Just as Coeur d'Alene Lake served as the traditional focus of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, it is the center of the Coeur d'Alene community today. The lake, during all seasons, remains the heart of our area.
Early French-speaking fur traders named Coeur d'Alene Lake. According to legend, the traders believed the local Indians to be sharp traders and called the lake Coeur d'Alene since their hearts were as sharp as an awl. In 1878 Fort Sherman was established and the city began to grow. Coeur d'Alene was incorporated in 1887 and continued to flourish. It's a town with a rich background in lake steamers, fur trading, logging and mining.
Until the early 1890's, Coeur d'Alene served as the railroad/steamboat transfer point for transportation between the mines in the Silver Valley to the east and the smelters they fed. The area continued to prosper in the early 1900's when a major timber boom caused the population to increase 16-fold in a period of 10 years. The city continued to expand from a small frontier village into the political and business center of Kootenai County and became the County seat in 1908.
Today, Coeur d'Alene remains the center of business and recreational activities in the Inland Northwest complete with festivals, fairs, concerts, unique bistros, and elegant restaurants, main street and mall shopping and much more. Its strong presence is found in state government and its increase economic development over the past several years is remarkable. Coeur d'Alene continues to grow and prosper in the new millennium.
For more information on the history of Coeur d'Alene visit the Museum of North Idaho's web site at http://www.museumni.org
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