A Proud History, a Dynamic Present and a Challenging Future

Time immemorial Ice dams within the Purcell trench at the mouth of the Clarks Fork River release walls of water from Lake Missoula leaving it’s mark on the area now know as Dover.
The Kalispel, a tribe of Native Americans also known as Pend d'Oreilles, are living around Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. They are one of the three tribes of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. ”Pend Oreille” is French for "hangs from ears," referring to the large shell earrings the people wore. The Kalispel are generally a peaceable people.

1809 David Thompson, fur trader, explorer and map maker working for the North West Company visits the Kalispel Tribe and trades with them. He produces the first known historical documents about the Tribe.

1810 Records from the Lewis & Clark expedition estimate the Kalispel population to be approximately 1,600. The Kalispel hunt and fish along the Pend Oreille River banks.

1875-1885 European settlement increases.

1883 Northern Pacific Railroad line along the north side of the Pend Oreille River is complete giving rise to the communities of Dover and Laclede. Chinese workers on the railroad join the population.

1894 Flood levels crest at 2076 feet.

1907 Idaho State Legislature approves the split of Bonner County from Kootenai County. May 14, the Dover Lumber Mill begins operations with the planner operations opening in July. Up to 40,000,000 feet of white and western pine were manufactured, handled and shipped via the Great Northern Railroad.

February 1, 1908 The area which became the core of the City of Dover, was platted. O.S. Welty, President of Dover Lumber Company, named it Welty, Bonner County Idaho.

1915 Boundary County is split from Bonner County

1921 Monday through Saturday mill workers from A.C. White Mill of Laclede (later Dover) fed the lumber mills but on Sunday men and women enjoy the county’s favorite pastime, Baseball.

1922 Fire at the A.C. White Lumber Mill in Laclede, Idaho totally destroys the mill but 41 of the mill homes, the church, and general store survive. Only a few homes along the shores of the Pend Oreille River including Mr. White’s summer home exist. After Mr. White purchased the defunct Dover Lumber Mill, Captain Elliot of Northern Navigation contracts to move the remaining homes, store and church by barge up the Pend Oreille River and then transport them by horse to the present site of the City of Dover.

1923 The community is growing. By February electricity to the homes is no longer provided from the company generators but by Mountain States Power. A. F. White, brother of A.C. White the mill owner, reopens his Baptist Church although it is temporarily holding services in the Community Building until the church building is remodeled. The first annual “Dover Picnic” is held to raise money to move Mr. White’s cottage to Dover from Laclede. By fall of 1923 school is being held in Dover.

1926 Dover leads the county baseball team standings with six wins and only two losses while the Humbird (Sandpoint) team’s season is a miserable one with five losses and only three wins! According to a newspaper article September 9, “Sunday at Dover, the Sandpoint team hung to the thirteenth inning before going under 3 to 2. Ferguson, pitching for Dover, had a shade the best duel with Demers of Sandpoint and allowed the Sandpoint team but 4 hits while Dover nicked Demers for 9 hits. Dover’s hits were scattered and all the scoring is due to breaks in the game or errors, while brilliant fielding by Dover cut down Sandpoint’s attacks.” Rivalry between the two cities remains strong to this day.

1936 The Dover Elementary School 3 and 4th grade teacher is Bertha Egbert, students are Erma Perry, Betty Clark, Gladys Bailey, Elane Shaffer, Evelyn and James Ferguson, Minnie and Julia Crabtree, Crystal Henderson, Wilma Fromm, Naomi Walker, Doris Doyle, Norma Kruger, Albert Stoner, Glen Chronic, Ray Walson, Bobby Rockwell and Gordon Warness.

The White Lumber Mill provides not only work but a community. Company tokens are payment for work and traded at the general store for merchandise. The boarding house provides additional homes for the workers while the farms and orchards in the area sell their produce to the store. Clyde Stonebraker, Joe Drain, Charles Murphy Bob and Henry Sherwood work on the Sherwood Potato farm at the intersection of Pine Street and Highway 2.

1948 A remarkable flood year, the second worst on record. North Idaho residents are persuaded that regulation of the Pend Oreille river and lake is beneficial. BPA redesigns the Albeni Falls dam.

1950 to 1955 The Army Corps of Engineers builds Albeni Falls dam. It produces over 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year for the Bonneville Power Administration.

1963 Development of ski runs at Schweitzer Mountain begin.

As time passes the community of Dover grows along with the mill. The lumber mill has many owners including Pack River Lumber and WI Forest Products, but is commonly called The Dover Mill. More homes are built and a water system serving the “town” is installed. Eventually Schaeffer & Hitchcock Company purchase the White Mill.

As the mill becomes less profitable, maintenance on the water lines declines. Owners of the now defunct mill want out of the water system business but are not permitted by the State of Idaho as long as someone continues to pay for the service. Our water “bills” were on the honor system, families sent the payment in but never received a bill. Unfortunately the water flowed places it shouldn’t, like the field near the old grade school. Volunteers frequently are seen at the pump station trying to get the old pump running again. Testing required by the State of Idaho is not being done, a boil water warning is declared. Eventually the pumps began to fail and the leaks get worse.

1987 Neighboring city of Sandpoint moves to annex the little community of Dover. Annexation is not acceptable to the residents of Dover. We do not like the idea of higher taxes with no promise of city services such as water, but the State of Idaho insists that the water system be repaired or replaced. So..........

1988 A petition is started. It is a grass roots effort, door to door. With overwhelming support, the petition is submitted to the Bonner County Commissioners. On July 26, Bonner County Commissioners grant the incorporation petition and the community of Dover becomes the City of Dover, Idaho. As first official action the new City Council accepts petitions requesting annexation from outlying areas.

1989 The last owners of the mill, T&H Investments, move operations out of Dover resulting in 100 jobs lost.

1990 Another fire brakes out at the vacant mill but in a twist of fate, the water hydrant at the mill does not have enough pressure to put out the fire. The new infant water system comes to the rescue!

1992 The remnants of the mill are finally torn down.

2008 Although the mill is gone now and replaced by a housing development, the church, community hall and about 10 original homes still survive. The older homes are referred to by the names of previous owners like “ Grandma Becker’s house. The “old Chronic house”, “ Grandma Ames’s “ Mrs. Ballou’s” and “Grandma Perry’s”. It is funny now that I think of it, they are always the female name, maybe that is because the men were always at work ! Even the lots with new homes keep the previous names like “ Critchell’s”, Mrs. Spangle’s” or Mrs. Lundblad’s place”. Streets within Dover Bay development sport names recalling the workers of the mill.

Our city is a place where children can play, neighbors know which family a child belongs to and let you know if your kids are being naughty or nice. Neighbors put on showers to celebrate weddings and births, sign cards when a neighbor dies, visit when someone is ill and have pictures taken at weddings titled “ People of Dover”. We ask when an elderly person has not been seen for a day or two, the Post Master knows us by name, cares how your family is and welcomes you home from vacation.

Follow the photo links to learn more about the little community that started with a flood, grew from fire and became a city to get water !