Phone: 208-443-2426 (Off season number: 571-251-5107)
Built by the Great Northern Railroad in 1890, the Northern Hotel played an important role in the mining, timber, and tourism that developed around Priest Lake in the early days of Idaho statehood. The Northern Hotel was a place for miners, "sourdoughs", and adventurous tourists to get a hot meal and a decent bed. Guests included Nell Shipman, the 1920s silent screen actress and producer who used Priest Lake as the setting for several of her films.
After World War II the historic building went through a number of incarnations as a boarding house, bar, and restaurant under the various names of Dyer's Resort, Houdini's, Capt Eddy's and Eduardo's. In the early 1990s, after standing vacant for seven years, the Old Northern Inn was lovingly restored by Phil and Lorraine Battaglia, who matched original cedar paneling and scraped off eleven coats of paint and varnish to reveal the original floor planks.
The parlor boasts a 1907 piano that entertained guests a century ago at Sam Byars' Forest Lodge at the head of the lake near the entrance to the Thorofare. After surviving the fire that destroyed the lodge, the piano was boated down the lake to Coolin, where it eventually ended up in the little white schoolhouse that is now the Coolin Civic Center. The inn bought the piano from the civic association in 2004, to the delight of Sam Byars' descendants, happy to see it again installed in a hostelry that welcomes guests from near and far.
Outdoors, the inn features a private dock where guests can swim and moor their boats. The large deck in front of the inn overlooks the southern end of the lake and has shaded picnic tables, lounge chairs, and benches. A stone fire pit on the deck is a perfect place to relax and chat with fellow guests before a summer evening fire.
Room rates include breakfast for two and afternoon wine and cheese.
For more information about the history of Priest Lake, visit the Priest Lake Museum
|Rates: $115 to $175, breakfast included
Children over 12 welcome — No pets — Smoking outdoors only
|Old Northern Inn
Bed & Breakfast
PO Box 177
Coolin (Priest Lake), ID 83821
208-443-2426 [May 15-October 15]
571-251-5107 [off season]
web site updated: December 2013