By Jack Flinn
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Looking Back is a column by Jack Flinn remembering yesteryear in Bonners Ferry and Boundary County. If you have memories or comments, feel free to e-mail Jack at

'The Mighty Kootenai'

The following, an excerpt from the poem "At the Canyon," was written by Martin M. Fry, in 1876 Bonners Ferry's first permanent white resident, and sent to his grandson, Charles L. Fry, in a letter in 1930.

Fire at the Chinese laundry

Well, looking back into my memory I recall a fire. It was in the early 1950s, not sure of the exact year.

Boundary County celebrates 98 years

January 23, 2013: On this day in 1915, Bonner County, Idaho, was split and a new county, named Boundary, was created, with its county seat established in Bonners Ferry.

A look back at Pace-Kerby

The Pace-Kerby Insurance Agency was started in 1914 by a young lawyer named Frank Bottum. O.C. Wilson joined his brother-in-law in the business in 1916. In 1920, Mr. Bottum left and the business became the O.C. Wilson Insurance Agency.

Looking to solve a mystery in Copeland

I received an interesting email yesterday from Claudia and David, and I'd like to see if any of you can shed some light on the mystery. They live at the old Bill Leech place on Holmes Road in Copeland, and they say there are several people buried there, most of them, according to what they were told, with the last name Ball.

Remembrance of the '48 flood

"Two months before the '48 flood, we moved to our home on the South Hill. Three families stayed with us, and I converted my old Texaco service station (now Mugsy's) into headquarters for dike walkers. When the flood came, I can still remember the water coming across Main Street. It didn't upset us much because everybody in town was working together and pulled together."

A tale of two cities

The city of Bonners Ferry is the result of a merger of two cities. On February 1, 1892 , the town of Eaton was created by resolution of the Kootenai County Commissioners.

The Bonners Ferry Flood of 1916

The weather was cold until late May, then came June with real warm days. The town and valley had no dikes, and the river filled fast. People began to vacate their homes and moved possessions to higher ground.

Grave in Round Prairie

Joe Vevera committed suicide with a shotgun in a house later lived in by Milt Branson in year 1903 or 1911 ... not sure which. He's buried alongside what is now Highway 95. The headstone was turned around to face Highway 95 later, but the grave was never moved.

Drowning in the fairgrounds parking lot

As I recall from by childhood days, sometime in the 1953-1956 era, it was early spring and high water time on the Kootenai. The fairgrounds parking lot wasn't as we now know it; back then it was a low, large bowl. It has been filled with gravel since this story. Water had seeped into the parking lot back then and created a large pond, irresistible to adventurous youngsters.