|The settlement of Bonners Ferry dates back to 1864 when Edwin L. Bonner, a local ferry operator, went to business along the Kootenai River. He charged $.50 for any person on foot and $1.50 for loaded pack animals. Bonner’s location was a popular crossing point for travelers going to British Columbia to cash in on the gold discovered on Wild Horse Creek.
E.L. Bonner operated his ferry until 1902 when the county bought it for $500. In 1906 the Spokane International Railroad built a bridge over the Kootenai River, making the ferry obsolete.
What had simply started as an ideal ferry location grew into a thriving settlement. The community was granted an official title in 1894 and was named Boundary County seat in 1915. Today, Bonners Ferry’s economy centers upon timber, agriculture, and tourism. Although E.L. Bonner left Idaho and pursued a powerful political and merchant life in Missoula, Montana, the name of his famous ferry remained as a testimony to the community’s origins.