Cottonwood to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
And here we have Central Idaho.
As we travel from here to other places in this world we see and compare what we have with a wide range to see and do. Almost, without fail, we decide how really lucky we are to live where we do. Especially as the years pass and we glance back on all the experiences we have gleaned from this area we call home. We see now 2 or 3 generations behind us doing the same things, going to the same places and taking their families along for lessons on how to enjoy and appreciate this wonderful country.
50 or 60 years ago you could go to a beach along one of our many rivers and hardly see a soul. Now we visit the same beach and there are 15 or 20 people all set up to swim or sunbathe, build sand castles or whatever. This is great! And the fact that these areas appear to us to be as special now as they were way back then. The fact is each generation has learned that “bring it in-pack it out” leaves this pristine look for all those to come. This is not only true for the family type outings but has been the example set for the people who enjoy the great hunting and fishing here in our area. Our grandparents and folks taught us to respect and maintain these things for other people too. Our attachment to these traditions shows up in our kids and grandchildren and it’s wonderful to see them leave each campsite a little better than they found it. Some areas like the Gospels and the Hump remain almost the same as they did years ago. It’s great to still have public access to these areas and still reach the vista points our families have been visiting for over 100 years.
Sawyer’s Ridge, the Gospel Lakes, the brief area where you can see Moore’s Lake (3 miles down), the view from Square Mnt., look 11½ miles east to Buffalo Hump. The view down Wind River, Hammer Mtn., Slate Creek and the Florence Country. The memories that flood back and the people, places and things that make up all the years and experiences hunting, fishing and camping. How great it is to remember the times spent out here with friends and family. I remember J.P. Seubert and how much he and his family hiking and their trips to “Closet Lake” (a lake whose location was so secret you had to go in the closet and shut the door to talk about it). I recall several trail rides to visit this country with about 12 to 15 riders up and about the mountains via the Slate Creek passage. Another from Florence Cemetary up the back way to Hanover and down the old trail to Spirit Camp and back. Among those in on this were Fr. Kuiper, Walt & Edna Ruhoff, Virg and Dorothy Schmidt, Phil and Clara Arnzen, Chuck and Betty Mader, J. P. and Cheri Seubert, Bud Romain, Ralph and Sally Terhaar, Don and Jane Hoene, Don and Irma Tacke, Vern and Peg Uhlorn and once in a while George and Karla Enneking and even Lew and Polly Hollandsworth!
Off on the other side of Gospels was 10 Mile Creek, 20 Mile Creek, John’s Creek and several trips up to and including Sourdough Lookout. And this area is just one side. There are about 30 mountain lakes in the Gospel Hump area so there are two lifetimes of wandering if you want to cover both sides of Columbia Ridge. The Salmon River side and the South Fork of the Clearwater River side. This whole area is a treasure trove of history from the early 1800’s to the present time and all the searching for gold just enhanced the area and etched these ole mountains into our minds and hearts.
Looking from Cottonwood South-Southeast we see the Gospels peeking out the right side of Grangeville Mountain and the Hump peeking out the left side. On a good day you can see the Seven Devils almost due south down the Boise Meridian Line.
As one takes those trips with friends and family you would have to be numb not to think of the people who preceded you, both in work and play. Now we can understand the keen feelings the people had for the mountains themselves and for the many people who trudged these trails in pursuit of gold and silver. Never in all these year have we “gone to the mountains” and regardless of the weather, come back disappointed. Talk about feeling close to God and nature! Only those who have “been there and done that” know of the feeling I’m talking about.
Another experience I want to bring up here is about how really fortunate we are to live sandwiched between the Clearwater and Salmon Rivers. There area really so few people in this world who have taken a trail ride into the depths of the Frank Church Wilderness! Go to a big event like the World Series and as you melt into the crowd of over 100,000 and lose your oneness, realize too that what can make you stand out is where you live and the things you have done. I can appreciate the background of the rest of the crowd but, I have yet to hear of anyone who I would trade there home for mine! Heck, let’s sing a verse or two of “Here we have Idaho!”
In this series of “Remember When” we hope to cover some of the things that bring us together. We all know that the three most important ingredients for this bonding are God, Family and Friendship. Mutual enjoyment of having a gathering is the reward we get for our efforts. The preparation it takes for these events is truly a labor of love. It’s kind of like going fishing – going out to dig worms is almost as much fun as catching the fish!
I realize not all people are into trail rides and wandering up and down mountain trails. But, with some of us it is truly in our blood. My grandfather came here in 1898 and even with “being poor as church mice” he and one of his sawmill friends borrowed 2 saddle horses and a pack animal for a 10-day trip across the Salmon River and up along the Boise Trail. This, with another trip back to Illinois and a two month stay down in the Twin Falls area, convinced him this was truly the land of his dreams! Grandpa John, God bless him, also kept a daily log book which inspired my dad Gus to do the same and I have done this the past 40-50 years. All this helps when you get in the story telling business!
Of course, when we talk about some of our traits such as gatherings that bring us together, we can remember some of the political meetings that played to a full house and because of the time or issues the hall or gym didn’t need any extra heat. When we gathered to discuss the pros and cons of the Radar Installation. When we gathered to discuss the Job Corps and even later when we brought our thoughts and concerns to the gym to talk about the prison coming. Several times the gym or hall was filled in the last 100 years to discuss local issues and I’m proud to say all these gatherings, in my estimation, were productive and I truly can’t remember when common sense didn’t prevail. In fact I have heard that these meetings, as mentioned above, seemed to unite the area on quite a number of things.
It would be dereliction of duty not to mention our school into these things that unite us and mold the community into common ties. While this are can be justifiably proud of our teachers and our students it is not only their academic achievements that unite us and make us proud, they also continue to cut a wide swath in the sports programs.
To say this is Prairie Schools and we are mighty proud, makes all, both student and family, get this special feeling. Of course we admit there are mistakes made when emotions get out of control. To make these errors is quite normal. The proof of the pudding is in how these things are corrected and how we go on from there. We have had great elected members of the school board to handle these things for many years. We must be thankful that the people do such a great job in selecting these board members! Great job! Continue on Pirates!
Along with this story I’m sending some of the many pictures that commemorate some times spent with friends who are no longer with us. I’m sure you can match these up with memories of your own. A great many of you know these people and share our loss in their absence. I hope my point is made in how great it is to share now and share the history as we all become part of it.
Speaking of those who were part of our history while making this a really special place for his family, it is with a special set of memories we recall Ladd Arnoti, Sr. who passed away this past week. Ladd certainly had his part in our area and helped in many ways to boost this area. Among other things he was Cottonwood’s mayor and knew how special this place could be after fleeing war-torn Europe to come here in 1949. Rest in peace our friend!

A couple of photos of trail rides.

One trail ride got rather close to a forest fire.

Joe Didier, Dick Schultz, Don Hoene and Pat Seubert with a string of fish.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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