Buried beneath the water of Lake Coeur d’Alene lies a graveyard. It’s long been a secret of the area, with little publicity but a lot of history.
This graveyard is unlike any other. It doesn’t boast the graves of ancestors, but rather the final resting places of large pieces of local history that remain rooted in culture and an era long since past.
Below, we’ll discover this historical graveyard and the historical impact it has on Coeur d’Alene Lake.
The steamship graveyard
The graveyard in question is none other than CDA’s steamship graveyard. It is here that several steamboats that used to traverse Coeur d’Alene Lake found their fate after a long and arduous career.
The history of Lake Coeur d’Alene is a long one, but it is filled with incredible feats and wonderful stories that have shaped the city into what it is today.
The lake was named by french fur traders. They felt that the local Indians were tough negotiators and gave them, and the area, the name Coeur d’Alene. Translated, it means “heart of the awl.”
The city itself didn’t start to emerge until the late 1800s when Fort Sherman was built on what is now North Idaho’s campus. By 1887, the region was known for its timber and mining capabilities and the city was officially founded.
To move high amounts of timber and mined materials, the area needed steamboats. These steamboats served the area for decades, for tourism and commercial purposes, until the 1900s when they were decommissioned forever. Then, in a ceremonious goodbye, they were lit a fire and sunk to the bottom of the lake for 4th of July celebrations.
Located just a few hundred yards out past the Coeur d’Alene Resort lies the steamship graveyard. Here, you will find the remains of several local favorites including the Amelia Wheaton. She was the first steamboat on the lake and in many ways was considered the “lady of the lake.”
These days, if you want to get up close and personal, all you need is some scuba gear and an adventurous spirit. In fact, several people in the region enjoy regular dives to the steamship graveyard.
Down below, you can swim through passageways and along winding staircases that our ancestors walked on almost 150 years ago. It’s really neat!
Amongst the graveyard, you’re sure to find other trinkets and treasures. One local diver has made a business out of the items he’s recovered. He’s found bottles and vases, slot
machines and power tools. At one point, he even found a vintage car that was still in working order after being brought back to the surface!
Take a cruise
Would you like to explore Lake Coeur d’Alene and all of its unique history? If so, then you should take a cruise with CDA Cruises. Our scenic cruises will take you all around the lake so you can see first hand where the graveyard is.
You’ll also see the Floating Green of the golf course, Cedars Floating Restaurant, Arrow Point,
Book your cruise with us today and join us on the lake. We look forward to seeing you soon!