Cottonwood before the 1908 fire. The gazebo like structure was the town well at the intersection of Main and King Streets. The building behind it sets where Nuxoll Shell is now with the building at the right located where the Simon Building is now. Apparently the 1908 fire started in the Club saloon located at the left.
(More of the Cottonwood story as continued from last week’s Chronicle)
After the Nez Perce Indian War died down, people once again went back to their work of building a town. The time was a little uncertain and it took a few years for the flow of settlers once again to increase.
From about 1880 to 1885 the way-station status of Cottonwood was maintained and supplies poured through here on the way to the mining claims. Business additions were gradually made and as you can see in the accompanying photo, the town began to “take shape.” Looking up King St. to the north, houses began to pop up on the hills as wells as schools and churches.
Editor’s note: The information following was taken from the book An Illustrated History or North Idaho published in 1903 by the Western Historical Publishing Company. The books was “Dedicated to the pioneers of North Idaho. The brave men and devoted—those who have gone and those who remain.” This also appeared in the July 1, 1976 Cottonwood Chronicle which is the direct descendent of the Cottonwood Report and Camas Prairie Chronicle newspapers mentioned.
A post office was established in the early days but the first business aside from that and a blacksmith shop was the store of F.B. King, opened about 1880.
Some four or five years later, Charles Wood and A.A. Harris built a saloon.
Robert Nugent tells the writer, that when he came to the place in 1887, he found “Judge” Gilmore in charge of the blacksmith shop, H.H. Nuxoll and Barney Stuber a carpenter shop, and the business men just referred to at their respective places.
Mr. Nugent bought out Wood & Harris’ saloon. F. B. King’s store was transferred to Weiler & Wax about 1891.
Mr. Nugent started a restaurant in 1893, in which year a pork packing establishment was also started. Dunham & Company of Chicago ran it for a couple of years, but eventually it failed through mismanagement and gave the farmers a bill of sale on the property in payment of the sums due them.
At present the building is used as a slaughter house. In 1893, the first paper of the town, the Cottonwood Report, made its bow. Its first issue, bearing the date of January 27th, shows by its advertising columns that Wax & Goldstone were then engaged in the dry goods and grocery business; that C.B. Wood was the proprietor of the Cottonwood House; that Felix Warren owned the Lewiston-Cottonwood stage line; that Revs. T.L. Buzzell and William Cronger were pastors of the Methodist and Catholic churches, respectively; that Davis & Sweet had a saw and planing mill; that F. M. Bridgfarmer was engaged in house, sign and carriage painting; the J.W. Gains had a livery, feed and sales stable; that J.W. Turner, M.D., was practicing medicine and surgery; and that Tannatt & Hogan were engaged in the real estate business and in surveying, also were townsite agents.
The paper shows, too, that a literary society was in existence, of which E.T. Tannatt was president and Miss Ettie Simpson secretary.
In 1895, the town began building rapidly, and it is since that date that the Cottonwood of today has come into existence.
Without attempting to fix the coming of later business house or the sequence of their establishment, we summarize the present business houses of the town as follows:
Three merchandise stores: Samuel Goldstone’s, Brown & Brust’s and Harry Nuxoll’s; three livery stables: J.T. Hale’s, C.C. Burge’s and J.M. Eller’s: J. W. Turner Drug Store and that of the Idaho Drug Company; The Idaho County Bank, of which E.M. Ehrhardt is cashier; the saloons of Lyons & Dixon, John Peterson and John Funke; and the brewery of Schober & Peterson; The St. Albert Hotel, of which A.B. Rooke is proprietor, and the Cottonwood Hotel (closed at this writing), owned by John Proctor; harness and saddles, Schiller & Simons; planing mill, sash and door factory, Webster & Wright; a steam flour mill of twenty-five barrels capacity, J.W. Crawford; blacksmiths, J.F. Davidson, E. Joslin and S. Saux; meat market, Simon Brothers; millinery and dress making, Mrs. William Bash; bakery, Mrs. Alice Tipton; grain warehouse, Samuel Goldstone; barber, John Caldwell; Hardware and implements, H.H. Nuxoll; printing office (Camas Prairie Chronicle) Frank S. Wimer, proprietor; furniture, J.N. Moden; a Chinese laundry.
It is said that a large creamery, capable of handling the cream from four or five hundred cows, is in project, also a new brewery.
J.M. Wolbert, an attorney, is engaged in the real estate business, and George W. Coutts is also engaged in the practice of law. The dentists of the town are Drs. T. W. Bray and J.E. Smith, and the physicians practicing are Drs. J.W. Turner and R. Truitt. Samuel R. Libby, the postmaster, is a watch repairer and jeweler.
The churches of the town at this time are the Catholic, Rev. H.A. Kremers, pastor; the Baptist, to which Mr. Daik ministers; and the Methodist, without a pastor at the time of the writer’s visit.
There is a large four-room school in Cottonwood in which three teachers labor, namely Prof. E. O. Steininger, Miss Mary T. Hayden and Mrs. Gussie H. Clark. A Catholic school is maintained by Rev. H. A. Kremers in connection with the church, intended it is said, as a forerunner of a sisters’ school.
Fraternal orders were represented, there being subordinate lodges of the I.O.O.F, Rebekahs, K. of P., M.W.A. and K.O.T.M.
The first mentioned order has a large two-story hall with lodge and banquet rooms above and an opera and dance hall below.
While Cottonwood is as yet without a railroad, it has daily stage connections with Grangeville, Lewiston and Keuterville and tri-weekly with Kamiah. The O.R & N. survey passes through the town.
Cottonwood enjoys a very favorable situation on the creek from which it takes its name.
It is convenient to a large stock raising country, and there are six sawmills within ten miles of the place.
The rich surrounding country furnishes the business men of the town assurance of a reasonably abundant and permanent patronage and as the country grows, their business and their number must enjoy a corresponding increase.
150-year committee meets
The 150-year History Committee met on Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. at Cottonwood Community Library.
There were 18 committee members present with 3 absent.
The meeting was called to order and the minutes of the last meeting one week ago were read and approved.
Chairman Deb Clark reported on various projects underway. It was reported that 30 organization or business histories have to be done and that 147 private or family histories have been pledged or located. Our estimate is that these histories should increase by at least 30 more or less each week as the various committee members make their contacts.
The main list we are working on right now has about 50 organizations and area businesses and about 500 families which have either been contacted or are now in the process of being contacted. As we progress, we will be adding and removing names as they are recorded.
We find that most people contacted have been very cooperative and really approve of this project to create a solid history base for the area. Most everyone feels this will be very valuable in years to come.
After 1½ hours of working on above business the meeting was adjourned and the date for the next meeting was set for Thursday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. at the library.