By Ben Olson
This is the fifth and final installment of a series exploring the origins of where we got some of our placenames from. Last week, we covered Travers Park, Dufort, Culver, Ellisport Bay, Westmond and Samuels.
This has been a great experience researching these placenames and talking with local historians. Thanks for all the great feedback.
Whiskey Jack / Rock
There is not much information about whom or what Whiskey Jack Road east of Sandpoint was named for. No mentions of this term are found in the digital newspaper archive until 1970 when a housing community project was built and marketed for sale just east of Kootenai alongside Lake Pend Oreille. The project concept originally called for the construction of 250 condo units and 150 mobile home sites along Boyer Slough. Located on the east side of Lake Pend Oreille, Whiskey Rock’s etymology is also murky. One tale shared by historian James Carl Dahl claims the name was given because of a bet made on a swimming match with the winner to receive a jug of whiskey. Another story suggested that the name was given because two men were forced to stay there with only their bedding and a jug of whiskey after being caught in a storm on the lake. As with many instances involving whiskey, we may never know the difference between fact and fiction.
This community west-southwest of Sandpoint was originally named Welty. Dr. O.S. Welty was the president of the Dover Lumber Co. which laid out a mill town in 1906. Four years later, the town’s name was changed to Dover to match the lumber company’s name, as well as to commemorate the Canal Dover, Ohio origins of the principle stockholders of the company. The Dover Lumber Co. closed in 1920, but the community saw new life when a spectacular fire claimed the Laclede sawmill in 1922. Laclede’s owner A.C. White chose to purchase the defunct Dover mill instead of rebuilding in Laclede. Since Dover didn’t have enough housing for mill workers, White arranged to have 55 buildings barged to the Dover townsite, including an 80- by 200-foot warehouse.
Located about five miles south of Cocolalla, the settlement of Careywood was first known as King’s Spur. In 1907, a Helen and Charles Severance bought 160 acres and established a post office, renaming the settlement Severance. A small sawmill was also located in Severance, employing about 60 men. In 1910, the Michigan Land and Lumber Co. bought Severance’s original 160 acres along with other tracts of land in the area. The company’s owners were John and Clarence Carey, who planned to develop a new town and name it Careywood. The company built a new sawmill in 1911, but the town’s development was arrested just two years later when the Michigan Land and Lumber Co. declared bankruptcy. Despite the economic failure of the company, a hotel and post office remained in Careywood.
According to Nancy Foster Renk’s book “Driving Past,” in 1892, just after the Great Northern Railway line was completed along the Pend Oreille River, government surveyors met a man named Carey Carr who lived in a cabin on the north bank of the river. Carey and Arthur E. Carr had staked adjoining homestead claims which extended along the river and back into the hills, following the creek west of Sandpoint that now bears their name.
The bay on Lake Pend Oreille was named in honor of the 20th president, James A. Garfield. A settler named Charles Flatz apparently greatly admired the president, who shared his Ohio roots. Renk believes Flatz probably named the bay at some point in the 1890s.
Obviously, this bay was named because its shape resembled a bottle.
This small settlement in the Spirit Valley was likely formed earlier than 1888, when a one-room school house was constructed. The settlement was originally called White after William A. White, the first postmaster in 1903 who owned land on the north side of town. In 1908, after train lines began running through the area, White was renamed Blanchard after Joe Blanchard, an early settler. Blanchard owned a homestead on a nearby creek which also bears his name.
This small town located on the southern tip of Priest Lake was originally named for Andy Coolin, a man who arrived to the area at some point before 1892. By 1896, government surveyors had noted a few houses, a barn, a post office and a Brown Brothers store. Coolin was later renamed Williams while Walt Williams served as postmaster, but the name eventually reverted back to Coolin as it’s still known today.
Special thanks to local historians like Nancy Foster Renk, James Carl Dahl and Bob Gunter, whose work I have checked to verify my conclusions. Also, very special thanks to the Bonner Co. Historical Society and Museum for keeping history alive. Check out Renk’s book “Driving Past: Tours of Historical Sites in Bonner County, Idaho” for a treat. Also, “Bonner County Place Names” by James Carl Dahl was a great resource – both available at the Museum.
Final thought: The best way to keep history alive is to donate to the Bonner Co. History Museum. Their staff and volunteers are all passionate about honoring our region’s storied history. Please consider your next charitable contribution to go toward the Museum.
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