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Lakes and rivers provide a striking contrast to the lands surrounding Sandpoint, Idaho. A town of just over 7,500 located far north in the panhandle of the Gem State in Bonner County, Sandpoint is a glimmering jewel.
The history of Sandpoint as a settlement dates back to the year 1880 when Robert Weeks opened a general store and traded in furs. The town was known then and for a long time as “Pend Oreille” and actually existed east along the lakeshore from the current site.
The small community grew at a slow pace until the construction of the Great Northern Railroad in 1892. This railroad brought L.D. Farmin to Sandpoint as a Great Northern agent. He filed claim on the original town site and laid out Sandpoint in 1898, ten feet above the lake's high water mark.
As was the case with many early western towns, the city's early history was tied closely to the railroads, and to the timber industry as the Humbird and other area mills sought to harvest the timber resources of the region. In the early 1900s more than 200 men worked for the Humbird Mill in two shifts to keep up with demand.
Timber continued to play a major role in the local economy as Sandpoint became known for the cedar electric and telegraphy poles produced by area companies. The community continued to grow slowly until World War II brought the construction of Farragut Naval Base in Bayview. This “boot camp” trained over 300,000 seamen for duty in the war and introduced them to this region.