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A digital collection comprised of historical photographs of Priest Lake, Idaho and the surrounding area.

The images span the years 1880 to 1950, documenting the area's waters, boats, buildings, landscape and people.

To explore the collection by date or location, or to find out more about the collection, use the tabs above.

Fishing at Two Mouth Creek [flows into Priest Lake]. Idaho, 1915

Donaldson (bull cook) cutting wood. Zero Creek Planting Camp, 1927

Edith Phelan and Harriet Kline in the water at Coolin, Idaho., 1950

Edith Phelan, Harriet Kline, and Mrs. Fussy swimming. Coolin, Idaho., 1950

Northern Hotel. Coolin, Idaho, 1900

Sailboat rigged by Ivan Painter and Frank Johnson, 1926

Rolling up telephone lines from Kaniksu Mountain. #9 wire. Near Priest Lake. Idaho, 1938

Jim Evans on lookout at Kaniksu Mountain. Near Priest Lake. Idaho, 1927

Looking down on Coolin, Idaho, 1914

Kaniksu going up the Thorofare River [joins Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake]. Idaho, 1936

Frosty and Scotty with swimmers behind, 1915

Bert Winslow plowing out at Dalkenia Camp. L Engine #1. Idaho, 1910

Engine at Dalkenia Camp 1. Dickensheet [Ford?]. Idaho, 1910

Graydon and Dorothy Winslow, 1922

Side view of Warren homestead on Priest Lake. Coolin, Idaho, 1940

Three men and loaded gun rack inside tent., 1926

Dewey Huot's mama, 1933

Schneider's ranch and summer cottages. Priest Lake. Idaho, 1930

Pack string at stables, 1910

Six people, 1912

Logging tractor pulling three piles of logs, 1922

People on the dock at the Coolin Marina. Coolin, Idaho., 1920

Mr. Seabury's sailboat. Shows: Mr. Seabury, Thora Jackson and Harriet Klein, 1922

Graydon Winslow hunting, 1925

Indian Creek [flows into Priest Lake]. Idaho, 1906

Dirt road with cars in distance. Jack Pine Flats, Coolin, Idaho., 1925

May Pole at Northern Hotel. Far left-Vera Paul, holding train on left-Jack Moore, Lotta Handy-Mother Handy's granddaughter in back. Coolin, Idaho, 1915-05-01

Steamboat "Banshee"., 1910

Pack train heading toward the Northern Hotel. Coolin, Idaho, 1928

Pack train heading out of Coolin, Idaho, 1911

People standing on the porch of the Idaho Inn. Coolin, Idaho., 1900

Steamboat "Tyee II" under construction., 1944

Slide at Paul Jones Beach. Coolin, Idaho, 1949

Logging truck loaded with five logs, 1946

Cat on barge, 1932

Bill Brawley, Leonard Paul, and Bob Gumaer at Mitchells Mining Claim., 1904

Loaded logs at camp #9, 1936

Art Marsten running sawmill as three other men look on. Coolin Bay, Idaho., 1915

Marsten Sawmill. Coolin Bay, Idaho, 1935

Six children in horse-drawn sled., 1920

Nell Shipman and others with horse-drawn sled in front of the Leonard Paul Store. Coolin, Idaho., 1922

Thirteen children and teacher posing in front of school building., 1900

Haying in Squaw Valley, 1937-09-1

Leonard Paul and patron at the Post Office in Coolin, Idaho., 1943

Firefly [launch] pushing barge, 1928

Pete Chase at cabin, 1920

Deer fed by Idaho State Game Commission. Near Priest Lake. Idaho, 1936-03-27

E. S. Burgan Family camping. Tent next to covered wagon., 1880

Flooding the ice in front of Paul Jones Beach. Leonard Paul in the center. Coolin, Idaho, 1937

Pete Chase and two others at his moonshine still., 1925

Five men standing on a load of logs being drawn through the snow by two horses., 1929

S.S. Rustler on Lake Pend Oreille. Idaho, 1940

Buckhorn Inn. Nordman, Idaho, 1947

Nordman Club. Nordman, Idaho, 1949-08-28

Women on the porch of the Leonard Paul home in winter. Coolin, Idaho, 1892

Five Mackinaw trout, 1947

Captain R.E. Boombs and E.J. Elliott on the deck of the steamboat "Tyee"., 1945-04-03

Head shot of Melvin C. Markham., 1945

Three Beardmore teams pulling logs, 1928

Beardmore river crew on west branch of the Priest River. Idaho, 1911

Man behind the wheel of the Beardmore Auto Stage. Priest River, Idaho., 1921

Nordman school. Nordman, Idaho, 1917

Italian internees [POWs?], 1943

German internees [POWs?], 1943

CCC camp in winter, 1940

Breaking up a log jam. Priest River. Idaho, 1935

Booms in Kalispell Bay, Priest Lake. Lakeview Mountain in background. Idaho, 1947

Priest Lake Stage in front of the St. Elmo Hotel. Priest River, Idaho., 1899

Spill dam at Torelle Falls on Priest River. Idaho, 1912

Log jam on the west branch of the Priest River. Idaho, 1911

Logs on west branch of the Priest River. Idaho, 1911

Team pulling log in snow, 1911

Building the W.W. Slee [steamboat]. The Kaniksu tied up to the dock, 1922

W.W. Slee [steamboat] from a side view. Priest Lake. Idaho, 1922

Nell Shipman on barge with animals, 1922

About the Collection


Contact Devin:
(208) 885-7040

About the Collection

The 380 photographs in this collection depict scenes across seventy years (1880-1950) of Priest Lake area history. The Priest Lake Museum Association built the collection in the early 1980s after putting out a call for historical photographs of their region. With the help of grant funding provided by the Greater Inland Empire Foundation and the Association for the Humanities in Idaho, members of the association went about gathering photographs from those who answered their call. These photographs were eventually hand-delivered to the University of Idaho Library's Special Collections & Archives Department, where they were photographed, reprinted, and then returned, via the Museum Association, to their original owners.

This is a collection depicting family, community,and business life in the Priest Lake area. Earlier photos show homesteads as well as Prater Ranch, aka "half-way house," where, during the regular trips from Priest River to Priest Lake, the stage stopped to exchange horses and provide a place for its passengers to have a mid-day meal. Many images also depict logging activity: There are images of logs on sleds drawn by horses, log booms pulled by steamboats moving from Priest Lake to Priest River, and logs on multi-trailer trucks traversing snow-covered roads.

This rugged, outdoorsman's wonderland was the perfect calling card for adventurist and silent film star Nell Shipman, who brought her production company and zoo to the area. Shipman made her outdoor adventure movies in the region, starring in them with her own wild animals. This ruggedness also lent itself to the production of moonshine in the hills during Prohibition.

In the 1930s, the federal government found itself fighting Blister Rust Disease in the area's national forests. To combat the disesase, the government used manual labor from the newly founded Civilian Conservation Corp(CCC). The men in the CCC not only worked on disease control and fought fires, they also built fire lookouts, campgrounds, and roads. The Federal Government later used these camps to house German and Italian internees during World War II.


Wikipedia Entry for Priest Lake - A thumbnail sketch of the area and history.

The Priest Lake Museum Association Newsletter - A PDF that describes how the collection came about. See page 2.

Blister Rust Disease - Information on what the Blister Rust Disease is, how it spreads to white pines, and the economic impact for the United States.

Wikipedia Entry for the CCC - A history of the CCC.

Wikipedia Entry for Nell Shipman - An overview of Nell Shipman who she was and what she did. - The Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce home page.

The following books were also consulted:

Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake Edited by Kris Runberg Smith. Day-NW F.782 P75 2007

Priest River and Priest Lake: Kaniksu Country Author(s): Marylyn Cork, Jeanne M. Tomlin, Diane E. Mercer Copyright 2012