Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake

Edited by Kris Runberg Smith
Nonfiction, 224 pages, 6" x 9" softcover, 144 black-and-white photos, index

ISBN 978-1-879628-31-1

This collection of oral histories recorded of numerous pioneers, Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake, provides a fascinating window into the past of Priest Lake, Idaho, before World War II through the words of those who actually experienced it.

Discover more about Priest Lake, Idaho, and the fascinating characters who settled here in the early days. Pioneer Leonard Paul’s recollections are enhanced with the addition of the next generation of lake voices captured by the Priest Lake Museum through an oral history project that began in 1983. Together with a few additional primary sources, this book offers glimpses of Priest Lake before World War II through the words of those who actually experienced it.

Learn about history through the eyes of those who lived it in this book presented by the Priest Lake Museum, Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake. "Built around the framework of oral histories recorded of numerous pioneers, the book includes four chapters with several sections in each one, plus an introduction and a history timeline. Up front are biographies on the Priest Lake Voices, from the first generation that includes pioneer Leonard Paul to the second generation of voices, including Paul's daughter, Marjorie, and many others.

The seeds for this book started when Leonard Paul’s granddaughter Charlotte Jones and her husband, Hank, retired back to Priest Lake in 1987, and discovered an 8mm tape made by her mother years earlier. Marjorie (Paul) Roberts had captured her father’s memoirs on tape. She preserved the words of a Priest Lake pioneer who not only witnessed years of change from his store’s front porch but often played a role in shaping the lake’s history as well. The transcript of the tape provided the inception for this book project and also lends a framework for each chapter.

Paul's recollections are enhanced with the addition of the next generation of lake voices captured by the Priest Lake Museum through an oral history project that began in 1983. Together with a few additional primary sources, this book offers glimpses of Priest Lake before World War II through the words of those who actually experienced it.

Kris Runberg Smith is associate professor of history at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She received a doctorate in American Studies from Saint Louis University, a Master of Arts in American History from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Idaho in Museum Science. Her great-grandfather, Howard Gumaer, arrived at Priest Lake in 1897, and her family has gathered regularly at Coolin Bay ever since.

Praise for Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake

“From the knockout punch of an Evinrude spinner spool to a boxcar full of flour, these oral histories capture the spirit of a unique lake community in the wild Northwest. The voices ring true, the photographs light up the ­stories and the waters of Priest Lake sparkle through time.”

Jack Nisbet, author of “Visible Bones” and “The Mapmaker’s Eye”

“Fascinating firsthand accounts and wonderful vintage photographs make ‘Pioneer Voices of Priest Lake’ the essential guide to understanding and ­appreciating what has been aptly termed ‘God’s Country’ in Idaho’s still-pristine Panhandle.”

Tom Trusky, director of Hemingway Western Studies Center and professor, Department of English, Boise State University

Price: $17.00

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