Enaville, Idaho

Enaville Resort
Trip Day Seventeen: June 28, 2000
Enaville Resort,
otherwise known as,
The Snake Pit

This place is a hoot, and not to be missed if you're in the area.
It's a couple miles up the Coeur d'Alene River on Forest Highway 9 from Kingston.

Known over the years as the Snakepit, Josies, Clark Hotel, and many other 'unprintable' names, this place has been a landmark for over 100 years. Located at the fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, the Resort has served as a boomtown bar, railroad layover, hotel, house of ill repute, and starting point for loggers and miners of yesteryear.

The naming of the Snake Pit has as many different stories as there are people, not to mention a history as long as your arm.

Josie and Al Bates took over the Snake Pit in 1954. It had also been called the Clark Hotel. John and Alice Clark ran the hotel from the early 1900s to the early 1940s. They sold it to the Tomherlins, then it was sold to the Southwicks who ran it in the early 50s.

Josie started calling it the Enaville Resort in hopes of getting a liquor license. During the 1974 flood, they tied boats up at the foot of the steps (water was that high) and they took pictures to send to Boise, just to show they had lake frontage (in hopes of getting a liquor license).

An old-timer mentioned they used to call the "girls of the morning" snakes.

"Authorized" Charlie Russel Copy & Deer Trophy

The paintings in the place are by Joe Breckenridge, known as the "fastest artist in the West." He did many! He used cheap paint and some on wall board have faded and been covered over. Breckenridge was given permission to reproduce C. M. Russells paintings, according to the Enaville Resort complimentary menu.

Before there was indoor plumbing, the outdoor privies were out back near a swampy area. People used to see water snakes. One customer says they would catch 'em and put them in a glass enclosure and bring them inside from time to time.

There was also a murder/suicide here. A male customer shot a gal, then killed himself. Another longtime resident remembers getting off the train from Kellogg to transfer to a train going up the North Fork. He came over to get a bite to eat and found there was a fellow, lying at the bottom of the stairs, who had been knifed. He remembers peope were literally stepping over the corpse to get up and down stairs.

They have traced the business back to 1879. Johnson, then Cameron ran the place in the very early days.

There was a fire of a "suspicious nature" on New years Eve of 1911. The business just kept on going as a rebuild was going on.

The Snake Pit served as a hotel, railroad layover and ...a few girls.

If you look at the facade, you will see where horns are on it. The skull of a bull has two red light bulbs for eyes. Guess who was available when the eyes lit up? (The owner didn't know about this until about 1990, when someone told him. He went up to the attic, and sure enough, an electric cord ran to a switch in the front room upstairs!)

The Enaville Resort is, of course, located in Enaville, whisch was named for a railroad crewman's wife, who was also the postmistress at the time. Her name was Ena.

Page last updated August 7, 2000.