Lakeview: Mining Camp to Vacation Home
The residents of the small community of Lakeview, Idaho lead a quiet life. The 10 to 20 families that make this area their vacation or permanent homes tend to use four-wheeler ATVs for local transportation. There are no stores, bars, schools or hotels in this isolated town. Mail and some supplies are delivered by boat – as it has been since the beginning. But life has not always been so carefree and quiet here.
The first nearby silver deposit was located in 1881 by Willuiam Bell, and the rush was on in search of silver, gold, lead and zinc. Over 20 claims and mines were located within 10 miles of Lakeview in a short time. By 1890 Lakeview’s population grew to at least 1,000 partially due to a false story run in San Francisco claiming gold was found near Lakeview. Seventeen saloons, a general store, the Lakeview Hotel, a post office and a log school house sprung up along Main Street by 1895. The town of Lakeview was platted by five mining men with hopes it would grow in the future.
Miners soon realized there was no gold to be find in the hills and a profit could not be made on the ore that was shipped by barge and tug boat across the bay to be processed at Bayview. They moved on to new rushes and the population dropped to 150 1903. In 1912 the Venzuwela and Swastika Mines began operation in the Chloride Gulch area. The Swastika Mining Company built the Swastika Hotel in hopes it would become a destination resort hotel. It failed to turn a profit and was closed in 1930. Lakeview continued to rely on the mining in the area when limestone was discovered in the immediate area. The International Portland Cement Company opened two cement plants near Lakeview and continued business until the market fell in the 1930s.
By 1950 businesses closed and the population of Lakeview dropped to 21. During the 1970s and 1980s professors from the Washington State College (Washington State University) and University of Idaho discovered Lakeview as a fishing destination. They established vacation homes and enjoyed summer breaks on the shores of the lake.
Today Lakeview is a peaceful, isolated community of a few year round residents and several summer homes. There are three methods to access this town: by boat, by a Forest Service Road over the High Drive area from Clark Fork (2 to 4 hour drive) or by Forest Service Road up the Bunco Road (a one hour drive) from Silverwood. Both Forest Service Roads are closed during the winter months limiting the access via AV or snowmobile only. If a traveler would seek to find an isolated, quiet area with breath-taking views, Lakeview is a must see destination. Surprisingly there is some cell service!