Seneacquoteen & Water Crossings


Up the road a couple miles from Stillwater Ranch were I ranch-sat, is a pretty important landmark in these parts, though growing up here I never knew it…till now.

The Kalispell Indian word, seneacquoteen (pronounced: senny-aqua-teen) means, “crossing”. This, pictured above, is the landing at Seneacquoteen looking towards Laclede, Idaho on the other side.



Looking east from the landing…


and looking west from the landing.


It was the first settlement in the area and was the only ferry crossing to get from one side of the Pend Oreille river/lake to the other long before the first bridge was built in 1909 (about 17 miles east) and long before my home town of Sandpoint as a town, was founded. 

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This pictured above is the first of four bridges that was built to get from one side of the lake to the other, was made entirely of wood and was called “The Wagon Bridge”.  Picture taken in 1909 on the Sagle side looking north to Sandpoint.

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This is the second “Wagon Bridge” taken on the Sandpoint side looking south towards Sagle.  Notice the first Wagon Bridge on the right?  These two relics are long gone and “Long Bridge” number three and four currently take their place.  On a side note: in the early 80’s when I rode the school bus into town for “big kid school’” the pilings from the second bridge could still be seen…not sure if that is the case anymore, I’ll have to look the next time I go into town!


So anyhow, (sorry to bounce you around here) since the spot at Seneacquoteen was the narrowest spot of the river, it became the one and only water crossing during the early years. It was forded by the native Kalispell Indians and white people alike until a commercial ferry was constructed in 1860 for fur traders, surveyors and miners and then later people of the community.  It was used for a good hundred years…even after the bridges were built.

I learned through research and family that Seneacquoteen was not only an early fur trading post but went on to be the county seat, be the Sunday gathering spot due to an “amusement park” of sorts and…AND the is site of the very first house in this neck of the woods to have electricity!  That house is still standing and being lived in. How cool is that?


This Seneacquoteen/Laclede ferry picture was stolen from Idaho Treasure Hunters website. 


This is the ferry landing looking up at what was once the settlement of Seneacquoteen with the water and Laclede at my back. It has not been developed at all with only a scattering of old homes here and there.  It looks very much like it would have back in the 1800’s.  I adore that.


These beams in the water that I was standing on, to take the previous picture, have been there for more years than I can wrap my brain around.


And this Canadian Goose couldn’t wrap his brain around why us dumb humans couldn’t save all the fussy ferry nonsense and bridge rig-a-ma-roll and just swim it.

The End.


13 thoughts on “Seneacquoteen & Water Crossings

  1. I am so glad you gave the pronunciation. It makes sense after you spelled it out for us. And what a beautiful spot it is! I especially enjoyed your history of the bridges and the old photos of those. Isn’t it amazing how we can live around a place and suddenly be struck by its beauty.


  2. Just when I think you couldn’t take any photos more beautiful than the ones you’ve previously posted, you go and prove me wrong! What a fascinating history around this area. And I love how you closed out with the goose’s thoughts…! Cute!


  3. Thanks for the history lesson……I was on a drive this week up to the Kalispell tribes
    reservation at Usk, Wa. Their land is one mile wide and nine miles long……ONLY……..
    they own a lovely herd of Buffalo and of course the very profitable Northern Quest Casino.

    I drove by your Stillwater Ranch………I know Brian and Kay somewhat……their ranch looks

    Thank you for your photos……your camera picked up things I did not see passing by the
    exact spot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. I love this!! So much history in our little Panhandle. One of these days I want to go back home to Bonners and do some family history treasure hunting. I would love to find the old family homestead property from my Grandpa’s family on my Mom’s side. My Grandpa was born and raised in Copeland. I LOVE Idaho state history and I love even more that my family was part of it!


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