In the North Central part of Idaho, Kamiah is an historic early western town where Native Americans traded for hundreds of years. During the winter of 1803/04, the Lewis and Clark Expedition stayed a month, calling it Paradise Valley. Early settlers came to greet Conestoga and stage coach travelers on the rugged 1850 Wagon Road. The list of historic sites in this town fill a page. One recently restored site is the Hearthstone Bakery and Tea House.
Before 1898, Dr. Bridwell with others bought land from the Nez Perce to reestablish the town away from its original location along the Clearwater River. In 1905, Dr. Bridwell built his home and then a large wood frame store front, which he rebuilt in brick in 1912 after a serious fire. The local telephone company, a doctor's medical office, and the post office all occupied the building along with the pharmacist owner at various times over the years. Other tall stately commercial buildings both brick and wood were erected as entrepreneurs established a lively town that included a large brick hotel, a beautiful brick bank, a livery, a creamery, a milliner, candy manufacturers, restaurants and cafes, a brick factory, a large milling industry that boasted a flume to bring logs from high up on the mountain down to the river, saddlery and leather workers, iron smiths, cabinet and furniture shops and mercantile.
The Bakery's beautiful original red fir floors are from giant trees felled and milled right in the local area. The stately brick exterior is a visual rememberance of the vision and artistic skills of these hard working but creative early western settlers and pioneers. The bricks used in this building were made and fired in a brick manufacturing company right in Kamiah, and the bakery owner has the original order and specifcation sheets for the bricks. Hidden for years by wooden facades inside and out, the interesting high windows have been restored to view. The fourteen foot high ceiling, and fascinating columns reminds old timers of the high mezzanine which once stood above the store floor where the store owner sat and watched his customers.
The visitors to this Western Victorian town are just as pleased as the local residents with the renovation of the Hearthstone Bakery and Tea House. The Bridwell Building is eligible for the National Historic Registry. Two buildings next to the bakery are already listed in the National Historic Registry.
The bakers at Hearthstone Bakery and Tea House create a wide selection of quality Old World artisan breads and wonderful pastries, gourmet breakfasts, crepes, and lunches. Fine teas, coffees and desserts are served here to the delight of all. One is hard pressed to find food like this for hundreds of miles in any direction. Kamiah is a place well worth visiting in order to meet the locals and learn the history of an authentic still active pioneering American home town.
Phone: (208) 935-1912