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The first known human settlement in Idaho dates back more than 12,000 years. Archaeological evidence shows that early Native American tribes lived in the region, and artifacts from these settlements can be found in museums throughout the state.
Boundary County, located in northern Idaho, has a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Kootenai, Kalispel, and Nez Perce peoples. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources of the area, including fish from the rivers and game from the forests.

The region began to change in the mid-1800s with the arrival of European settlers. In 1864, the United States government established Fort Hall in present-day Bonners Ferry to assert control over the area and protect settlers from Native American conflicts. Around this time, gold was discovered in nearby British Columbia, leading to an influx of miners and prospectors passing through what would become Boundary County.

The county was officially created in 1915 when it was split from Bonner County. The name "Boundary" was chosen because the county is situated on the boundary between Idaho and British Columbia, Canada. The town of Bonners Ferry was designated as the county seat and remains its largest town to this day.

Over the years, logging became a major industry in Boundary County, with numerous mills operating in the area. The Great Depression, however, brought economic challenges to the region, impacting the timber industry and causing hardship for many residents. Despite these difficulties, the county has since diversified its economy, with agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism playing significant roles in recent decades.

Today, Boundary County retains its natural beauty and small-town charm, attracting visitors with its outdoor recreational opportunities and friendly community atmosphere. The county's history is celebrated through various historic sites and museums, offering glimpses into its past and the stories of those who have called Boundary County home throughout the years.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Boundary County, Idaho.

  • 1864 - Boundary County established as a county in the Idaho Territory.
  • 1865 - First known white settler, David Thompson, arrives in the area.
  • 1875 - Boundary County's first schoolhouse, the Hill School, is built.
  • 1886 - The Great Northern Railroad arrives, bringing increased commerce and growth to the area.
  • 1915 - The Kootenai National Forest is established, providing protection for the area's natural resources.
  • 1917 - The City of Bonners Ferry is incorporated.
  • 1936 - The Kootenai River is dammed to create the Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa.
  • 1975 - Idaho State Constitution is amended to allow the sale of liquor by the drink, benefiting the local economy.
  • 1994 - The Boundary County Historical Society and Museum is founded.
  • 2011 - The county celebrates its 150th anniversary.