Friday, August 29, 2014

Take a Drive Through North Idaho's Past

by Jennifer Lamont Leo

A new book by North Idaho author and professional historian Nancy Foster Renk is a treasure not only for residents and visitors to northern Idaho, but for anyone interested in how the American Northwest developed in the late 19th and early-mid 20th centuries, particularly the logging and railroad industries, but also the daily lives of ordinary people making a living and raising families in this beautiful, rugged terrain.

Driving Past: Tours of Historical Sites in Bonner County, Idaho is a collection of turn-by-turn driving tours to sites that have played important roles in North Idaho's past and present, along with gems of local lore and old photographs to accompany each tour. Topics include:

  • The historic railways: Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Spokane International
  • Explorer David Thompson and the trading post he established near present-day Hope
  • The development of Sandpoint from a collection of ramshackle shacks along Sand Creek to today's thriving and beautiful metropolis
  • The majestic Albeni Falls Dam
  • Farragut Naval Training Station, once a thriving military center, now an attractive park
  • Nell Shipman's silent-film-era movie studio at Lionhead Lodge
  • and much, much more.

So whether you hop in your car for a leisurely jaunt (and on a beautiful long weekend like this one, who wouldn't want to?), or simply enjoy browsing the stories and photos from your favorite sofa,I hope you'll give Driving Past a try. (I love that cover, the old image superimposed over the new.)  You can order a copy from the Bonner County Historical Society at 208-263-2344 or, or pick it up at the Bonner County Museum gift shop, Vanderford's, Common Knowledge, and the Corner Bookstore in Sandpoint, Hastings in Coeur d'Alene, or Bonners Books in Bonners Ferry. (Support your local bookseller!)

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