Ferrell

Location: 12.5 miles east from St. Maries up the St. Joe River
Realizing the potential economic value of a settlement located near the St. Joe River, William Ferrell moved to the meadowland from Coeur d’Alene in 1883. As other homesteaders expressed interested in the Upper St. Joe River region, Ferrell platted a community in his name, built a hotel, established a general store, and began selling business and residence lots.

Before long, business was booming in Ferrell with the arrival of excursion steamers. By 1907, two more hotels lined the streets along with a bank, drugstore, telephone company, and ten saloons. The town boomed so quickly that railroad surveyors were interested in developing a possible route through Ferrell. William Ferrell, however, decided to play hardball with the surveyors, hoping to receive $100,000 for a right-of-way through his community. Balking at his request, the Milwaukee and Puget Sound Railroad simply bypassed Ferrell, created a bridge to the river’s south side, and began selling acreage for the new town-site, St. Joe City.

Ferrell could not compete with the trade and economic center established at nearby St. Joe City, and in just four years, most of Ferrell’s residents had left. William Ferrell eventually moved to St. Joe City, relocating upriver a few years later to Avery. A schoolhouse operated in Ferrell until 1925, but today, only a quiet prairie remains at the old town-site.

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