|When the Nez Perce Reservation opened up for settlement in 1895, Frank M. Bieker and ten other settlers homesteaded claims at just $3.75 an acre. Bieker then petitioned for postal services in 1898, naming his new settlement Ferdinand after his mother’s hometown of Ferdinand, Indiana.
When the Camas Prairie Railroad built its line, Ferdinand was on the west side of the tracks. Bieker got word that John P. Vollmer, a ruthless millionaire-banker, planned on building another town just one-quarter mile away on the other side of the tracks. Bieker offered to sell Ferdinand’s forty town acres to Vollmer if Vollmer would promise to put his proposed community on the west side of the tracks as well. Vollmer never responded to the offer, but proceeded to build his town, called Steunenberg, and even managed to claim a few of Ferdinand’s businessmen. Most of Ferdinand’s residents stayed put, however, and Steunenberg’s newly established post office soon closed. Realizing his costly mistake, Vollmer eventually sold his land, and the small town was moved across the tracks to join Ferdinand.