The discovery of gold in British Columbia and western Montana Territory in the 1860s made the waterways of North Idaho attractive routes to the goldfields that people were ready to exploit.
Regional history writer Linda Hackbarth will discuss her book on the subject – “Trail to Gold: The Pend Oreille Route” – Wendesday, July 23, at 7 p.m., at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave.
Published this year by the Museum of North Idaho the book tells the story of the Oregon & Montana Transportation Co., a subsidiary of Oregon Steam Navigation (OSN). When new gold discoveries were announced in southern British Columbia and western Montana Territory, OSN President John Ainsworth and others made plans to capitalize on trade up the Columbia through northern Idaho Territory by building steamboats on Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River.
Hackbarth, uses the journals of Seth Luen Pope found at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland to add color and authenticity to her story. Pope’s accounts are supplemented by those of William Penn Abrams, builder of the first steam sawmill in Portland and later owner of The Dalles Lumber & Manufacturing Co.
The author retired to her vacation home on Lake Pend Oreille in 1996, after 34 years in the field of education. She earned a B.S. from Miami University and M.S. from the University of Oregon, before taking post-graduate courses at Michigan State University. Her teaching assignments ranged from the elementary grades through university level.
During her career she accepted positions with the Department of Defense in England and as an exchange teacher in Australia. Prior to retiring, she lived in Pullman, Wash., for 24 years, where she was an assistant professor at Washington State University and later a middle school teacher.
Her interest in history arose from her travels and from years as a sixth-grade teacher, but was ignited when she came to realize that the chronicled histories of Bayview and Lake Pend Oreille were missing many intriguing facts and stories. Hackbarth assumed the task of gathering old photos, interviewing local residents, writing the stories of the past, and running the Bayview Historical Society. She has shared her interests as a speaker throughout North Idaho and in Spokane through her membership in the Westerners Corral.
To date she has produced a DVD, “Bayview: The Early Years,” and has written a book, “Bayview and Lakeview and Other Early Settlements on Southern Lake Pend Oreille,” in cooperation with the Museum of North Idaho. She continues to add photos to a pictorial book containing more tha 350 historic images which she produces and sells locally. She was honored by the Museum of North Idaho with their 2010 Friend of History Award.
Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315.