Wreck of the Firefly
JULY 9, 2005
By Carl Gidlund Spokesman.com /
Posting this article in reply to a question on the Priest Lake Bulletin Board VIEW.
In 1911 the headquarters of the Kaniksu Forest were in Newport, Wash., but in those days the essentials of a supervisor’s office could be hauled in a lumber wagon, so that is just what was done each summer. The office was loaded up and hauled to Coolin, Idaho.
Coolin was a city of maybe 15 year-round residents, two summer hotels … (and) a tiny general store, located at the foot of Priest Lake.
The pride of the forest was the Firefly, a 24-foot launch which was good for about 10 knots when running free. With the available waterway the trails naturally radiated from the lake. The pack train would come down to the shore, telephone the office, and the Firefly, with a barge lashed alongside, would go pick up the horses and either bring them to Coolin or move them to their next point of departure.
The prize seasonal job on the forest was that of “commodore,” the operator of the launch. This was, you might say, a job in name only, for the supervisor, Willis N. Millar, practically always went along on trips, and when he was along he always handled the boat from the bow controls. There were also controls, including a steering wheel, alongside the engine.
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