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historical background

Idaho Territory
Territorial Seal
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Moving the Capital
Vintage Imagery
Primary Documents
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vintage imagery


August 1862.  Lewiston, Washington Territory.  The first Luna House structure, built by Hill Beachey (1828-1875), can be seen at the mid-right of the photograph.  The original capitol is shown with a red box. The best evidence is that Albert Coburn, a local carpenter and paint ship owner, constructed the building for his brother Chester Coburn. Coburn supplied Hill Beachey and the Luna House Hotel (see above to the right of the capitol) with livery equipment, among other things. The photographer was Edward M. Sammis, who arrived in Lewiston in August 1862. In September 1862, the editors of the Olympia Washington Standard announced that Sammis had sent them a panoramic photograph of Lewiston, of which the photograph above is the right-hand third. (University of Idaho)

c. 1870.  The Luna House.  Originally a hotel, the building served as the county court house from 1882 - 1889.  The building was razed prior to 1891, when it no longer appears on Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.
Nez Perce County Historical Society

national leaders

left to right:

Morton Smith Wilkinson (1819-1894), who moved to bring the territorial bill for consideration
Library of Congress

Henry Wilson (1812-1875), who moved to change the name of the new territory from Montana to Idaho
Library of Congress

Aaron Harding (1805-1875), whose amendment set the boundaries of the territory
Library of Congress

left to right:

John W, Forney (1817-1881), Secretary of the Senate, signator of the territorial bill
Archives of the United States Senate

Galusha A. Grow (1823-1907), Speaker of the House of Representatives, signator of the territorial bill
Collection of the House of Representatives

Solomon Foot (1802-1866), President Pro Tempore of the Senate, signator of the territorial bill
Library of Congress

territorial leaders

left to right:

William H. Wallace (1811-1879), first territorial governor  (1863-1864)
Lincoln Bicentennial

Caleb Lyon (1822-1875), second territorial governor (1864-1865)
Matthew Brady Studio

Clinton DeWitt Smith (? - 1865), secretary of the Idaho Territory (1864-1865) and acting governor (1865)
Idaho State Historical Society 79-2.23


John R. McBride (1832-1904), Chief Justice, Idaho Supreme Court (1865-1868)
Matthew Brady Studio

Alleck C. Smith, judge of the 1st Judicial District and Associate Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court

the  Territorial Capitol [Click HERE for a structural drawing.]







Undated but certainly before 1890, as noted by the difference in fenceline.  Looking west from The Luna House, with two adults and a child standing by the front door.  Lombardy poplars (background) first appeared in Lewiston in the late 1860's.  Rarely recommended today by horticulturists, the species is canker prone and litters the landscape. The Lombardy poplar is a short-lived tree and only survives for twenty or so years. The tree is primarily planted for its columnar form in windbreaks. Most of the trees in the western section of Lewiston were removed by the 1890's, having become too much of a nuisance to maintain.    Given the date of the photograph, the figures in the foreground may well be John, Helen and Medora Clindining. Clindining purchased the building and the home to the right in 1887. (Nez Perce County Historical Society)








1905. Photographer: Henry Fair. Note the better view of the old Clindining home, which was sold in 1892. Nez Perce County Historical Society








 c. 1912. The building, which is shown as vacant in the 1909 Sanborn map, was the subject of restoration efforts by the Lewiston's Twentieth Century Club, which wanted to move it to a city park as late as December 1914, when the structure was being used as an ice house. From the best evidence, the building fell victim to heavy snows that wnter, which caved in the roof. Before work could begin trying to salvage the building, its wood was carted off for use to fuel the fireplaces of nearby residnets. (Nez Perce County Historical Society)