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  • Custom Map of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

Lisa Middleton

Custom Map of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

$ 24.95

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Idaho 11x14" uv resistant reproduction of "A new map of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho" designed and painted by map artist Lisa Middleton.

Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in the northern Idaho panhandle and the largest lake in Idaho with a length of 43 miles and a surface area of 148 square miles.

It is the fifth deepest lake in the United States with a depth of nearly 1,150 feet. Deeper than even Loch Ness, some locals have rumored the existence of a sea monster rivaling its Scottish cousin named the Pend Oreille Paddler, though it is likely just a giant sturgeon. Though the lake has a large 111 mile shoreline, most of it remains unpopulated.


The lake is surrounded by three mountain ranges, the Couer d’Alenes in the south located in the Couer d’Alenes National Forest, the Cabinet Mountains in the North, the Green Monarchs to the east located in the Kaniksu National Forest, and the Selkirk Mountains to the north and west. This places the lake at the southern end of the Purcell Trench, a glacially formed valley that reaches northward into Canada. The lake itself was formed by a glacier moving and melting southward from Canada through the trench.

The path of the Missoula Flood, a calamitous ancient flood, is believed to have passed through the area from the easternmost point of the lake which had massive geological effects on the region. The lake is now fed by Clark Fork River, named for the famous American explorer, and the Pack River and drains via the Pend Oreille River which runs into Washington State.

Canadian fur trader and explorer David Thompson, known as one of the most prolific land geographers and map-makers of his time, founded a trading post in what is present day Hope, Idaho for the North West Company on the lake in 1809. One of his associates remarked that the lake’s shape resembled a human ear. Thus, he referred to it as Pend d’Oreille, a French phrase for a pendant or jewelry that is hung from an ear. The indian tribe, the Kalispel, which was settled at the mouth of the Clark Fork River where the trading post was located, wore characteristic ear hangings of shells from the lake and river.
custom map lake pend oreille
The trading post was called the Kullyspell House which was Thompson’s spelling of the resident tribe. The Kalispel, now often referred to as Pend d’Oreille, are thought to have migrated south from British Columbia. They were referred to as river and lake paddlers and lived primarily as semi-nomadic fishermen and hunters. The tribes people lived in tipis and lodges built of cattails woven into mats. 

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