Articles written by Sharon & Steve Lamar


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  • Historic Swan Valley Dude Ranches

    Sharon and Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|May 2, 2024

    During the early to mid-twentieth century several upper Swan Valley dude ranches were at the height of operation, providing packing and guiding services to guests from around the world. Holland Lake Lodge and 33 Bar Ranch In 1924, Roria "Babe" Wilhelm, along with his sister, Ada, and her husband, Art White leased land from the Forest Service and built the Mountain View Hotel near Holland Lake. The hotel was built with lumber from Babe's steam-powered sawmill and sided with half-logs to give the...

  • Fire Lookouts in the Swan Valley

    Sharon and Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jun 15, 2023

    Whether by natural lightning or by human hands, the landscape in Swan Valley has been shaped by fire. Only in the past hundred years or so have there been organized, concentrated efforts to suppress forest fires. During the historic forest fire of 1910, over three million acres burned in the course of a few days, primarily in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, drastically changing the way the U. S. Forest Service dealt with wildfire. Pushed by strong winds, several small fires grew together,...

  • Northern Pacific Railroad's influence on the Upper Swan Valley

    Sharon and Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Mar 17, 2022

    Editor's Note: Part I, run in the March 10 issue, highlighted the start of the Northern Pacific Railroad's influence on the Upper Swan Valley through the early 1900's. Although the upper Swan Valley was primarily settled by homesteaders staking claims on United States Forest Service (USFS) lands, some settlers purchased Northern Pacific (NP) lands for as low as $1.25 an acre, usually in 80- or 160-acre parcels. The Haasch family who homesteaded a USFS parcel later bought an additional 160 acres...

  • Northern Pacific Railroad's influence on the Upper Swan Valley

    Sharon and Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Mar 10, 2022

    Many people are not aware that the Northern Pacific Railway Company (NP) had a significant influence on the settlement, economy and timber industry of the upper Swan Valley. Looking at a current map of the upper Swan Valley, you might ask, "What influence?" No railways are located in the valley, nor are any Northern Pacific properties listed on the current maps. A closer look at the early history of the settlement in the upper Swan Valley reveals something quite different. Maps of the early...

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