Tours take a trek through history

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(Daily Bee file photo) The Sandpoint Historic Preservation Commission is set to conduct historic walking tours of downtown on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon. The tours will begin at the Panida Theater, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year.

SANDPOINT — A brothel on Second Avenue first appeared on Sandpoint's map in 1915 as one of the first brick houses built in the town.

It wasn't until 1992, during renovation, when aspects of life in this "home" were revealed, as it appeared to have been used as one of the town’s brothels during the boom logging years. The original second story wooden floor imprinted with spikes from loggers’ calk boots in a track from the "apartments" to the common wash room. Other homes built in this area have been demolished making this house unique as the last remaining "home" from an original residential area.

The building is one of the many historical sites included in the upcoming Sandpoint walking tours hosted by the city's Historic Preservation Commission on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. - noon. The tours will begin in front of the historic Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., Sandpoint, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year.

The Panida is a Spanish mission-style structure built for $70,000 in 1927. F.C. Weskil first opened the doors as a vaudeville and cinema venue. The entrance fee at that time was a bottle cap, increasing to $.09 by the 1940s. Dedicated to the people of the Panhandle of Idaho, the theater was given the name Panida.

"Sandpoint is fortunate to have so many buildings that speak for our history," said Mayor Shelby Rognstad in a statement. "Congratulations to the Historic Preservation Commission for bringing these stories to life in a booklet that entertains and enlightens our residents and visitors."

Self-guided walking tours can also be taken and three different options are laid out in a new publication titled, "Sandpoint – A Walk Through History." This booklet was produced by the Historic Preservation Commission in collaboration with the Bonner County History Museum. It features more than 50 different sites throughout Sandpoint with a short description and photos of each property. The booklet identifies three walking tours including the downtown tour, the south Sandpoint tour and additional sites tour. The tours feature an interesting mix of commercial, residential and community buildings – some of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and/or recipients of the Orchids and Onions Award. A fold out map accompanies the property descriptions.

Other sites on the tour include the Northern Mercantile building built in 1905, the Cedar Street Bridge, which started out as a footbridge in the late 1800s, the Bonner Meat Company building built in 1908, the First Avenue Commercial Building, dating back to 1915, and many more. Each site has its own story.

Copies of "Sandpoint – A Walk Through History" are available at City Hall, Bonner County Museum, Sandpoint Visitor’s Center and select downtown businesses. It may also be accessed online at sandpointidaho.gov/hpcbooklet.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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