History of Clark Fork and Hope, Idaho

The Hope / Clark Fork area stretches along the banks of Pend Oreille Lake from the Pack River to the mouth of the Clark Fork River, the major waterways that feed the mighty Pend Oreille. Pend Oreille Lake is one of the largest freshwater bodies in the west with several islands near the Clark Fork Estuary, including the Hope Islands and the Hope Peninsula, Warren, Cottage, Pearl, Eagle, and Memaloose Islands, as well as the islands at the end of the Clark Fork River, called Clark Fork Flats, which includes Derr Island. There are three main peninsulas that penetrate the lake: Sunnyside, Hope Peninsula and Sagle. Sagle is actually more like an area around the lake, but it is nevertheless an adjoining main feature of Lake Pend Oreille.
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It is important to note that the stories of the two communities are closely linked to each other. They have a shared past of railways, mining, logging, and sports activities. More recently, both Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River have been a draw for tourists seeking the mountain / lake lifestyle. In recent years, the area has attracted national public attention, appearing in various broadcasts, in articles, and by developers. The most famous golf course in this northern part of Idaho, Hidden Lakes, was purchased by Jack Nicklaus, and is slated to open in 2009 as the Idaho Club. However, since the federal government and state own more than 70% of the land, growth has been measured.
Glacial Floods and Pend Oreille Lake

The most prominent feature of Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho is Lake Pend Oreille. With 111 miles of shoreline and 148 square miles, it is one of the most outstanding lakes in North America and the fifth deepest in the country. Formed by cataclysmic flooding when the mile-high Ice Age ice dam broke over and over again, the land and lake features of Bonner County and western Montana to the Oregon coast were formed for these monumental floods. Only one of these floods was ten times the combined volume of all rivers on earth, with walls of water moving at super highway speeds. For more information on the Ice Age floods, visit the Ice Age Floods
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Centuries before the white man discovered the region, the Kalispells and other Indian tribes, such as the Flatheads, inhabited northern Idaho. Visit Northern Idaho History The first white men to trade in northern Idaho were the intrepid adventurers “Big Finan” McDonald and the explorer and “earth geographer” David Thompson, who established the first permanent wooden structure in 1809 in the Hope Peninsula, taking advantage of Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River. This trading post, Kullyspell House, still stands like a stone building on the lakeshore. Kullyspell House is still on the peninsula, Idaho’s most historic home. It is located at the end of Kullyspell Road. Turning right onto David Thompson Road, you will pass several white houses on the left. This grouping of summer houses is the family retreat of the Kienholz family. Ed Kienholz is easily one of the most famous artists in our nation.

The first true transportation the region enjoyed was the steamboats of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, which brought its first engine and hardware from Portland, building the 108-foot Mary Moody in 1866.

When railroads entered the area, the Northern Pacific Railroad built the 150-foot Henry Villard in 1883 to supply the men who laid the rails. Steamboats continued to be an integral part of transportation around Lake Pend Oreille until the 1930s. Later in the era, steamships became popular excursions, as did Pend Oreille Cruises today, and the Dignitaries staying at the Hope Hotel and other resorts would spend days on the water.

In 1864, Congress granted the North Pacific Railroad a charter to build a line from Lake Superior to Puget Sound on a route north of the 45th parallel. In 1872, the Clark Fork Pend Oreille route was chosen. With the railroad came the people who established the towns of Clark Fork and Hope.

Railroads rose to fame in the 1880s, when local construction began on the North Transcontinental Line in 1881. Trestle Creek, over a mile long, became the longest structure on the line. It was at this time that Hope became the center of railroad activities and the largest city in the county. Along with the Chinese Coolies, more than 4,000 rough and smart railway workers lived in a tent city along the Clark Fork River. Railroads brought people in, and the lumber industry, which began servicing rails and trains, became the stalwart of northern Idaho’s economy for the next 100 years.

Hope Story, Idaho

At first, Hope was just a stopping point along the railroad, but in 1890, the North Pacific moved its dividing point westward from Montana to the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Hope was incorporated on July 17, 1891. East Hope was incorporated on June 28, 1902. Hope was a busy port in its early days. Steamboats crossed the lake carrying supplies and mail to mining sites around the shoreline before the roads were built. The ships were used to transport supplies down the Clark Fork River to Cabinet Gorge while the railroad was being built. The lake had long supported a fishing fleet, bringing in tons of fish every day. Populations were decimated by the introduction of the little krill. The federal government added these small shrimp in an attempt to increase fish stocks; The experiment had the opposite effect. The last few years have seen a small recovery in fish stocks, and Hope is now the center of good sport fishing.

Hope began to grow in 1882 when the North Pacific arrived and in 1900 established its Rock Mountain split point in the hillside town. Incorporated in 1903, the town was named in honor of the vet who cared for construction horses. A wise and kind man, Dr. Hope was widely respected. Hope was the largest city in the area during the 1880s, achieving prominence as the point of division of the Rocky Mountains on the line of the North Pacific. Engines spun in the great circular house, and the railway built shops, offices, and a “sham” there.

Hotel Jeannot, now known as Hotel Hope, was able to capitalize on this business with its location just above the depot, and with its tunnels that provide easy access for passengers to the hotel. Many say that the tunnels were used to entertain Chinese “coolees” who worked on the railways, who were not normally allowed in establishments serving locals and travelers.

In contrast to Hope’s early boom, Sandpoint grew slowly after the completion of the railroad. A visitor from 1883 found only 300 people in the city, and nine years later another traveler reported that “Sandpoint is made up of between three and four dozen rude shacks and perhaps a dozen stores.” The city experienced tremendous growth, however, after the turn of the century.

When the split point moved to Sandpoint, Hope began to decline. The Hope Hotel continued to attract people until the 1960s, in part because the picturesque setting of the city by Lake Pend Oreille attracted many tourists. Some of them featured: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Gary Cooper and Bing Crosby.

The original Jeannot Hotel (Hotel Hope) was a wooden structure that burned down around 1886. It was then that Joseph M. Jeannot began his fireproof commercial building, which he shared with his brother Louis. He built one section at a time, and over the years completed the two-story, three-bay hotel in 1898. The rectangular building has two full floors on two separate sections of the basement. The facade is divided into three approximately equal bays that vary in design and construction materials, indicating that the hotel was built in sections over a period of years. This theory collaborated through the analysis of the structure during the restoration, as well as through oral stories. The first section that was built was the first story of the East Bay with its random rock granite masonry walls with bead joints. Then came the first story of the central bay with its lower poured concrete walls. After this, or possibly built at the same time, was the second floor of red brick above the center and the bays to the east. The west bay was the last to be built, either once or in two stages. The first floor is poured concrete with the second floor red brick.

Several businesses have occupied the building over the years, including a lounge, a restaurant, a general store, a meat market, and even a post office. The domed meat cooler adjoining the west basement was likely built when Louis ran his general store and meat market in the period from 1895 to 1897. The Hope Hotel is still a testament to the times.

The J. M. Jeannot Hotel and Lounge were not his sole business interests. He was also involved in mining and had several claims at Pend Oreille Lake in the Monarch Green Mountain area. Hope had a large Chinese population that had come on the railroad, and Jeannot allegedly tapped into this source of cheap labor for his mines. According to one of Jeannot’s friends, he allowed these men to use the meat cooler under the hotel as a clubhouse. They gained access to this room through the small tunnel that connected it to the railroad depot, thus avoiding the most obvious entrances. This vault in the hotel is one of the few remaining sites in Hope that can be connected to the large number of Chinese living in the city.

Jeannot’s mining operations, as well as his losses in gambling, led to his unstable financial situation, which may have been one of the reasons that it took the hotel between ten and twelve years to complete. According to a source, construction was delayed for more than a year when Jeannot lost all his money in a gamble on William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Uncertain finances continued to plague Jeannot and he mortgaged and re-hooked the hotel throughout the years between 1907. and 1918, eventually losing the building in 1918. A friend paid off the debt in 1920 and ran the hotel until her death in 1968.

Today, the wood and rail era has been supplanted by tourism and manufacturing in Bonner County, and Hope and Clark Fork have become an artist colony. This is largely due to Ed Kienholz.

Born in 1927 in Fairfield, Washington. He studied in schools and colleges in the Inland Northwest. She first made a living as a nurse in a mental hospital, as a dance band manager, as a secondary car dealer, catering service, decorator, and vacuum cleaner salesman. In 1953, he moved to Los Angeles.

In 1954 he made his first wood reliefs. In 1956 he founded the NOW Gallery, and in 1957 the Ferus Gallery with Walter Hopps. In 1961 he completed his first Roxy’s vibe, which caused a stir at the documenta “4” exhibit in 1968. His retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1966 prompted the County Board of Oversight to attempt to shut down the exhibit. The theme of their environments is the vulnerability of the individual’s private life to the intervention of the environment and social convention.

In 1972 he met Nancy Reddin in Los Angeles. In 1973 he was a guest artist at the German Academic Exchange Service in Berlin. He moved to Hope with his wife Nancy, and around this time he also settled in Berlin. His most important works during this period were the Volksempfänger (radio receiver of the National Socialist period in Germany). In 1975 he received a Guggenheim Prize.

He died in 1994, but his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz continues as a world-renowned artist, frequently visiting Hope.

Due to its notoriety and the amazing beauty of the area, we now have more than 600 artists in our enclave.

Kienholz’s couple befriended many wealthy patrons in Berlin, and over the years, two families have also created their own family retreats on the Hope Peninsula. As you pass David Thompson Road to Kullyspell Road, the Max Factor group of houses is on your right. These go all the way to the start of the Kullyspell House ownership line. The other family is the Groenke family. Klaus Groenke is the CEO and co-owner of Trigon Holding GmbH, an international real estate company based in Berlin. He is also reported to be a leading shareholder in the Coca Cola Company and a member of the Deutsche Bank Berlin / Brandenberg regional board. They built the Groenke Estate, a 150-acre complex at the end of David Thompson Road that becomes Kienholz Road. It is here that a complete section of the Berlin Wall is found, wrapped in lexiglas, graffiti and everything intact as it was before its fall. The family recently sold half of the estate, where many multi-million dollar homes have been built or planned.

Today Hope, Idaho is a tourist and summer destination on the lake, with numerous artists and eclectic people. It is a bedroom complex for Sandpoint, and is considered by many, with its spectacular lake and mountain views, to be one of the most picturesque areas in northern Idaho. In fact, many travel magazines rated the trip along the cliffs from Sandpoint to Hope as one of the most beautiful tours in the world.
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Clark Fork Idaho History

While they are totally different cities, many in northern Idaho think of Clark Fork and Hope as a community. In fact, the two share the same Chamber of Commerce website: []

The city of Clark Fork also became a viable city in the early 1880s, as construction of the North Pacific Railroad continued through the nearby Bitterroot and Cabinet Mountains. This small community has been geared towards mining, logging, sawmills, agriculture, Forest Service activity, fish hatcheries, dam construction, fur harvesting activity, university studies and adolescent homes . In addition, for most of its history, the railroad maintained a station and crew at Clark Fork. Clark Fork was incorporated in 1912. Today the Clark Fork Field campus of the University of Idaho is located there.

In the 19th century, the Clark Fork Valley, like the shores of Lake Pend Oreille around Hope, was inhabited by the Flathead tribe of the Native Americans. It was explored by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the 1806 return trip from the Pacific. The river is named after William Clark. A middle segment of the river in Montana was previously known as the Missoula River.

Much of Clark Fork’s history in the years that followed had to do with crossing the river. The bridge fording the Clark Fork River provided one of the only steps north, and with the steamboats that led miners on the arduous journey to the Kootenai gold rush, this was one of the only ways to travel. Before building a bridge, Clark Fork had a ferry to cross. The first ferries were nothing more than joined logs. Later, some records indicate that a ferry was operating in 1893, but this was a decade after the installation of the North Pacific line, so it is safe to assume that there was rapid business with ferry crossings during construction.

It is important to remember that the Cabinet Gorge dam was not in place at the time, and journalists at the time wrote in 1916 that “the Clarksfork River handles a much larger volume of water than the Snake River. Sometimes during the peak, the flow amounts to 94,000 cubic feet per second. The average width of the river is approximately 1,300 ft. The speed of the river at certain times is very large, approximately eight miles per hour. Because of this, it is necessarily very dangerous to operate a ferry at Clarksfork at any time and very dangerous and sometimes impossible to operate at all. ”

Certainly, this ferry crossing created a need and a place for travelers, not only to cross, but sometimes to rest, replenish supplies and occasionally take advantage of the lounge.

Until the First World War there was a lot of activity in sawmills, and to a lesser degree until the 1950s. The first sawmills include McGillis and Gibbs, Lane and Potter. From the beginning to the end of the 1950s, mining operations played an important role in the community economy. The Whitedelph mine and mill located near the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery began operating in 1926 until it closed in 1958. It produced the Galena ore analysis primarily of silver, lead and zinc. The Lawrence mine was located on Antelope Mountain near Mosquito Creek and near the University of Idaho Clark Fork Field campus. The hills and mountains of the area had numerous small mining holes manned by small operations and prospectors.
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