Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series of articles exploring the history of Bayview, Idaho, and its environs as the community celebrates its centennial.
Today, Bayview, Idaho, is a destination, a last stop for fishing, boating, camping and even a bit of work for those who call it home.
Long ago, it was merely a stopping point for Native Americans, pioneers, trappers and prospectors, whose hard work brought forth a small town on Lake Pend Oreille.
Three events coincided in 1910 to jump-start Bayview. The Prairie Development Co., out of Spokane, platted 27 blocks of narrow lots that became the core of Bayview. At the same time, C.E. Corbin, who built the Spokane International Railroad that reached from Spokane to just past the Canadian border, built a branch line into Bayview. It was called the Coeur d’Alene and Pend Oreille Railway.
With a railroad, the lime industry went into a boom period. Of course 1910 was also noted for a devastating forest fire which reached beyond Shoshone County. Fire in Athol burned east, sweeping through Belmont and over the backside of Bernard Peak. The entire Farragut peninsula burned, down to Scenic Bay. It swept east and joined the firestorm. Bayview itself was spared destruction.
The history of Bayview winds its way through several eras. Miners were the impetus for rapid growth starting in the 1860s. The primary trade route between Portland and the gold fields around what is now Helena ran through early Bayview and surrounding lands. Some miners got off the train on the north end of the lake, where they trekked up into the Canadian gold fields.
Paddlewheel steamboats pushed up the Columbia River through the rapids to Wallula, Wash. From there, pack trains and rugged wagons trekked to Spokane, where they climbed the daunting grade up from what is the Hangman Creek Valley, to the present level of Spokane proper. From there, pioneers went overland again to what was called Pend Oreille City, which was just one bay over and about two miles from what is now Bayview. Pend Oreille City only lasted six years, as the peaceful bay to the north was more practical for moorage and shelter. What is now Scenic Bay started out as many places did, as Squaw Bay, named for Indian encampments in the area now the town site. From Pend Oreille City, the first steamboat was operated. The Mary Moody, built downstream on the Pend Oreille River at a place called Seneacquoteen, which is across the river from present-day Laclede, replaced the motley assortment of canoes, flatboats and sailing vessels, as the primary carrier of mail, men and supplies to and up the Clark Fork River. The completed boat, owned by Zenas Moody, was named after his wife and became the first paddlewheeler on the lake. That was April 30, 1866. Early settlers arrived in Bayview and surrounding rural land starting at the turn of the century, with a homestead by Elmer E. Haddon, wife Ozelia and one child. The Haddons headed west from Nebraska in 1890. The period between 1890 and 1897, when Haddon filed his claim, is a bit hazy, but by the time they were done, 14 children were born to this couple. Theirs was a timber claim of 160 acres, near where Merryweather Road intersects with Perimeter in today’s Bayview. The great-great-granddaughter of Elmer, Jessica Haddon, resides here in Bayview. Her homesteading relatives left in 1907, but census tracts show Elmer returning to Bayview between 1920 and 1930. He died in Skagit County, Wash. in 1945. Jessica Haddon moved to Bayview after growing up in Western Washington.
Her father John Haddon lives in Ellensburg. John Haddon, the family historian, said, “This is really exciting, revisiting our great-grandfather’s homestead.” Many descendants of the early settlers are still here, but unrecognizable through marital name changes.John B. Leiberg arrived in 1900, buying 1,500 acres between Buttonhook Bay and what is now Scenic Bay. Leiberg was a botanist and surveyor who widely traveled the mountains of the area. A trail that ran from his homestead through some daunting mountains, behind Bernard Peak (named after his son Bernard), past the Bunco Ranger station and to the headwaters of the Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, was named after him.
Leiberg became involved in a dispute over a proposed railroad right of way that would run through his land. A lawsuit ensued and Leiberg ended up selling the right of way for the proposed railroad and the remaining bulk of the land to A.F. Blackwell.
Blackwell built and operated an electric railroad between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, owned the lumber mill in Spirit Lake and had many other ventures. His name resided on the Blackwell House, long a landmark on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene and Blackwell Hill just west of the Yacht Club on Blackwell Island, now the site of a large RV park. Alice Hammond Eaton, 85, a descendant of early settlers, still resides in Bayview and works every summer at Silverwood Theme Park in the housekeeping department. Her parents were Clarence Hammond and Pearl Burroughs Hammond. From that family sprung the Pecks, also still on the original homestead of their grandparents on Salee Creek Road and along Perimeter Road. Neil Peck manages the local water and sewer district. Alice Eaton’s cousin, Bob Peck, remembers many things about Bayview from his childhood. “Back in those days, everyone that lived here were workers,” he said. “No summer people had come to Bayview yet. Most either logged, worked for Washington Brick and Lime Co. or the railroad.”
Running a dairy farm on Blackwell Point were Jess and Annie Napier Puckett. They too had a large family, raising 11 children. The early Pucketts and Napiers ran a dairy on what was the Blackwell Ranch, now all a part of Farragut State Park.
Their son, Jess Puckett Jr., once owned a store and fishing guide business. He was shot to death by a customer who objected to being beaten up.
Ray Puckett, nephew of Jess, said, “The customer went home, picked up his rifle and returned, shooting Jess. The perpetrator got off, claiming self defense.”
Many families from the early days homesteaded timber claims. Many of those burned with the 1910 fire raging through portions of the area. Some families left after losing their timber.
The Napier family, Pucketts and Burroughses were intertwined, as most of them were either cousins or close friends. Between 1920 and 1925, these were some of the families that caused a population boom in Bayview.
Another was the Hammond family. Jon and Eva Mae Hammond moved to Bayview in the early 1900s. When the town was platted into lots, they settled in town. The young men of early Bayview were eager suitors. When A.W. Johnson, manager of Washington Brick and Lime moved into town, his daughter Alma was snapped up by Orfie Hammond. “A street in Bayview, Alma’s Court, lies just behind Ralph’s Internet Café,” Alice Eaton said. By the late 1800s, mining had started in the Lakeview area, across Lake Pend Oreille from Bayview. A gold and silver rush developed in which Lakeview ballooned into a rather large city. Much of that growth originated from Bayview and surrounding areas. Part of that mining was for limestone, a principal ingredient for cement. Huge deposits of limestone were found near Lakeview and in Bayview. In 1900, two large companies consolidated the various claims and started producing lime, the Portland International Cement Co. in Lakeview, and Washington Brick and Lime, in Bayview.
In Bayview, Washington Brick and Lime Co. tore down the old conical kilns and built five large draw kilns, still visible at the Scenic Bay marina. They expanded the quarries and installed milling equipment. A barrel factory and crushing plant were built and the industry cranked up to 75 barrels per day of pure lime.
Originally, lime was shipped to Hope by boat, then on to its destinations via the Northern Pacific Railway. In 1910, the Spokane International Railroad arrived. A branch line curved off to the east at Corbin Junction, then through Belmont and on down the length of what is now Farragut State Park and into Bayview. With the steam driven trains coming to Bayview, lime was freighted directly to the main line and on into Spokane. Passengers also found the route handy, as Spokane to Bayview tourism started. It hasn’t stopped yet.
A sturdy dock where JD’s Marina is today was the terminus of the spur that actually ran out into the lake so barges could load lime from the Portland Cement Co. across the lake just west of Lakeview. The gondola cars would load up six at a time on the barge and then the railroad cars would be hooked to an engine, which rolled them off the barge and onto the permanent tracks. The railroad ceased operations in 1939, about one year after the lime industry closed down. The old right of way is still visible along Hudson Bay Road.