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Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Taste of Your Hometown

As many of you may know, my family and I have moved back to Texas to be near family while I finish my education. Our moving led to Dawn and me walking through a small family owned business that has made hats here in Texas for eighty years. They have made hats for most of the cowboy and western movies many of us enjoyed as kids and continue to make hats with handmade craftsmanship.
Our little excursion precipitated a conversation between my lovely bride and me about how often most folks, us included, tend to neglect to visit those local treasures within a short drive of our homes, often for years. While in our case the treasured place was a family owned business, I am certainly thinking of local state parks and historical sites as well. So this week I wanted to list a few places we enjoyed while we lived in Coeur d’ Alene and encourage you all to visit them or see them again with new eyes if you have been before.
Old Mission State Park is the site of The Mission of the Sacred Heart, which in addition to begin very beautiful, is the oldest standing building in Idaho. The park has exhibits highlighting the role of the Mission in the lives of the Coeur d’ Alene tribe. The park is open from 9 am – 5 pm year round.
Downtown in CDA is the Fort Sherman Museum on the North Idaho College campus. This museum holds artifacts from both soldiers and Indians from the 1800s, and is open from 1 pm to 4:45 pm from 1 May to 30 September. The museum has a store and nearby is the Ft. Sherman Chapel.
Post Falls is home to both the Treaty Park Historic Site and Falls Park. With several picnic areas, paved trails and handicapped accessible, these parks are both beautiful and historically important to the entire North Idaho area. There are also areas to have family or class reunions that can be reserved by contacting the Parks reservation office at 208-773-0539.
In Wallace, you can find both the Sierra Silver Mine and the Oasis Bordello Museum (the only other Museum dedicated to a brothel I have come across was in Fayetteville, Arkansas). However, a quick search on the internet proved several states have such museums, so I guess I have lived a sheltered life. The mine and the museum have something of an intertwined history in that the mining industry and the lack of women in North Idaho at the time saw the birth of the brothel. Although, it was interesting to find the world’s oldest profession managed to operate openly until 1988. While it is suggested you bring a light jacket to the mine, the museum requires no such preparation.
Last on my list for this week is the geyser in Soda Springs. This geyser is notable because the water combines with the carbon dioxide gas in an underground chamber and is released every hour on the hour.
I hope you will take your families to these Idaho treasures, the sites themselves are great, but the memories you will create together will be the lasting treasure. As for me, I think I am going to buy a hat like my favorite western hero!

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