The thought of traveling around Lake Coeur d’Alene by boat is not a new one. Over the course of more than a century, people have made use of the gorgeous north Idaho lake for both business and recreation. The mountain lake has a long and illustrious history, which many people who tour the lake by boat nowadays may be unaware of!
However, while many of the boats on the lake today are used for recreational purposes — such as watching eagles or taking in a sunset — this was not always the case. There were more than 50 steamships working on the lake at one point in time, more than a century ago.
Building the Amelia Wheaton, the world’s first riverboat on Lake Coeur d’Alene, was a military project.
The Idaho, the world’s largest steamboat at the time, was built shortly after that. At the time of its construction, the passenger boat had a capacity of up to 1,000 passengers, which was quite an accomplishment.
As more contemporary ways of transportation became available, the steamers began to be considered antiquated. This was replaced by the usage of similar vessels as excursion boats to take tourists around the lake.
Lumber and silver ore were transported by boat on major waterways such as the Coeur d’Alene River, which is still in use today. A variety of merchandise from places such as Spokane, Cataldo Landing, and Rathdrum arrived by boat on the local canals to fill the shelves.
With the passage of time, many of the mills and mines have been closed down. Instead, trains transported travelers to the stunning northwest, where they could enjoy the lakes and mountains.
Lake Coeur d’Alene has risen to become one of the most popular tourism destinations in the Pacific Northwest in recent years. Coeur d’Alene Cruises is here to assist you in seeing the lake up close and experiencing all that our region has to offer in terms of history.