Historical Driving Tour: Spirit Lake

Roads Less Traveled Through the Coeur d'Alenes

The next installment in our local historical driving tour takes us about 12 miles north of Rathdrum to another little town called Spirit Lake. This was actually the first tour Lyle and I did from the Roads Less Traveled book, so my pictures are from last fall.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

Another special old church badly in need of restoration. The book says it was built in 1909 and was the Catholic church until 1966. From a 10-year-old article I found online I learned that the building has been used for a variety of things in the past 50 or so years. The original stained glass windows and bell were long since removed. The sign on the building indicates that someone hopes to eventually restore it, or at least make it usable again.

Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church is around the corner. They apparently built their “new” church on the same property and the old church (also built in 1909) is used by the Priest River Ministries Advocates for Women. Or at least that’s who was in it last November. I think maybe they have moved since then, so I don’t know what the building is being used for now.

Presbyterian Church

One more historic church–aren’t they all just so interesting? They don’t seem to make churches like these any more.

The Presbyterians apparently were ahead of the Catholics and Lutherans as this church was built about 1908. It appears to still be in use as a church.

I would love to go inside these old churches.

White Horse Saloon

Apparently, though, historic Spirit Lake wasn’t completely religious. Over on Maine Street (yes, spelled with an E) we found the White Horse Saloon which boasts of the longest continual liquor license in the state of Idaho. The book said there was a law that alcohol could only be served to those who were renting a room in the establishment, thus the hotel.

I guess that’s one way to help curb drunk driving. But then, I doubt very many Idahoans had cars in 1909.

I.O.O.F. Building

Notice the 3 round windows? Supposedly they signify that the building was once the International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge.

Digression: I wonder why it’s called Odd Fellows? I’m not sure I’d want to be known as an Odd Fellow.

And what do round windows have to do with anything?

Wikipedia fails to satisfy my curiosity. Anybody know?

Houses Built for Mill Executives

These houses were built around 1907 for bigwigs in the Panhandle Lumber Company.

Masonic Temple

On the outskirts of town, up in the woods a bit, we found another lodge building. This one predates the town. It was already here when the surveyors came in 1904. It became the Masonic Lodge in 1910.

On the same property we also found a…

Log Cabin

It was a way station for travelers going to Oregon from Canada and was the second Spirit Lake Post Office.

I wonder where the first one was? I’m sure it doesn’t exist any more.

That wraps up our tour of Spirit Lake.

We’ll have to wait and see what the next tour will be, because we haven’t taken it yet!

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  • Dan Koehler

    I’m the new pastor at Spirit Lake Presbyterian Church. We still use the old 1908 building. We’d love to have you join us any time! Our Sunday service is at 9:00 AM.

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