Bonner County, located in the northern part of Idaho, has a fascinating history that has shaped the area into what it is today. From its early days as a hub for fur trading and logging to its current status as a thriving tourist destination, the county has seen many changes over the years. On January 5, 2023, we take a look back at some of the highlights of Bonner County’s rich past.
Early Days of Bonner County
The history of Bonner County dates back to the early 19th century, when the area was primarily inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Kootenai, Pend d’Oreille, and Kalispel. The first European settlers arrived in the area in the 1840s, drawn by the abundant forests and wildlife that provided valuable resources for the fur trade. In the following decades, the area became a hub for logging, with many sawmills and logging camps springing up throughout the region.
Incorporation and Growth
Bonner County was officially incorporated on February 21, 1907, with the city of Sandpoint serving as its county seat. The county continued to grow throughout the 20th century, with the logging industry remaining a major economic driver until the late 1970s. In the 1980s, the county began to shift towards a more tourism-focused economy, with the development of ski resorts and other recreational activities drawing visitors from around the world.
Today, Bonner County is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. The county’s natural beauty, including Lake Pend Oreille, the Selkirk Mountains, and Schweitzer Mountain Resort, continue to draw visitors from around the world. The county also boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and festivals throughout the year.
Looking to the Future
As Bonner County continues to grow and evolve, it is important to remember and honor its rich history. From the Native American tribes who first called the area home to the loggers and settlers who helped build the region, the past is an essential part of what makes Bonner County unique. By preserving and sharing the county’s history, we can ensure that future generations will appreciate and learn from the area’s rich cultural heritage.
In conclusion, Bonner County’s history is a story of growth, change, and resilience. From its early days as a fur trading hub to its current status as a world-renowned tourist destination, the county has seen many transformations over the years. As we look to the future, it is important to remember and honor the county’s past, and to continue to build on the legacy of those who came before us.