Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The following comes courtesy of Byron Bovey and the ILO-Vollmer Historical Society. Thank you Bryon for providing these details regarding the fire. Slowly but surely we are putting this story together as interesting bits of information continue to trickle in regarding Steunenberg, Idaho.

Wednesday, May 27, 1908


Steunenberg, May 26--Fire in the town of Steunenberg at 2:30 o'clock this morning destroyed the Steunenberg hotel and the Gerding soft drink establishment and lodging house. The total loss in buildings furniture and personal effects is estimated at $7,000 while the insurance will not exceed $2,000.

The fire started in the rear of the lower room of the building occupied by the soft drink establishment and pool room and is of unknown origin. The establishment was being conducted by Joe Gerding. No person slept in the building. The upper floor of the establishment was devoted to lodging rooms. The hotel, also a two-structure, was located about ten feet distant from the pool room building, and the flames soon spread there. It was impossible to save a part of the furniture, but within a comparatively short time both buildings were a ruin.

The large general merchandise store conducted by J. C. Noel is located across the street from the hotel and for a period it was threatened with destruction. The front of the building was severely scorched and the heat was such that some panes of glass were broken.

The buildings destroyed were owned by Ben Gerding, of Grangeville. Prior to the ruling of the supreme court holding that liquor could not be sold on the reservation, Mr. Gerding conducted a saloon at Ferdinand. When the new town of Steunenberg was established, Mr. Gerding moved the buildings here and later when the conducting of saloons on the reservation was forbidden, he moved his stock of liquors to Grangeville. The saloon building has since been devoted to the use of the soft drink establishment and pool rooms conducted by Mr. Gerding's brother, Joe Gerding.

The hotel was constructed by John Schiller.

From: High Line of the Camas Prairie Railroad researched and compiled by Byron Bovey and the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society.

(Somehow I imagine a few other libations snuck in among the soft drinks. John)

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