The first white man known to visit the Sandpoint area was David Thompson, the famous explorer and "land geographer." He, with partner "Big Finan" McDonald, established the Kullyspell House on the Hope Peninsula in 1809 as the first trading post in Idaho.
Kullyspell House survived for only two years, however, and it wasn't until the coming of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the early 1880s that permanent settlements took root. At that time, Hope and Clark Fork were established to help support the railroad building and operation.
The history of Sandpoint as a settlement dates back to the year 1880 when Robert Weeks opened a general store and dealt in furs. The town was known for a long time as Pend Oreille and actually existed east along the lakeshore from the current site.
The community grew slowly until the construction of the Great Northern Railroad in 1892. This railroad brought L.D. Farmin to Sandpoint as a Great Northern agent. He filed on the original town site and laid out Sandpoint in 1898, ten feet above the lake's high water mark.
The city's early history was tied closely to the railroads and to the timber industry as the Humbird and other area mills sought to harvest the timber resources of the region. In the early 1900s more than 225 men worked for the Humbird Mill in two shifts to keep up with demand.
Timber continued to play a major role in the local economy as Sandpoint became known for the cedar electric and telegraphy poles produced by area companies. However, the community grew slowly until World War II brought the construction of Farragut Naval Base in Bayview. This "boot" camp trained over 300,000 seamen for duty in the war and introduced them to this region.
After a slowdown following the war, our area has grown in spurts as disenchanted urbanites have sought the slower pace and physical beauty of north Idaho. It is expected that that growth will continue into the foreseeable future.