, which began to service the rails and trains, became the stalwart of the North Idaho economy for the next 100 years.

At first Hope was just a stopping point along the railroad, but in 1890, the Northern Pacific moved its division point west from Montana to the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Hope was incorporated on July 17, 1891. East Hope was incorporated on June 28th 1902. Hope was a busy port in its early days. Steamboats crossed the lake carrying supplies and mail to mining sites around the shore before roads were built. The boats were used to carry supplies up the Clark Fork River to Cabinet Gorge while the railroad was being constructed. The lake had long supported a fishing fleet, bringing in tons of fish every day. The populations were decimated by the introduction of tiny krill. The Federal government added these small shrimp in an attempt to increase fish populations; the experiment had the opposite effect. Recent years have seen a small recovery in fish populations, and now Hope is the center of some fine sports fishing.

Hope began to grow in 1882 when the Northern Pacific came through and in 1900 set its Rock Mountain division point in the hillside village. Incorporated in 1903, the village was named in honor of the veterinarian who tended the construction horses. A wise and kindly man, Dr. Hope was widely respected. Hope was the largest town in the area during the 1880s, achieving prominence as the Rocky Mountain division point on the Northern Pacific line. Engines turned around in the large roundhouse, and the railroad built shops, offices, and a “beanery” there.

The Hotel Jeannot, now known as Hotel Hope, was able to capitalize on this business with its location right above the depot, and with its tunnels providing easy access for passengers to the hotel. Many say that the tunnels were used to entertain the Chinese “coolees,” working on the railroads, who were normally not allowed in the establishments that served the locals and travelers.

In contrast to Hope’s early boom, Sandpoint grew slowly following completion of the railroad. An 1883 visitor found only 300 people in town, and nine years later another traveler reported that “Sandpoint is made up of between three and four dozen rude shacks and perhaps a dozen tents.” The town experienced tremendous growth, however, following the turn of the century.

When the division point moved to Sandpoint, Hope began to decline. Hotel Hope continued to draw people until the 1960s, partly because the picturesque setting of the town beside Lake Pend Oreille attracted many tourists. Some of them prominent: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Gary Cooper, and Bing Crosby.

The original Hotel Jeannot (Hotel Hope) was a wooden structure which burned down in about 1886. It was then that Joseph M. Jeannot started on his fireproof commercial building, which he shared with his brother Louis. He constructed one section at a time, and added on over the years, finally completing the three-bay, two story hotel in 1898. The rectangular building has two full stories above two separate basement sections. The facade is divided into three approximately equal bays which vary in design and building materials indicating that the hotel was built in sections over a period of years. This theory collaborated by the analysis of the structure during restoration as well as through oral accounts. The first section to be built was the first story of the east bay with its walls of rock-faced random-coursed granite ashlar with beaded joints. Next came the first story of the center bay with its lower facade walls of poured concrete. Following this, or possibly built at the same time, was the red brick second story over the center and east bays. The west bay was the last to be built, either all at once or in two stages. The first floor is of poured concrete with the second floor of red brick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.