Saturday, August 29, 2009
Logging has been big business in North Idaho since the late 1800's. While modern equipment has improved safety and efficiency, olden times saw very dangerous and difficult work. Timber was often felled in the winter and logs run down flumes to a river where they would be floated toward sawmills. High waters of spring were when most of these log drives were run. But with a wild river ran and receding waters, lots of logs were hung up along the river.
To free these logs, river rats worked from the head of the drive, down river. Using boats to move workers, these hearty men stood in ice cold waters and worked peevees and pike poles (see photo) to roll logs back into the flow. Often jams were so tight they had to blast them with dynamite.
The men lived on Wanigans, 2-3 connected barges that had a kitchen/mess hall, sleeping quarters and equipment. The Wanigan was moved down river along with the drive, drives lasting anywhere from a week or two to a month or more.
Dad was contracted by Potlatch to make a 16mm film called From Forest to Home which started with felling and ended with lumber ready for construction. This was 1966 and Dad filmed what would be the last log drive in America, on the Clearwater River. By that time, flumes were out and trucks were used. The above photo is from that excursion and shows men trying break free a jam.
I was maybe 11 and got to go with Dad on this trip and I will always cherish the memories of this long gone operation. We got to tour and have lunch on the Wanigan (good cooks were highly valued and the fresh banana cream pie was the best I ever had).
Also filming during this drive was Walt Disney Studios for the movie Charlie the Lonesome Cougar that was released in 1967. It was the tale of a cougar raised by loggers and the misadventures of this combination. The filming was complete and while I didn't see any Hollywood activity, I did get to visit Charlie who was in a big cage on the back of the Wanigan. The movie was narrated by cowboy singer Rex Allen who did a number of similar films for Disney. Rex was a friend of my dad's and I remember him as a very warm and funny man. He'd always stop by when he was in the area and he always clowned around to my delight.
Anyways, I've been reading local history books and about the lives of loggers, and of the many lives lost. Looking back I am blessed to have had a father with whom I got to experience so many wonderful things. I ran across this photo recently and felt compelled to write this blog. If you find this interesting I urge you to read the books Hardships & Happy Times, Caulked Boots, Swiftwater People and North Fork of the CdA River by Bert Russell (buy at the Museum of North Idaho) and/or White Pine: King of Many Waters by Clarence Strong and Clyde Webb.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It's 1957 and the Dancewana is pulling out, or should I say is being pulled out, with a load of young ladies ready for a day on beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene.
I say pulled out because the Dancewana was really just a barge. On the left you can see part of the Sea-we-wana (correct spelling?) that was the power sister to the Dancewana.
Steamboats may have plied the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene in the early half of the 1900's but in the middle of the century this was about all that was left of the lake's tourism business. The Dancewana was then what the CdA Resort's fleet is today. Other photos I've seen show the decks loaded with sailors from Faragut NTS, all no doubt hoping to snag one of the local lovelies like seen here.
Now here's where I'm asking for help with info. Did the Dancewana end up as the Mish-a-Nock? Wasn't the Sea-we-wana purposefully sunk about 20 years ago to provide divers a piece of history to explore?
Correct or confirm please.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The top photo is of the "new" North Shore Motor Inn. I'd guess mid to late 60's. Looking around it you can see the outdoor pool at center rear and convention center on the east end. Above the North Shore is Templin's, the Desert Hotel across the street and Playland Pier closer to the park. Just east of the convention center is Inland Marine and you can clearly see that boat docks were aplenty.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Ozzie Walch was an interesting guy. He was a yell leader at the U of Idaho, I wish I had a copy of the photo of him with the megaphone. He was known as The Wizard of Oz and had a CdA Lake resort with the Land of Oz theme. And he was a real estate pioneer of sorts for lake property as this ad shows.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Ah yes, City Beach and the Park. It's been a popular place for decades. I'm guessing the first photo was taken in the late 1940's. Note where the steps go from the park, a ramp crosses the beach and goes out to the docks. Fully dressed people, including a sailor, are on the dock.
The lower photo was probably taken in the late 1950's. You can see more docks and Playland Pier in the background. The porthole windows were the doors on changing rooms. Those were removed in later years, I don't remember them. Also visible are the carousel, rockoplane, ferris wheel and swings. The swings were a favorite because you literally swung out over the water on the ride. The buildings behind housed the bumper cars, the arcade and snack bar.