A Bit of Hope, Idaho History with Pictures & Info: Sandpoint Real Estate Blog

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What and where is Hope, Idaho (Scroll to the bottom to see several pictures of Hope, Idaho)

The area of Hope consists of between Clark Fork and Sandpoint, with the primary communities being East Hope, Hope, and the Hope Peninsula. The full-time population is approximately 500.

Some Hope History and Info

First and foremost, the attraction Hope creates with both visitors and inhabitants alike is the expansive view afforded by most home of Lake Pend Oreille. The views have drawn many, many notable and famous people for over 100 years. The Hope Peninsula is the home to the Sam Owen State Park, and the natural beauty of the island-like peninsula inspires and awes. There are three resorts there, and the wildlife is abundant and protected. However, while the deer, turkey, and other animals are sheltered, the surrounding area and mountains are rife with game, and hunters find some of the best sport in all of Idaho. Thus, with boating and fishing a favorite pastime, and hunting ample, the allure of Hope is strong. Add to this that the drive out to Hope is along the International Selkirk Loop, considered to be one of the ten most beautiful drives in the world.

Hope began to grow in 1882 when the Northern Pacific came through and in 1900 set its Rock Mountain division point in the hillside village. Incorporated in 1903, the village was named in honor of the veterinarian who tended the construction horses. A wise and kindly man, Dr. Hope was widely respected. Hope was the largest town in the area during the 1880s, achieving prominence as the Rocky Mountain division point on the Northern Pacific line. Engines turned around in the large roundhouse, and the railroad built shops, offices, and a "beanery" there.

The Hotel Jeannot was able to capitalize on this business with its location right above the depot, and with its tunnels providing easy access for passengers to the hotel. Many say that the tunnels were used to entertain these Chinese "coulees," who were normally not allowed in the establishments that served the locals and travelers.

When the division point moved to Sandpoint, Hope started to become the draw it is today. The hotel continued to attract people until the 1960's, partly because the picturesque setting of the town beside Lake Pend Oreille attracted many tourists. Some of them prominent, such as; J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Gary Cooper, and Bing Crosby.

The original Hotel Jeannot (now Hotel Hope) was a wooden structure which burned down in about 1886. It was then that Joseph M. Jeannot started on his fireproof commercial building, which he shared with his brother Louis. He constructed one section at a time, and added on over the years, finally completing the three-bay, two story hotel in 1898. J. M. Jeannot's hotel and saloon were not his only business interests. He was also involved in mining and had several claims across Lake Pend Oreille in the area of Green Monarch Mountain. Hope had a large Chinese population which had arrived with the railroad, and Jeannot supposedly took advantage of this source of cheap labor for his mines. According to one of Jeannot's friends, he allowed these men to use the meat cooler under the hotel as a clubhouse. They gained access to this room through the small tunnel which connected it to the railroad depot, thus bypassing the more obvious entrances. This vault in the hotel is one of the few sites left in Hope which may be connected with the large number of Chinese who used to live in the town.

Hope has such a large artist population it is considered North Idaho's first Artist Colony. Edward Keinholz was our first World-famous creator. Now the Artist Tour makes so many stops in Hope that it would be next to impossible to visit each studio in the area in just one or two days. Hope enjoys a wonderful summer season, and in addition to the boating are some famous digs such as the Floating Restaurant and Dock of the Bay, which are both seasonal and slated to reopen this summer. Icehouse Pizza regularly has open air concerts, and the Hope Market has always had some of the best Gourmet faire in North Idaho. It is under new ownership, and the new café is the Outskirts at the Hope Marketplace. In addition, Murphy's Tavern, which has been boarded up for years has now reopened, and where the old German restaurant was is Trish's Place. It would be nice to see the restaurant re-open in the Hotel Hope, and the Wily Widgeon Saloon, but  that remains to be seen. There is now a great High-end Gourmet Restaurant in Clark Fork, and the easy access to picturesque Sandpoint makes Hope one of the most desired areas in Bonner County.

The only drawback to Hope is that many of the homes in recent years have often been out of the range of the normal buyer. Because the land is limited, or hard to build on, and since it has become a tony area, prices are high. It is the opinion of many that to realize a profit on a home bought in Hope, one has to think in terms of years. Certainly to buy waterfront there starts around $500,000. Still, for some people, there is no better place to live in the world.  

Hope, Idaho - Pros and Cons

Hope is a very friendly area, with great neighbors that find themselves socializing with one and other, enjoying the very things that make Hope fantastic: beautiful scenery, history, hunting, and outdoor sports. Particularly, watersports are among the many things that Hope residents find in abundance. There are several marinas in the area, and a large portion of the homes in the Hope area have spectacular Lake Pend Oreille views. This is what draws many to Hope. It is also what has made many of the homes there a higher price than surrounding areas. By some accounts, homes have been so over-priced in Hope that the market took a couple of years to catch up. Still, homes there are selling, much because there aren't as many offerings. When the number of homes going on the market in desirable areas are few, prices tend to be higher. Historically, Clark Fork, right next door, had generously lower asking prices than Hope. However, as Sandpoint has expanded toward Hope, those areas appreciated well. Those areas are Oden Bay, Ponder Point and the Sunnyside Peninsula, and Hidden Lakes golf community, now Jack Nicklaus' Idaho Club. These areas have yielded some of the most exclusive homes in North Idaho, adding to the inflation of homes in and around Hope. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence indicates many home sellers in the traditionally low-priced Clark Fork believed that their proximity to high-valued Hope gave them an opportunity to sell at higher prices also. Sales in Clark Fork have slowed, and with the downturn in the Real Estate market, many homes that were overpriced in Hope and Clark Fork were languishing on the MLS. Prices have come down significantly and sales went up accordingly.

People moving out to Hope have one thing on their wish list: water front or water views. Sailiing and boating is king in Hope, with several islands off the coast. One famous island in Warren Island, with many millionaires having summer homes there. Another is the 13 acre Memaloose Island. This bare land was listed for $16,000,000, but is currently half that price.

As mentioned previously, artists flock to Hope. Other draws are the cool and quirky watering holes and eateries.  While shopping is decidedly limited, there are several good restaurants. Some are open year-round, like the Hope Market Outskirts Café and the Hotel Hope restaurant and bar (wonder if they will open this season). Others are seasonal; the Beyond Hope Resort is exceptional, and the Floating Restaurant is a must after a hard day of boating on the lake. Highway 200 is accessible even after the biggest snow storms, and in 20-30 minutes Wal-mart or Home Depot are right around the corner.

Bottom line is, if you can afford it, Hope is wonderful. There are still some good bargains there, but those are only available with diligence and perseverance. Still, Hope has an allure that few places can match.

Hope Marina with Schweitzer Mountain in the background
Hope Marina with Schweitzer Mountain in the background

Old Icehouse Pizzeria in Hope, Idaho 
Old Icehouse Pizzeria in Hope, Idaho

Historic Hotel Hope
Historic Hotel Hope

Hope Marketplace with the old school in the backgournd
Hope Marketplace with the old school in the backgournd

Schweitzer Mountain from the Pack River flats
Schweitzer Mountain from the Pack River flats

One of three marinas in Hope with the Hope Peninsula in the background
One of three marinas in Hope with the Hope Peninsula in the background

Highway 200 between Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho on the Clark Fork River
Highway 200 between Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho on the Clark Fork River

Piece of the Berlin Wall encased in plexiglass on the Hope Peninsula
Piece of the Berlin Wall encased in plexiglass on the Hope Peninsula

One of Keinholz's most famous tableau: Meinkamp on the Hope Peninsula
One of Keinholz's most famous tableau: Meinkamp on the Hope Peninsula

Goat on Scotchman Peaks
Goat on Scotchman Peaks

Sunset over Lake Pend Oreille
Sunset over Lake Pend Oreille

Gary Lirette, featured in Where To Retire magazine and host of the Tuesday noon local radio shows: North Idaho Business as well as North Idaho Arts.

Gary Lirette

E-mail Gary or call 208-610-1384
Read Gary's Blogs

 Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty

Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty

200 Main Street
Sandpoint, Idaho

208-255-3474

www.SandpointID.net - To learn all about Sandpoint and North Idaho

www.RealtySandpoint.com - For Sandpoint Realty

www.SkiSchweitzer.net - To visit Schweitzer Mountain's Community Web

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Rainmaker
288,406
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Wow, gorgeous pictures. Looks like a place worth visiting this summer...

Feb 19, 2011 05:17 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,959,248
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Gary,

Hope has everything I am looking for! What a wonderful written story about the history and the culture that exists in Hope. You make the city of Hope a hopeful place to live and visit. The scenery takes my breath away! This looks like a place where man and animal can co-exist in harmony.

You've done a great job describing Hope. You're a REALTOR® in the know and if I hear about anyone wanting to move to Idaho, or contemplating moving to the west coast, I will not hesitate to refer them to you.

Feb 20, 2011 07:53 AM #2
Rainmaker
133,784
Gary Lirette
Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest

Thanks for the kind words. Hope, Idaho is truly beautiful. Makes my descriptions easy.

Feb 20, 2011 08:34 AM #3
Anonymous
John Ross

Wonderful article about Hope. I am the new owner of the old Hotel Hope and have continued the restoration of this Grand Old Dame. We feel that it is ready to be enjoyed by all! Originally we thought this would make a great home. However after 2 years of finishing the restoration, we feel it is time to let the old hotel go back to work. It is a magical place and now with the 2000 sf upper deck completed, it is ready for entertaining. Over 9000 sf, 14 rooms, restaurant (a kitchen to die for) beautiful bar and unsurpassed views of Lake Pend Orielle. Truly a wonderful historical landmark. The Hotel Hope shall come to life again!!! If you are interested in purchasing the Hotel Hope please contact me.

jross54ATcox.net

Jan 13, 2013 08:23 AM #4
Anonymous
Carol Downey

Back in the 70s when my father and his wife, Norma were building their mountainside home overlooking Lake Pondere, my husband and I along with our three little ones visited for a week, staying in their stream line trailer at night, but fixing our meals and sharing them with each other in a primitive log cabin structure with a little iron cooking stove. The house he was building was along side a very cold mountain stream which they used as a their cooling (refrigerated ) storage place. The view was spectacular and we enjoyed the boating and fishing, eating many delicious Kokni, (sp?) I feel privilaged to have shared some of Hope's beauty for the short time we were there.
I was very much interested in reading some of the history you wrote about for our knowledge. Very interesting to read, Thank You!
A place I shall always remember as a very special place full of fond memories.

Jan 23, 2015 09:45 AM #5
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Rainmaker
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Gary Lirette

Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
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