Brought to you by the Bonner County Historical Society & Museum
You may have known about the little community called Ponderay, but have you ever heard about the town of Panhandle? In 1903, the Panhandle Smelting and Refining Company owned 10 acres around a copper, silver, lead and gold smelter in present-day Ponderay. In March of 1903, the Kootenai County Republican news article stated that “the promoters have also founded a new town, Panhandle, at the smelter site.”
The town consisted of boarding houses, offices, a store and a bank. The store was completed in 1905 and was known as the Pioneer store. The company had also contracted barges and steamboats to deliver mail around the lake and transport the goods.
In 1913, a foreclosure order was made against the company, and it was shut down. Now, it is just Ponderay, which was incorporated as the Village of Ponderay in May 1947 and then became the City of Ponderay in November 1968.