Dover—Spotlight

Something Old, Something New

By Mike Turnlund

The expansive and pristine waters of Lake Pend Oreille are an alluring attraction for anyone who likes to fish—better, for anyone who loves to fish. The lake is deep and wide, providing many habitats easily accessible by boat for all sorts of game fish. But what first led me to Dover some twenty years ago was that while I love to fish, I did not have a boat. And Dover was a solution: a modest, homey little community that sat on the north bank of the Pend Oreille River, where a person could fish from the bank. Which I did, with my boys. Those were good times. 

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest all my adult life, I immediately recognized the visage of Dover for what it was: a mill town. Or a former mill town, with little square homes, perfectly spaced on narrow streets, and lots of trees. The trees marked the older neighborhoods in a picturesque way. I immediately took a liking to Dover. It had a comfortable presence. And, of course, fishing.

Dover is no longer a mill town. The mill ceased operating in 1989. But Dover carried on, perhaps if only because it was comfortable. People could always work in neighboring Sandpoint, fewer than four miles away, and send their children to school there, and still make Dover home. And people did, as they do today.

The mill site was reborn into what some call new Dover—a  masterplanned, waterfront resort community—in contrast to old Dover, the original townsite. The two sit side-by-side, an obvious juxtaposition of periods: the old versus the new, the established versus the modern, old-time residents versus seasonal ones. It can be uneasy at times, but by and large, folks in the community just want to peacefully share the same municipal space.

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