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Historic Hotels in Idaho

May 18, 2016
  • Facts & Insights
  • History & Area Info

Idaho, established as a territory in 1863 after the discovery of gold, is nicknamed the Gem State for its abundance of natural resources. Snow-capped scenic mountain ranges located around the state contain a host of mineral veins such as gold, silver, lead, copper and gems including star garnets, jasper and opals. With a multitude of lakes and rivers bustling of rainbow trout and countless other species, it attracts sportsmen and recreationalist alike. The famous Snake River rushes through Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in the North American continent. Approximately 63% of the states’ land is public and managed by the federal government. In the southern portion of the state are the Oregon Trail and the California Trail, historic pioneer trails cut across the Idaho ranch land where wagon ruts can still be seen. With its roots deep in mining, sport recreation and farming, the state has a lot of history to appreciate.

For the modern traveler wishing to step back in time, it is well worth a visit to the Riverside Hot Springs Hotel in Lava Hot Springs in south east Idaho. Built in 1914 by a man who was known as “Billy”, the location quickly became dubbed the “Honeymoon Hotel.” The spot was chosen due to the nearby mineral water that could be used for therapeutic baths. Large cement tubs were created to capture the water which became known for its healing properties. Later, doctors open offices on site at the hotel and in 1918 it became a makeshift hospital during a fierce flu epidemic. Today the chemical-free hot mineral springs continue to flow at the hotel. The hotel features 18 guest rooms, a spa, a full service lounge and dining.

Another historic stop for an overnight stay is the Roosevelt Inn.  Although it is Coeur d’Alene’s oldest standing school house, erected in 1905 the original four rooms were converted in 1994 into a 5 story bed and breakfast with 14 rooms. The original floor, banister and some school desks are still in tacked from the original schoolhouse. The wide staircase was disassembled and restructured to accommodate the new multiple stories. A chandelier was rescued from the old opera house located nearby before it was torn down. The owners make you feel like you feel welcome with special attention to details like lemonade in your room upon arriving. The inn is just a short .3 miles from Lake Coeur d’Alene and 1 mile from Lewis-Clark State College.  

For those interested in a modern-world escape to a real ghost-town setting, the Idaho Hotel in Silver City is just the place. A long dirt road winds up to Silver City and sets the tone as the mostly-abandoned mining town comes into view. With almost no cell-phone coverage and no electricity the 150 year old hotel operates on gas and solar. The Idaho Hotel fits right in to its surroundings with its authentic curb appeal. While originally built in Ruby City it was moved to Silver City when the town moved for economic reasons. Dismantled and transported on sleds pulled by oxen through the snow it was reassembled in its current location. Upon entering the hotel a true sense of the 1800s sweeps over you. The lobby of the hotel and the dining room resembles a miniature old-west museum. The bar room, ornamented with the most expensive mirror in Silver City still stands proudly. Great functions were held at the hotel as well as some unsocial interactions including fights and shutouts. Today the hotel is a quiet getaway from the busy world but it is suggested to make a reservation!  

If you happen to be in Idaho looking for a ranch for sale, make a point of stepping back in time and exploring Idaho’s historic past.