Bonners Ferry’s quasquicentennial birthday April 1

By Mike Weland

Sue Kemmis
A big “thank you” goes out to Boundary County Museum historian Sue Kemmis for her research and willingness to share.

It was 125 years ago this week and the Kootenai Herald, the pioneer paper of Kootenai County, Idaho, advertised that everything was new the International Hotel, a first class house with modern conveniences where one could get “slendid” (sic) meals, and that you could enjoy the finest grades of wines, liquors and cigars at the Hotel Casey Bar. Over at the Presbyterian Church, kids from the Public School were getting excited to be putting on “an entertainment” under the direction of Professor H.A. Snyder, principal, and Miss Jennie Joyce, primary teacher. And that week a consolidation ordinance was signed.

On Friday, March 17, 1899, G.R. Gray, chairman of the Village of Bonnerport, and S.D. Taylor, Chairman of the Village of Eaton, along with the Boards of Trustees of said villages, in joint session assembled, They there ordained to consolidate their two villages, effective April 1 hence, and from them a new village, Bonners Ferry, be formed.

“It is no Longer Eaton, Bonnerport nor Bonner’s Ferry, but “Bouners (sic) Ferry,” Leaving off the Apostrophe-so it is Ordained and Provided,” Herald staff published inside in Local News Items, establishing the only business tradition still alive today in Bonners Ferry to have existed since Bonners Ferry began, the endearing weekly Herald typo hunt. I contributed many during my time reporting there in the early 90s!

On March 25, the Herald ran notice that “on Tuesday, the Fourth Day of April, 1899, at the office of Charles O’Callaghan, Justice of the Peace, of Bonners Ferry, in the County of Kootenai, State oft Idaho, an election will be held for the purpose of electing Five Trustees, for the village of Bonners Ferry, in said county and state; which election shall be open at Nine o’clock a.m. and will continue until Seven o’clock p.m. of the same day. Frank M. Lucas, Clerk of the Village of Bonners Ferry.”

The first Bonners Ferry town election was held on Tuesday, April 4, 1899, and on Saturday, April 8, the Kootenai Herald reported the election of trustees Wm. VanGasken, W.L. Kinnear, chairman, Frank M. Lucas, James Casey and Julius Quist. S.D. Taylor was appointed village clerk and E.L. Little treasurer.

“As to the new trustees, like their predecessors, they have the confidence of the public, being representative citizens,” the Herald brief concluded, “and a good business administration will result.”

Kootenai Herald