10th September 2010

Historical Society Collecting Oral History of 1970s County Immigrants

Written by Museum staff for publication

Originally published – FYI North Idaho – Sept 16, 2010

The lives of ordinary people often contain romantic moments, frightening incidents, sad tales, breathtaking escapes,
and sudden twists of fate. Are you thinking of interviewing your grandmother? Would you like to save community stories for future generations?

Volunteers from the Boundary County Historical Society are interviewing and archiving oral history stories of several people from a large population influx into Boundary County in the 1970s. The pilot project is partially funded by a grant from the Idaho Humanties Council in conjunction with the recent Smithsonian Journey Stories exhibit at the museum.

According to U.S. Census reports, the population of Boundary County slipped from 5,809 people in 1960 to 5,484 in 1970, followed by a 32.9 percent increase to 7,289 in 1980. Although the population continued to increase by 2000 to 9,871, the greatest influx of new people occurred in the 1970s. Overall 70s growth in the state of Idaho was similar at 32.4 percent.  However neighboring Bonner County experienced 55.3 percent growth, Kootenai County 69.2 percent, and Ada County 54.3 percent. Only Clearwater and Shoshone counties experienced declines in population during the 70s.

In addition to the current interview process, The Boundary County Historical Society is collecting names and contact information of people who came to live in Boundary County during the 70s. Were you involved in the survey? Were you already here and impacted by the influx of newcomers?  Who came and stayed? Who came and left? And came back? Do you have stories to preserve and share?

Archiving of oral history interviews is part of the ongoing process of preserving and documenting significant events in Boundary County. The last major oral history interview project was conducted to collect information for the Boundary County History Book in the 1980s. As part of the current project, the cassette tapes from those interviews are being digitized and transcribed. If you wish to volunteer for any part of this project, please contact Sue Kemmis at the museum 267-7720 or e-mail bcmuseum@meadowcrk.com

Historical Society Collecting Oral Histories