Bonners Ferry in Boundary County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
A Town is Born Along the Way
In 1808 Canadian explorer David Thompson came by horseback and canoe, opening the way for traders, missionaries, prospectors and homesteaders. In the 1860s a rich placer strike in British Columbia lured hundreds of gold-seekers who traveled on the Wildhorse Trail which crossed the nearby Kootenai River. E.L. Bonner built a ferry crossing in 1864, later selling the rights to Richard Fry.
In 1883 Sam Smith started a stagecoach service from the new Northern Pacific Railway line at Kootenai Station near Lake Pend Orielle to Bonners Ferry, Crossport, and Kootenay Lake.
The following year the steamboat Midge was launched on the Kootenai River, initiating river commerce from present-day Bonners Ferry to Kootenay Lake. The completion of the transcontinental Great Northern Railroad line, through Bonners Ferry in 1892, improved transportation, leading to the demise of the stage coach.
The Village of Bonners Ferry was established in 1899. That same year the Great Northern completed the Kootenai Valley Railroad, extending rail service from Bonners Ferry to the lower end of Kootenay Lake
The Spokane International Railroad, completed in 1906, connected Spokane to the Canadian Pacific railway lines across the border at Eastport, creating an international transcontinental line.
Railway service eventually made the steamboats obsolete. In turn, by the 1920s better roads and rubber-tired vehicles reduced the demand for passenger trains. Railroads developed as an efficient means of long distance freight transportation.
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On July 19, 1926 a special Great Northern Railway train, the Columbia River Historical Expedition, stopped briefly at Bonners Ferry for the dedication of the Pathfinder Monument, which commemorated the first route of trade and travel across what is now the State of Idaho. The monument is in the park near the library, two blocks south.
Erected by Boundary County Historical Society, The International Selkirk Loop.
Location. 48° 41.861′ N, 116° 18.692′ W. Marker is in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, in Boundary County. Marker can be reached from Main Street near Riverside Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7229 Main Street, Bonners Ferry ID 83805, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Great Northern Railway 1892 (here, next to this marker); Kootenai Valley Railway (here, next to this marker); Spokane International Railway (here, next to this marker); Railroad Laborers (here, next to this marker); Railroad Services (here, next to this marker); Logging Railroads (here, next to this marker); Semaphores (here, next to this marker); Pelton Wheel (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bonners Ferry.
More about this marker. This marker is located on the backside of the building at 7229 Main Street near the entrance to the Boundary County Museum.
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 31, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 31, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.