PEND OREILLE COUNTY TRIVIA
By Faith McClenny
Pend Oreille County Historical Society
We give it a quick glance and hardly a thought as we drive over the interstate bridge to Priest River, Idaho. The 16 acre island is a mile northeast of Newport in the middle of the Pend Oreille River. It is bisected by the boundary lines of Washington and Idaho and has an interesting bit of history with several informal names.
During the early days of the Kalispel Indians it was known as Willow Bark Island. The small island was a reliable source of bark for making baskets.
In the early 1900s, M.C. Kelly, brother to the Newport’s first mayor, T. J. Kelly, claimed squatter’s right to the island and built a cabin as shown in the photo. He discovered it really wasn’t a good homestead site and in 1903 abandoned it. The Island took the name of Kelly Island
In 1921 for $60.00 (the cost of surveying) Newport obtained Boundary Island with the restrictions that it could be used only as a cemetery, park, or for a recreational area. The formal name of the island is Boundary Island.
In the 1930s the boy scouts used the island for camping and built a lodge and other buildings. It was then known as Boy Scout Island.