07 October 2014

Looking for Mennonites {Bonner's Ferry, Idaho}

On our way from Coeur d'Alene to Yaak, Montana the other day, we made a stop at Bonner's Ferry in North Idaho. I learned three things from my visit to Bonner's Ferry:

1 - If you want to get a town named after you, do what Edwin Bonner did in 1864.  

Start ferrying gold prospectors across the river and before you know it, people will start calling the place after you and your ferry. Pure genius on Edwin's part.

2 - If you want to get the federal government's attention, declare war on them.  

That's what the Kootenai Tribe did in 1974. Through peaceful actions (including posting soldiers on the highway running through town to collect toll money to support the tribe's elders), the 67 remaining members of the tribe were recognized by the federal government and deeded 12.5 acres of land. 

3 - There are Mennonites somewhere in Bonner's Ferry. 

I had heard that many Mennonites and Amish have been coming out West as land becomes scarcer in the Midwest. There is supposed to be a great Mennonite bakery in Bonner's Ferry, but unfortunately, we didn't stumble across it while we were there. It was probably for the best as my jeans seem to keep getting smaller and smaller each day I've been back in the States.

Bonner's Ferry is chock full of great old brick buildings. If you don't pay attention to all of the people on their cell phones and the big four wheel drives parked on the street, you could almost feel like you've stepped back in time.

Scott likes to take pictures of old signs (check out the Pinterest board I made for him). There's plenty of them in Bonner's Ferry.

The Rex Theater is a pretty cool old building. It was established back in 1923.

Before we left town, we stopped at The Woodsman's Shop. If you're a hunter, outdoorsy type, prepper, fisherfolk or someone who lives off the grid, they've got what you need from knives to ammo to canned butter from New Zealand.

Have you been to Bonner's Ferry? If so, did you find the Mennonite bakery? Are their baked goods as delicious as I imagine they are?


  1. That Woodsman's Shop looks like a hoot!

    1. It was a very interesting little place. I couldn't get over the fact that they had canned butter from New Zealand sitting right alongside a comprehensive selection of knives. Great little place - would have loved to have had more time to explore it.

  2. Amazing what you can find when google searching "Mennonites Bonner's Ferry" just for fun. And yes, there are many. At least 800 of us milling about somewhere. The Bread Basket Bakery is a little bit north of town. Stop in and say hi to Sharon for me if you ever get the chance.


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