Lewiston in Nez Perce County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
A Man and His Island Dream
The Corps of Discovery reached the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers on October 10, 1805. In his map of the site, William Clark included a small island he observed “at the point of union” of the channels. The island appeared from time to time in early panoramic photographs of the valley and its rivers.
David Christian Hirzel claimed squatter’s rights to the island on August 27, 1904, and erected a house and outlying buildings to replace a small shack said to have been found there when he arrived. On June 21, 1911, Hirzel applied to the local General Land Office for a survey of the one-and-a-half acre property to validate a claim under the Homestead Act. His application was rejected in March 1912 on the grounds that the island was not a permanent feature. Hirzel appealed. Edson Briggs, who had worked as a local surveyor since May 1873, testified that “the island has existed until the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.” Again, the claim was rejected, and the Northern Pacific Railway entered the story.
The company sued Hirzel in the district court to obtain a quiet
In June 1917, Hirzel was back in court. Idaho had gone “dry” in 1915. Nez Perce County officials contended that he was making “cider that contains a percentage of alcohol that makes the sale or possession of the same a violation of the prohibition law.” Hirzel had been brewing the hard cider on the island for four years and had developed quite a market in the city. He often spoke of converting the island into an amusement park.
For many years during the annual spring runoff, hundreds of residents lined the railing of the old interstate bridge, all of them predicting when the house and buildings would be swept away. In 1910 and 1918 water rose to the second floor of the home, but Hirzel made repairs and
In October 1959, the Bureau of Land Management ruled that the island was indeed public land, subject to survey and disposal by the federal government. “The man on the island” had been right all along. Hirzel Island was permanently inundated in 1975 when the Army Corps of Engineers filled the pool behind Lower Granite Dam.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition series list.
Location. 46° 25.01′ N, 117° 1.975′ W. Marker is in Lewiston, Idaho, in Nez Perce County. Marker is on Snake River Avenue, 0.2 miles south of U.S. 12, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located on pedestrian walkway, on the west side of Snake River Avenue, overlooking a pond and the Snake River Levee. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lewiston ID 83501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Confluence of Rivers & Steam (here, next to this marker); Writings on the River (approx. 0.3 miles away); Traveling on the River (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fishing in the RiverKettenbach Building (approx. 0.3 miles away); Firsts in Lewiston (approx. 0.3 miles away); Exploring on the River (approx. 0.3 miles away); Dwellings by the River (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lewiston.
Also see . . . Lewis and Clark Expedition of Discovery.
The Corps of Discovery made camp at the forks of the Snake (Lewis’s River) and Clearwater (Koos Koos Kee) on the right bank of the Snake (opposite side of Clarkston). There was “not one Stick of timber on the river near the Forks.” The water of the South Fork (Snake) was a greenish blue and the “north as clear as crystal.” A small island (Hirzel Island) was at the confluence and at a point of land on the nearby (Lewiston) shore was an Indian cabin. Mounted Nez Perce men, women and children came from all directions to “view” them. (Submitted on November 26, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 26, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 485 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 26, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 7. submitted on November 29, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.