Historical Marker in
Pend Oreille County, Washington

The state's official state fruit is the apple, and Washington produces more apples than any other state in the country.
Pend Oreille County, Washington, has a rich and varied history that dates back thousands of years. Originally inhabited by Indigenous peoples such as the Kalispel and Spokane tribes, the area thrived with abundant natural resources and trade routes along the Pend Oreille River and surrounding waterways.

European exploration of the region began in the 18th century, with fur trappers and explorers venturing into the area. The first permanent settlers arrived in the mid-1800s, encouraged by the discovery of gold and opportunities for logging and agriculture. The arrival of the Great Northern Railway in the late 19th century further boosted the county's growth and connected it to the rest of the region.

Pend Oreille County played a significant role in the development of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest. The vast forests provided jobs and resources, leading to the establishment of sawmills and logging camps. The timber industry remained a major economic driver for many decades, shaping the communities and way of life in the county. In the early 20th century, electricity production also became important, with dams being built along the Pend Oreille River to harness the power of its flowing waters.

Today, Pend Oreille County continues to be deeply connected to its natural surroundings. The county's stunning landscape, including rivers, lakes, and mountains, attracts outdoor enthusiasts and tourists alike. The communities within the county have diversified their economies, embracing industries such as tourism, recreation, and agriculture. While the timber industry has seen a decline, efforts to promote sustainable logging practices and conservation have gained importance. Pend Oreille County remains a vibrant and evolving part of Washington state, holding both a strong historical legacy and a promising future.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Pend Oreille County, Washington.

  • 1809: David Thompson, a North West Company fur trader, explores the area
  • 1846: Oregon Treaty establishes the U.S./British border, including the area that becomes Pend Oreille County
  • 1865: Gold is discovered in the area, leading to a gold rush
  • 1901: The Great Northern Railway reaches the region, boosting economic development
  • 1911: Pend Oreille County is officially established
  • 1955: Albeni Falls Dam is completed, providing hydroelectric power and flood control
  • 1970s: Uranium mining takes place in the county
  • 1982: Pend Oreille County Historical Society is formed to preserve local history
  • 1991: Box Canyon Dam is completed, adding to the hydroelectric power in the area
  • 2001: Pend Oreille County celebrates its centennial