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Avery was originally founded in 1886 when Sam “49” Williams homesteaded in the area. When some of his friends joined him a few years later, the men worked as trappers and joined in the Idaho timber industry by floating logs down to Harrison. By 1906, Williams site was unofficially designated “Pinchot” after important forest service employee, Gifford Pinchot. When the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad built a line to the area in 1908, the small settlement was renamed Avery after Avery Rockefeller, the grandson of railroad director, William Rockefeller. The town finally incorporated in 1910 with the arrival of the area’s first post office.

Although the settlement was nearly destroyed in the Great Idaho Fire of 1910, Avery was spared and grew to include a three-story hotel, several homes, and eventually a school. By 1917, Avery boasted 1,100 residents, including several Japanese, many of whom were employed by the railroad. When the line went bankrupt in the 1970s, the Potlatch Company purchased a portion of the rails in 1980 while the rest were torn apart during construction of the popular “Route of the Hiawatha” mountain-biking trail.

Today, Avery serves as just one of the Panhandle’s many recreation launching regions.

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