Coeur d'Alene
Pop. 34,514

The location of this beautiful city was originally part of the aboriginal Coeur d’Alene’s four million acres. Jesuit missionary, Father Pierre De Smet, a Jesuit missionary, visited these Native Americans here as early as 1842 and received a warm welcome. In later years Christianity would have a major effect on the history of their tribe.

Named after this aboriginal tribe, the city of Coeur d’Alene originated in 1879 with a US Army Fort. Roughly, the name translates into “heart like an awl,” and awl can also be interpreted as “pointed,” “sharp-hearted,” or “needle-hearted.” This was representative of the shrewd trading abilities of the Indians. Later, the fort was renamed Fort Sherman, in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman, who originally scouted the location of the fort. The town that had grown around it remained Coeur d’Alene. In 1898, the entire army that occupied Fort Sherman was sent to fight in the Spanish-American War. In 1901 the Fort was officially abandoned. Today, North Idaho College is built on the old fort location.

The first road through the area, the Mullan Road, was constructed in 1862. This 624-mild long road served for military use, as a settlers’ route, and as a supply route for the Northern Pacific Railroad. It also eventually provided access to the Coeur d’Alene Mining District.

Rumors of the existence of gold in the area circulated as early as the 1860.s From 1883 to 1885, miners flocked to the area to get their share of gold, silver, zinc, and lead, which had been recently discovered in abundance in nearby Wallace. Over $5 billion worth of precious metals were extracted from the Coeur d’Alene Mining District. The District also boasts the deepest mine, Star-Morning Mine at Burke, at 7,000 feet; the richest mine, Sunshine Mine on Big Creek, as having produced over 300 million ounces of silver; and the biggest mine, Bunker Hill, which had over 180 miles of underground workings.

The town was officially incorporated in 1887, the same year the post office was established. Steamboats were built to ferry people and fresh produce back and forth across Lake Coeur d’Alene. At the turn of the century, the steamboats became a popular tourist attraction for locals and not-so-locals. Folks from Spokane, Washington and other areas came to Coeur d’Alene to escape the city and enjoy the recreation of the lake.

In 1910, the Great Idaho Fire swept through the area, consuming several hundred thousand acres of land and timber, destroying homes, jobs, and lives in its wake. Later that year, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad established tracks connecting Spokane to Coeur d’Alene. By 1915, Coeur d’Alene had shipping facilities on five transcontinental railroads. In addition to that, it supported an electric railroad that provided transportation between it and Spokane, WA, on an hourly basis.

The city that used to thrive around steamboats and railroad cars now hosts scads of tourists and recreation lovers alike.

Bed and Breakfasts in Coeur d'Alene ID

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