The Museum of North Idaho will close and reopen in 2024 in a white house in Coeur d’Alene that has already been moved to its new location. This city already considers itself the capital of the Idaho Panhandle that concludes at the Canadian border. Already up to 56,000 people, this city is expected to become one of the fastest growing towns in the United States during this century. Several Hollywood celebrities already consider it home and have a house or at least a presence here. This museum has been there for a long time and needs replacing. Financing it should not be a major problem despite the absence of McDonald money in funding it.
The Museum of North Idaho plans to close on October 29, 2022. It will reopen in 2024 in a relocated, historic house at 8th and Young Streets. A large, local home, the White House will have an expanded exhibit hall underground and is asking for donations to make this move possible. This city is already known for its very public art that is displayed all over town and is a tourist lure. It’s current population of retired and relocated people make it the major hub in Northern Idaho with Spokane, WA only 30 miles away.
Coeur d’ Alene’s biggest attraction is a lake, not the museum that I toured and is closing. Other tourists in the area tried to get Ruth and me interested in Lake Coeur d’ Alene. They said at the minimum we should see it and at the maximum take a cruise on it. This is certainly the thing to do here where the Spokane River and this mighty lake meet. We checked it out but did not seek to cruise it. We were far more interested in exploring Tubbs Hill. The other major attraction here appears to be a typical casino-resort. Weddings seem to be another serious activity here.
The Museum of North Idaho definitely needs to close. There is lots about Native Americans in it now, and many activities explored in it involved the Lake. Boat building was big, and the steamship was an important invention that affected this town. One of the first things I encountered in this museum was a sculpture of Harald Haarfager, a Viking King of Norway, who represented the large number of Scandinavians who settled here in the 19th and 20th centuries. Harald should be retired, but I fear I will see him again when the new museum in the white house opens. Plans involve moving many of the existing exhibits to the new museum. Settlers came here because of the wood available nearby and the many mountains nearby. The biggest industries were logging, mining, and activities that involved a large lake. Saw mills were everywhere even before the railroads came. General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame spent a lot of time at Fort Sherman. This Fort that he established and is named for him was intended to keep the peace between settlers and local Native Americans. This never works. There were exhibits in it about forest fires, Lake freight, and missionaries like Jesuit Father Desmet who established a mission at Cataldo up in the mountains, but I know that I will more likely remember the Mullan Road than any history of the area. This artery was the first highway in the Northwest. Connecting Fort Benton on the Missouri River and Fort Walla Walla, the Mullan was a major superhighway. There is a Mullan Street in Coeur d’Alene.