About This Place
Bonners Ferry is a city in and the county seat of Boundary County, Idaho, United States. The population was 2,543 at the 2010 census.
When gold was discovered in the East Kootenays of British Columbia in 1863, thousands of prospectors from all over the West surged northward over a route that became known as the Wildhorse Trail. Edwin Bonner, a merchant from Walla Walla, Washington, established a ferry in 1864 where the trail crossed the broad Kootenai River. In 1875, Richard Fry, and his Sinixt wife, Justine Su-steel Fry, leased the business, but the location retained the name of the original founder and later became the town of Bonners Ferry.
Before the gold rush, only a few visitors had come to the region; one of the first was explorer David Thompson, a cartographer for the Northwest Trading Company. Thompson and four fellow fur traders arrived in 1808 to trade with the Lower Kootenais. Exhausted and famished, the local natives gave Thompson's party dried fish and moss bread. Thompson returned the next year and established a trading post on Lake Pend Oreille. He was followed in 1846 by Jesuit Priest Father DeSmet, a missionary to the Kootenai Tribe.