The state of Washington definitely saved the best for last, as Pend Oreille County was the final county created in the state of Washington back in 1911. Pend Oreille County’s unique name is derived from a French-Canadian fur trade moniker for local Indians who likely wore large ear pendants. And Indians were, in fact, the earliest inhabitants here. Explorer David Thompson found the Kalispels and the Pend Oreilles living in the area in 1809; today, the Kalispels have a reservation in the area near Usk.
Discovery of gold, lead and zinc led to an influx of non-Indians in the late 1850s, followed by timber as another extractive industry – one that would bring with it steamboat service and railroads. Diamond Match brought its operations to the area in the early 1920s, as well as major players in the cement industry.
Box Canyon Dam was built in the 1950s by the Pend Oreille County Public Utility District. In addition to hydroelectric power, it provides a campground, boat launches, a fish hatchery, and environmental maintenance of riparian areas.
Summer, fall, winter, spring … do you love them all? If you enjoy the year’s four distinct seasons, Pend Oreille County is the perfect place to call home. Summer is sunny and yet very pleasant, with highs in July and August averaging in the low 80s. Our spectacular fall season is renowned for its crisp days and showy color, while winter is a time when Pend Oreille County transforms into an outdoor play land with snowy vistas and brisk temperatures that bring out the adventurer in all of us. And finally, spring’s arrival is always welcome as wildflowers make their appearance and temperatures warm into the 60s by May.