Leading up to the National Preservation Conference in Spokane, Washington, guest blogger Nancy Foster Renk will be publishing monthly posts about northern Idaho!
This blog started with a phone call out of the blue. Kathleen Barrett, of Preservation Idaho, asked me if I would like to contribute a few posts to a temporary blog to help promote the upcoming National Preservation Conference in Spokane. The idea intrigued me and here I am.
I got into history and historic sites survey through the back door. After four years of working at the Arizona State Museum, my archaeologist husband and I moved to the mountains of North Idaho where we built a log cabin and quickly discovered that it was harder to live off the land than we had expected. With $90 to our name, we took up temporary residence in Boise for the winter and were hired by the Idaho State Historical Society to write architectural descriptions of buildings for the initial historic sites survey in the state. Our “office” for those two winters was the vacant space behind the saloon exhibit in the museum where we looked at hundreds of slides and eventually learned some architectural terminology. After two winters of such work, we settled outside of Sandpoint permanently and I continued doing site surveys in North Idaho on a part-time basis for the SHPO. Once our kids were older, I enrolled in graduate school and got my M.A. in history from the University of Idaho. I now have my own consulting business where I primarily contract to do research and write historical reports.
I hope to use this blog to acquaint you with some of the history of North Idaho and the Inland Northwest. I'll also suggest some places that you may want to visit, either on your trip to the conference this fall or at some other time. Welcome to our neck of the woods!