What and where is Hope, Idaho (Scroll to the bottom to see several pictures of Hope, Idaho)
The area of Hope consists of between Clark Fork and Sandpoint, with the primary communities being East Hope, Hope, and the Hope Peninsula. The full-time population is approximately 500.
Some Hope History and Info
First and foremost, the attraction Hope creates with both visitors and inhabitants alike is the expansive view afforded by most home of Lake Pend Oreille. The views have drawn many, many notable and famous people for over 100 years. The Hope Peninsula is the home to the Sam Owen State Park, and the natural beauty of the island-like peninsula inspires and awes. There are three resorts there, and the wildlife is abundant and protected. However, while the deer, turkey, and other animals are sheltered, the surrounding area and mountains are rife with game, and hunters find some of the best sport in all of Idaho. Thus, with boating and fishing a favorite pastime, and hunting ample, the allure of Hope is strong. Add to this that the drive out to Hope is along the International Selkirk Loop, considered to be one of the ten most beautiful drives in the world.
Hope began to grow in 1882 when the Northern Pacific came through and in 1900 set its Rock Mountain division point in the hillside village. Incorporated in 1903, the village was named in honor of the veterinarian who tended the construction horses. A wise and kindly man, Dr. Hope was widely respected. Hope was the largest town in the area during the 1880s, achieving prominence as the Rocky Mountain division point on the Northern Pacific line. Engines turned around in the large roundhouse, and the railroad built shops, offices, and a “beanery” there.
The Hotel Jeannot was able to capitalize on this business with its location right above the depot, and with its tunnels providing easy access for passengers to the hotel. Many say that the tunnels were used to entertain these Chinese “coulees,” who were normally not allowed in the establishments that served the locals and travelers.
When the division point moved to Sandpoint, Hope started to become the draw it is today. The hotel continued to attract people until the 1960’s, partly because the picturesque setting of the town beside Lake Pend Oreille attracted many tourists. Some of them prominent, such as; J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Gary Cooper, and Bing Crosby.
The original Hotel Jeannot (now Hotel Hope) was a wooden structure which burned down in about 1886. It was then that Joseph M. Jeannot started on his fireproof commercial building, which he shared with his brother Louis. He constructed one section at a time, and added on over the years, finally completing the three-bay, two story hotel in 1898. J. M. Jeannot’s hotel and saloon were not his only business interests. He was also involved in mining and had several claims across Lake Pend Oreille in the area of Green Monarch Mountain. Hope had a large Chinese population which had arrived with the railroad, and Jeannot supposedly took advantage of this source of cheap labor for his mines. According to one of Jeannot’s friends, he allowed these men to use the meat cooler under the hotel as a clubhouse. They gained access to this room through the small tunnel which connected it to the railroad depot, thus bypassing the more obvious entrances. This vault in the hotel is one of the few sites left in Hope which may be connected with the large number of Chinese who used to live in the town.
Hope has such a large artist population it is considered North Idaho’s first Artist Colony. Edward Keinholz was our first World-famous creator. Now the Artist Tour makes so many stops in Hope that it would be next to impossible to visit each studio in the area in just one or two days. Hope enjoys a wonderful summer season, and in addition to the boating are some famous digs such as the Floating Restaurant and Dock of the Bay, which are both seasonal and slated to reopen this summer. Icehouse Pizza regularly has open air concerts, and the Hope Market has always had some of the best Gourmet faire in North Idaho. It is under new ownership, and the new café is the Outskirts at the Hope Marketplace. In addition, Murphy’s Tavern, which has been boarded up for years has now reopened, and where the old German restaurant was is Trish’s Place. It would be nice to see the restaurant re-open in the Hotel Hope, and the Wily Widgeon Saloon, but that remains to be seen. There is now a great High-end Gourmet Restaurant in Clark Fork, and the easy access to picturesque Sandpoint makes Hope one of the most desired areas in Bonner County.
The only drawback to Hope is that many of the homes in recent years have often been out of the range of the normal buyer. Because the land is limited, or hard to build on, and since it has become a tony area, prices are high. It is the opinion of many that to realize a profit on a home bought in Hope, one has to think in terms of years. Certainly to buy waterfront there starts around $500,000. Still, for some people, there is no better place to live in the world.
Hope, Idaho – Pros and Cons
Hope is a very friendly area, with great neighbors that find themselves socializing with one and other, enjoying the very things that make Hope fantastic: beautiful scenery, history, hunting, and outdoor sports. Particularly, watersports are among the many things that Hope residents find in abundance. There are several marinas in the area, and a large portion of the homes in the Hope area have spectacular Lake Pend Oreille views. This is what draws many to Hope. It is also what has made many of the homes there a higher price than surrounding areas. By some accounts, homes have been so over-priced in Hope that the market took a couple of years to catch up. Still, homes there are selling, much because there aren’t as many offerings. When the number of homes going on the market in desirable areas are few, prices tend to be higher. Historically, Clark Fork, right next door, had generously lower asking prices than Hope. However, as Sandpoint has expanded toward Hope, those areas appreciated well. Those areas are Oden Bay, Ponder Point and the Sunnyside Peninsula, and Hidden Lakes golf community, now Jack Nicklaus’ Idaho Club. These areas have yielded some of the most exclusive homes in North Idaho, adding to the inflation of homes in and around Hope. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence indicates many home sellers in the traditionally low-priced Clark Fork believed that their proximity to high-valued Hope gave them an opportunity to sell at higher prices also. Sales in Clark Fork have slowed, and with the downturn in the Real Estate market, many homes that were overpriced in Hope and Clark Fork were languishing on the MLS. Prices have come down significantly and sales went up accordingly.
People moving out to Hope have one thing on their wish list: water front or water views. Sailiing and boating is king in Hope, with several islands off the coast. One famous island in Warren Island, with many millionaires having summer homes there. Another is the 13 acre Memaloose Island. This bare land was listed for $16,000,000, but is currently half that price.
As mentioned previously, artists flock to Hope. Other draws are the cool and quirky watering holes and eateries. While shopping is decidedly limited, there are several good restaurants. Some are open year-round, like the Hope Market Outskirts Café and the Hotel Hope restaurant and bar (wonder if they will open this season). Others are seasonal; the Beyond Hope Resort is exceptional, and the Floating Restaurant is a must after a hard day of boating on the lake. Highway 200 is accessible even after the biggest snow storms, and in 20-30 minutes Wal-mart or Home Depot are right around the corner.
Bottom line is, if you can afford it, Hope is wonderful. There are still some good bargains there, but those are only available with diligence and perseverance. Still, Hope has an allure that few places can match.