The McFarland House
The three story white house at the corner of First Avenue and US 95 has proudly welcomed travelers into Sandpoint since early 1900. This landmark known as the McFarland House is one of the oldest buildings left in Sandpoint and one of the few that has been owned by only two families in its 110 year existence.
The land occupied by the home was originally own by Jack Waters, a single rancher that arrived in 1881 with the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad. He staked a claim of 160 acres in the southeast section of present day Sandpoint where he cut hay on the banks of the Pend Oreille River and Sand Creek. His house and farm buildings were located at the site of the McFarland House. A small community of ranch hands sprung up around the Water’s claim. It was referred to as Whistletown because the trains headed onto the trestle that crossed the river would stop and blow their whistles prior to crossing the bridge.
Waters lived on this property until he was accidently shot in the arm while walking by the Williams & Long slaughterhouse. He was transported to Spokane to have the arm amputated and died in that city on April 29, 1892.
Ignatz Weil, a local businessman, became the executor of the Waters estate and took possession of the property for services rendered. Weil later filed a homestead patent on the property in 1901 which later became the Weil Addition to Sandpoint. The North Idaho News dated January 29, 1904, reports that Weil was to have a “Fine residence” built on the hill near his current home during the summer months. The new home for his beloved wife, Irene, was completed during the summer of 1905.
In 1929 Weil became a victim of the stock market crash and lost the residence and property. Leroy D. (L. D.) McFarland purchased the home from the Bonner County National Bank shortly afterwards. McFarland owned and operated the McFarland Pole Company (McFarland Cascade) specializing in cedar poles until he passed the legacy to his son, Robert. The house has remained under the ownership of the McFarland companies and has been a rental property for many years.
The 5,575 sq ft home consisting of two stories, an attic, and a basement has been occupied by the McFarland Pole yard office, a dentist, a florist, an attorney, a bed and breakfast, a title company, a catering service and finally a private family. The building was restored in 2007; however, very few alterations were made from the original structure. Throughout the years a garage and paved driveway were added, the house was repainted and the screens of the sun rooms were replaced by glass windows.
The McFarland House continues to welcome visitors at the entrance to the south end of Sandpoint. It remains one of the oldest structures in town.