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LaClede , Idaho


More History of LaClede

 

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Before the coming of the white man to the region, there was a place called Seneacquoteen. Because of theA scene displaying the beautiful area of LaClede ID, where residents enjoy peace and serenity in their days! plush meadows and easy access to the river it had, from time immemorial, it's been a camping place and a place of crossing for the Indians of the area. In fact, the name itself comes from the Kalispell or Pend Oreille language, and means "crossing."

The early fur traders followed the same trail and in 1864 the first ferry was built to go from Seneacquoteen to what is now Laclede. The gold rushes in Montana and British Columbia brought thousands of miners along the trail on their way to the digs. During this time a wagon road ran from Walla Walla, Washington as far as the Markham ferry. A pack trail ran from Laclede through Sandpoint and on to Bonners Ferry and it was called the Wild Horse Trail. 

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History of LaClede, Idaho

A photo taken of Lyman Markham's log cabin, where he lived and traded with the indians!The first white man to settle in the Laclede - Seneacquoteen area was Lyman Markham. In 1864, he built the first ferry across the Pend Oreille River from Seneacquoteen to Markham which was later renamed Laclede after a French engineer who worked on the Great Northern Railroad. Lyman Markham built a log cabin in which to live as well as trade with the Indians. 

Another picture of LaClede in its early years, not long after A.C. White and Lyman Markham began making use of the area!

In 1883 his brother Francis Markham, and his wife Elmina joined Lyman. They had seven children and had traveled from Astoria, Oregon by train and had arrived in Sandpoint on November 2. Elmina Markham recalled that there were no wagon roads from Sandpoint to Laclede and the family loaded into a leaky rowboat for the 18-mile trip. They arrived at the ferry well after dark. Elmina left us a picture of what their life along the Pend Oreille River was like. She stated that the closest white people to them lived in Sandpoint. Her only neighbors were Indians and at first she had difficulty understanding them but eventually she learned to "talk Indian." She found the Indians to be friendly, and established a good relationship with the Indian women.After the A.C. White mill was burnt down, many residents of LaClede urged Mr. White to rebuild in that same area, he chose a different approach, by actually moving the whole town by boat across the river!

It was in 1909 that a man came upon the scene that would change the little village of Laclede. His name was A.C. White, and he had had extensive lumber experience in Michigan. He bought the Laclede mill from Andy Christenson and immediately went to work. He hired another 100 men to start building a railroad up Riley Creek. This opened new territory from which to cut the logs needed at the mill. 

Laclede grew rapidily and many of the workers built their own homes. The old school building was replaced by a four-room school house. The religious and socialLaClede, ID becoming more modernized by the day! life of Laclede kept pace with the town's growth. Everything went well for thirteen years until disaster struck on August 17, 1922. The A.C. White Mill and all its outbuildings burned in just a matter of hours. Along with the mill there was over a square mile of dry and cured lumber that went up in smoke. All the workers could do was watch as stack after stack of the lumber burned.
 

These articles were written by Bob Gunter and detail some of the early history of Sandpoint and Bonner County. Most of the photos were provided by the Bonner County Historical Society and have been used with their permission.
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This is a picture of LaClede in its early years, when the lumber mills were first being built, and the town was becoming established more by each passing day!

In 1885 Francis Markham purchased the ferry from his brother and the Markham family ran it for many years. Lyman Markham moved about two miles up river to a farm. In that same year people slowly started coming into the area. In 1901 Andy Christenson built a sawmill in Laclede. Over 100 men were employed at the mill and others were put to work in the logging camps that provided the mill with logs. Laclede began to grow to meet the needs of the workmen and their families. There was a school, houses for the workers, a boarding house for the single man, a mercantile store, and a post office. Laclede was building up around the Laclede Lumber Company owned by Christenson.

Many of the residents of Laclede urged White to rebuild in Laclede. White knew that time was of the essence and if he did not get back in operation he could lose many of his eastern customers. Instead of building in Laclede he bought the mill that was located in Dover, just 10 miles upstream. One by one the houses were moved from Laclede by barge. White's summer home was moved and converted to a church. The church still stands in Dover and is used regularly. By late fall of 1923 Laclede was almost a ghost town.

Today Laclede is home to the Riley Creek Mill, and to many people who have retired there to partake of it's peace and serenity.

 

   
 
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