Sandpoint ...a walk through history.

Sandpoint ...a walk through history.

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864, United States

Created By: The Sandpoint Group

Tour Information

Brief History of Sandpoint

Sandpoint has historically benefited from its key strategic geographic location as a link between water and land based transportation routes. Sand Point, as it was known, was a meeting ground and trading center for local Native American tribes when early explorers and trappers visited the region. In 1882, as the construction work on the railroad began, a small settlement called Pend Oreille developed on the east side of Sand Creek. With the arrival in 1892 of the Great Northern Pacific Railroad, the community grew and this rustic, rough and tumble Sandpoint, as it was now known, grew to encompass the east and west sides of Sand Creek and at the same time developed a more genteel and family oriented nature. The Village of Sandpoint was incorporated on February 7, 1907.

The forests, farms and ranch lands, as well as rich mineral deposits in the Lake Pend Oreille region attracted settlers to small communi­ties as they began to form throughout the area. Sandpoint continued to grow as a regional commercial center. Timber became the main industry in Sandpoint and Kootenai and the Humbird Lumber Company mill as well as others thrived in Sandpoint into the late 1920s.

The first two-mile bridge connecting Sandpoint with Sagle was completed in 1910. At the time it was the longest wooden wagon bridge in the world. The Panida Theater was built in 1927 to en­hance entertainment options for area residents, making a total of 4 theaters in town. The 1940s brought Farragut Naval Station and 300,000 servicemen to the area. In 1963, Schweitzer Basin ski area opened. North Idaho’s many unpopulated areas, natural beauty and diverse recreational opportunities began to attract a new wave of families from outside the region in the 1970s.

Between the 1980s and present day, the Sandpoint area transi­tioned from a resource-based economy of logging, mining, farming and ranching to a more diversified economy. That new economy includes arts and culture, manufacturing, recreation, technol­ogy, aeronautics, commercial services, education and small-scale horticulture while logging and mining have diminished.

This self-guided tour that highlights some of the key historical buildings dating from the early history of the City.

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What You'll See on the Tour

A Spanish Mission style structure, built for $70,000 in 1927 by F.C. Weskil, first opened its doors as a vaudeville and cinema venue. The entrance fee was a bottle cap, and by the 1940s had increased to 9 cents. Dedicated to the people of t... Read more
Built in 1905 by J.K. Dow for $17,000, this two story brick building is slightly off square, following the diagonal line of Main Street. Unusual for the time, it had its own private sewer system and electricity. The second floor was dedicat... Read more
The first school district in Sand Point was created in 1883 and catered to gold mining families. The railroad had reached Sand Point bringing more settlers. In 1885, the first school with 7 pupils was held in the White Swan, a converted sal... Read more
Built on property donated by L.D. Farmin, the building was originally graced with a roof cupola housing a bell and later a siren. Up until the 1970s, the curfew siren blew each evening at 10 pm to ensure teenagers were off the streets. Th... Read more
The wooden building behind the streetcar in the photograph is the original Knights of Pythias Lodge. This building was moved to the adjacent property to the north and in 1909 the current building, constructed of precast cement block formed... Read more
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) building was constructed in 1936 following an original 1920 Art Deco design. The creative design had a small courtyard in the front of the building. B.P.O.E. is on the marker stone abov... Read more
Constructed in 1904 for $30,000, it was the largest building in Sandpoint, built with unique architectural features typical of buildings of this era. At one point in its history, it was converted to house Idaho First National Bank. The Maso... Read more
Built in 1928 to house the U.S. Post Office, U.S. Forest Service, IRS, Civil Service and military recruitment offices. In 1973, it was listed on the NRHP for its architectural significance and detailing representing the Spanish Revival styl... Read more
Dr. Ones F. Page built the Page Hospital, in 1907 in the current location of Bonner General Health. The three-floor building with a full basement housed 27 patients and had steam heat throughout with sewage connection through a private line... Read more
Arriving in Sandpoint in 1900 from Pullman, WA, Dr. Ones F. Page, the company doctor for the Humbird Lumber Company, designed and built the current house in 1917. Constructed of local old growth larch with ‘state of the art design’, Dr.... Read more
Built circa 1909 by L.D. and Earl Farmin, of precast cement block and with decorative scrolled brackets below the roof, excavation of the building’s foundation was halted as quicksand was uncovered. Pilings were driven through the quicksa... Read more
As early as 1893, there was a low footbridge spanning Sand Creek that connected the old part of the town of Sand Point on the east side of Sand Creek to the new town on the west side of the creek. It was often washed out and needed constant... Read more
One of the oldest, 1915 frame-built structures in the Historic District, it originally had a brick veneer façade that is now covered with stucco. The foundation had similar problems to the Farmin Building and also sits on pilings. Home to ... Read more
Built in 1906, this two story building was purpose built as a bank and dry goods store. Ole and Hannah Jennestad opened ‘Jennestad’s Good Clothing’ store in 1900 at 317 First Avenue opposite the Panida Theater. Many of Ole’s custom... Read more
These two buildings, built in 1906 costing $8,000 each, were identical in appearance until 1909 when the Hunt Building (323) was remodeled adding two more windows to the upper story and using cement block to contrast with the brick. D.E. Br... Read more
Built in 1909 by P.E. Bigelow who financed the construction of the building bearing his name, the ground floor housed the Cranston Brothers Hardware store till the early 1930s.
William August Bernd, born in Bernburg, Germany, arrived in Sandpoint in 1903. W.A. Bernd, 23 and unmarried, opened a dry goods store before commissioning the substantial two-story brick Bernd building in 1907. The second floor was a fourte... Read more
Part of the Historic District, this 1905 building was designed by J.K. Dow for owner C. R. Ross. The upper story contains two pair of arched windows joined by a continuous concrete sill that terminates in an elaborate scroll at each end. A ... Read more
This building, dating back to 1915, was originally the Saratoga Bar during the rough and wild era of Sandpoint. It later housed a cigar shop, jewelry store, a barber shop, a grocery store, a doctor’s office, a café and a music store. ...
A long-time tavern in Sandpoint, it was formerly known as The Diamond, and a diamond design can be seen on the front façade. A recent renovation uncovered murals that were painted by locally famed artist Gene Hayes. Hayes, a WWII veteran, ... Read more
This building complex has held many businesses over the years, including a notorious gambling hall, but was primarily known as the Pastime Sports Shop and the Pastime Café. The Pastime Café opened in 1941 and was a favorite meeting place ... Read more
Built as one of the many saloons in Sandpoint and operated by Bill Abbott until 1910 when Idaho went “dry,” the building has had various occupants. Used as a bakery for many years, it later became Sandpoint Saddlery, where cowboy boots... Read more
Built in 1908 as the Bonner Meat Company, this was a central location for local farmers to supply bountiful amounts of livestock. Providing meat both locally and regionally, the company prided itself on being an upscale meat market. The two... Read more
Built in 1906 and one of the first brick buildings in this section of the town it originally housed the C.J. Shoemaker Real Estate and Abstract (Title) Office. The second floor offices were occupied by Attorney Allen Asher and the Tigglebec... Read more


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