OURS IS A SPECIAL COMMUNITY! We’re blessed with natural beauty that most people can only dream about, plus a true, four-season climate that brings unique beauty no matter the season. Whether you enjoy lakes or mountains in the great outdoors or world class amenities in a friendly indoor environment, Coeur d’Alene has a lot to offer you. Even more than the outstanding beauty of the area, it is the people who have chosen to live here that makes Coeur d’Alene such a special place to be. It is their energy and vision that have created a quality of life that we who live here are proud to enjoy. We invite you to share it with us either as a full-time resident or as a visitor.
- Coeur d’Alene
- Post Falls
- Spirit Lake
- St. Maries
- Priest Lake
- Bonners Ferry
- Priest River
- Hauser Lake
Our Communities Are Rich In History
Indians Acquire New Name For thousands of years, this area was the homeland of the Sahlish speaking Schee-Chu-Umsh. In the early 19th century, when explores and fur traders began to move into the Northwest, the Schee-Chu-Umsh acquired the French name Coeur d’Alene, translated “heart of awl,” meaning hearts like the point of an awl. The tribe embraced Catholicism on the wings of an old legend: a Coeur d’Alene chief, called Circling Raven, had a vision that men wearing black robes would bring a great spiritual truth to his people. In the spring of 1842 Father DeSmet met with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and by 1853 the Tribe, with the help of a few Jesuits, had constructed Sacred Heart Mission on a knoll overlooking the Coeur d’Alene River.
Idaho’s First Road
In 1853 General Isaac Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory, came through with a survey party in search of a northern route for a transcontinental road. Stevens recommended to the Congress that the proposed route should cross the Bitterroot Mountains and follow the south fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. The 624mile road, which became known as the Mullan Road, after Captain John Mullan who supervised the construction, was completed in 1862. It served as a military road, as a settler’s route, a supply route for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and would provide access to the Coeur d’Alene Mining District.
A Military Presence
Camp Coeur d’Alene was established at the headwaters of the Spokane River. Fort Sherman was the beginning of a pioneer village that became the city of Coeur d’Alene. In 1898, the entire Fort Sherman garrison was sent to fight in the Spanish-American War. The post was officially abandoned in 1901. Today, the original grounds are the site of North Idaho College. The first sawmill in the Coeur d’Alenes was built by the military at Fort Sherman. The first commercial sawmill was operated by Frederick Post on the Spokane River in 1880. The Coeur d’Alenes and much of northern Idaho had immense stands of white pine and met all the conditions for logging, including transcontinental railroads to take the lumber to market. Many of the towns in northern Idaho began as logging centers.
Rush For Gold & Silver
Rumors about the presence of gold in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains date back to the early 1860s when the Mullan Road was built. Some 20 years later a veteran prospector, Andrew J. Prichard, discovered gold near the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. In 1884 silver was discovered on the south side of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, near Wallace. By 1890 most of the great silver mines of the Coeur d’Alenes had been discovered. Wallace became the hub of one of the richest mining districts in the world. Over $5 billion worth of metals has been extracted from the Coeur d’Alene Mining District. The Coeur d’Alene Mining District claims many records for silver production: The deepest, the Star Morning Mine at Burke (7,000 feet deep); The richest, the Sunshine Mine on Big Creek (over 300 million ounces of silver produced) The biggest, now closed, Bunker Hill (over 180 miles of underground workings).
Trains, Boats & People
The discovery of gold and silver coincided with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which connected Lake Superior to the Puget Sound. By 1915 Coeur d’Alene had shipping facilities on five transcontinental railroads, plus an interurban electric railroad that maintained hourly transportation between Spokane, WA and Coeur d’Alene. A fleet of steamboats offered tourist excursions as an extension to rail access to Spokane and the Northwest. By 1910 Coeur d’Alene was known as the convention city of Idaho.